The West Highland Way is really a walking route, so when Chris suggested that we cycle it, I was a bit skeptical. I do a bit of road biking but not much mountain biking and even then, only really in the last few months to train for this trip! I read a few blogs written by people who had ridden it and they were pretty mixed reviews; some saying it was really hard, others saying it just had hard sections. So, I agreed - it sounded like a good challenge!
So, off we went to the start in Milngavie, parked the van outside the police station and got the bikes loaded up. We packed fairly light weight, both with a Big Papa, Possum and a Fuel Pod (filled with lots of snacks!). The forecast was looking pretty good for the following few days. As we set off, this was holding true and it was very sunny. The start is pretty easy to find- there’s a big archway saying ‘West Highland Way’ and the whole route is signposted. Even so, we managed to cycle straight past the signs and had to back track!
The first day, we were heading to the youth hostel just outside of Rowardennan. This was about 27 miles so our shortest day.It started off pretty well, mainly flat, easy riding. This carried on for about 16 miles and we made good time, stopping for a few snack/wee breaks occasionally. And the sun was still shining! Then came Conic Hill which is the first big climb you come across. It was a mixture of pushing and riding but didn’t go on for too long. The views from the top were awesome and made for an excellent lunch stop.
The route then drops you straight down on to the shores of Loch Lomond; it’s a pretty steep decent and there were a lot of people around enjoying the sun. This resulted in me mainly walking and Chris waiting at the bottom. At this point it felt like we were on the home straight, with about 8 more miles to go before the hostel. The track was beautiful and there were lots of people out in the sun. We stopped and had a much-needed ice cream break. I was quite tired and very hungry by this point, the track was very up and downy which meant some pushing and some riding. We finally made it to the hostel 4ish and had some celebratory Malteasers. The hostel was lovely with a big garden going all the way down to the loch. It also had a turret!
Day 2 started well - nice and sunny again. The trail was lovely with lots of bluebells and we were right down by the shoreline. Again, it was a bit stop start. There were a quite a few steps and precarious bridges to get across. I was just pushing down some steps to a nice little bridge when I got a puncture! Not just a small puncture but a big rip which caused all the air, and quite a bit of sealant, to come out pretty sharpish.