UKC

West Highland Way on a mountain bike in winter in 3 days

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Got a few days off at start of Feb and was thinking of doing this in 3 days. I’ve done the section N of Rowardennan on gravel bike so know what that to expect. I do a lot of road/gravel/mtb biking.

Still to investigate availability of accommodation in winter as I’m too old to camp in the cold. Would only attempt in more benign winter weather.

Anyone done this or know what will be open on the way (pubs, wigwams, hostels, hotels)?

Thanks in advance.

 DaveHK 14 Jan 2022
In reply to Humphrey Jungle:

I expect you'll find something open at the bottom of Loch Lomond and the Bridge of Orchy hotel has traditionally stayed open through the winter as far as I know. That would give a good split for 3 days.

 colinakmc 14 Jan 2022
In reply to Humphrey Jungle:

By the Way hostel in Tyndrum? 

 Harry Jarvis 14 Jan 2022
In reply to colinakmc:

> By the Way hostel in Tyndrum? 

Closed until the end of March

 Kalna_kaza 14 Jan 2022
In reply to Humphrey Jungle:

There are a few reports on Walk Highlands (sorry UKC) under the long distance trail section which have been done by bike. Most people say the Loch Lomond section is just a pain in the neck as not much is ridable and would consider alternative routes (e.g. Aberfoyle) before rejoining the WHW at Crianlarich.

 kwoods 14 Jan 2022
In reply to Humphrey Jungle:

Can't help at all with what will be open on the way. Though I did exactly this in three days in Feb a few years ago. Stayed in Crianlarich SYHA, which was quite busy (pre C). And Glen Coe Indy Hostel (Devil's Staircase full of snow!). Pedalled along to Kinloch and finished through to FW.

 kwoods 14 Jan 2022
In reply to Kalna_kaza:

I rode Loch Lomond twice, first time we got the boat Rowardennan to Tarbet to ride the seocnd half on the road. (Quiet evening roads). The February time we just did the road all the way up the west bank (first half good, second half grim!)

 colinakmc 14 Jan 2022
In reply to Humphrey Jungle:

By the Way hostel closed right enough, I was wrong-footed by the fact that they’re taking 30-odds of us in January for a Burns weekend. YH at Rowardennan seems to be closed too so your choices are looking like Rowchoish bothy or else a b & b.

There’s quite a decent fire road through the forest on the E side of the Loch, up to about 2km from Inversnaid, so the horrible bit of the path isn’t too long. Or you could get the ferry over to the W side from there.

You might meet some wintry (as in snow & ice) conditions between Bridge of Orczy and Kinlochleven in February.

 Leonard Tedd 14 Jan 2022
In reply to Humphrey Jungle:

I did it in 3 days last year and stayed in Kinlochleven (plenty of accom) and at the Drovers Inn (which I think is year-round)

 TheGeneralist 14 Jan 2022
In reply to Humphrey Jungle:

I've put together some notes here, which may be of use.

https://gbmtb.com/mtb-west-highland-way/

( feedback welcome)

Glencoe hobbit houses should defo be open. Kingy is back up and running I think.

Edit: just checked the 3 day suggested overnight spots and its inversnaid & Inveroran.

It * looks* like inversnaid hotel closes for the winter, which would be a pain. Perhaps phone them to check. Which would leave you with Rowardennan or trying to push on to the Drovers if it is open.

If Inveroran is closed then I'd suggest Bridge of Orchy bunkhouse or Hotel. ( can't believe that wont be open).

Or push on to the Glencoe hobbit houses. Pretty easy cycling, but would be a long day if you started withe the Loch Lomond carry....

Post edited at 15:08
In reply to colinakmc:

YH at Rowardennan seems to be closed too so your choices are looking like Rowchoish bothy or else a b & b.

Or Doune Byre. 

In reply to DaveHK:

> I expect you'll find something open at the bottom of Loch Lomond 

Reminds me of the old schoolboy howler - Chicago is at the bottom of Lake Michigan.

 DaveHK 14 Jan 2022
In reply to Rog Wilko:

> Reminds me of the old schoolboy howler - Chicago is at the bottom of Lake Michigan.

I should know better, I'm a geography teacher!

In reply to Humphrey Jungle:

Thanks everyone - great info.

I think BofO is too far for day 1 in Winter with the Loch Lomond bike hike so Drovers is probably best option. Beinglas is closed.

Seems like a few good accommodation options in Glencoe or even Kinlochleven for day 2.

How’s the train from FW back to Glasgow - easy to get a bike on or must book? I’ll probably be coming back on a weekday.

In reply to TheGeneralist:

Where are the hobbit houses? I like the sound of those.

In reply to DaveHK:

> I should know better, I'm a geography teacher!

Oh dear!

1
 Mike-W-99 14 Jan 2022
In reply to Humphrey Jungle:

> Where are the hobbit houses? I like the sound of those.

They are at the glencoe ski centre although they are also popping up everywhere.

 Pglossop 14 Jan 2022
In reply to colinakmc:

> You might meet some wintry (as in snow & ice) conditions between Bridge of Orczy and Kinlochleven in February.

Can be hard to find Bridge of Orczy - they seek it here, they seek it there…

2

New plan to avoid certain death carrying a 20kg MTB bike and a pack up Loch Lomond I am now thinking…

Day 1. Glasgow > Aberfoyle (Gravelfoyle) > Callander 

Day 2. Callander > Killin > Glen Lochay > Loch Lyon > Auch/Bridge of Orchy

Day 3. Bridge of Orchy > FW on WHW

Gravel bike so a lighter and faster (43mm tyres). 40 miles a day should be no problem.

Loch Lyon river crossings could be the fly in the ointment and I guess a bit of pushing over Devils Staircase.

Think S side of Loch Lyon avoids the worst river crossing.

 TheGeneralist 16 Jan 2022
In reply to Humphrey Jungle:

What bike have you got that's 20kg? Ouch.

 spenser 17 Jan 2022
In reply to TheGeneralist:

Start throwing sleeping bag and so on on it and any bike will reach 20 kg very rapidly! I had about 14kg of gear for a 3 day ride without resupply options from Garve to Durness. 

In reply to TheGeneralist:

I have a Titanium gravel bike and fairly cheap Specialized hardtail MTB. The former is easily carried and lifted over obstacles but MTB is very heavy.

 TheGeneralist 17 Jan 2022
In reply to spenser:

> Start throwing sleeping bag and so on on it and any bike will reach 20 kg very rapidly! I had about 14kg of gear for a 3 day ride without resupply options from Garve to Durness. 

Well obviously, but he said 20kg mtb.

Was wondering if he was planning on taking an eeb or something.

In reply to DaveHK:

> I expect you'll find something open at the bottom of Loch Lomond and the Bridge of Orchy hotel has traditionally stayed open through the winter as far as I know. That would give a good split for 3 days.

Bridge of Orchy hotel was certainly closed on Thursday 27th January as was the bunkhouse. No sign of life about the place

 steelbru 05 Feb 2022
In reply to The Watch of Barrisdale:

BoO Hotel

"Winter Closure

Dear guests and visitors the Hotel is closed for the Winter with reopening on the 11th of February 2022. We thank you for all your support this year and hope to see you again in 2022."


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