Fort William - Oban

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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Fort William - Oban

Postby thayer19 » 25 May 2015, 12:26pm

Hi guys

Was wondering what people's opinions are on cycling either the A82 to Oban from Fort William or crossing over to Camusnagaul and taking the A861 to Corran and then heading back on over? I've heard the A861 is a nicer road but would be interested to hear if anyone has experience of them. Albeit ferry's are fun, I'm just wondering how much better those 10 or so miles on the A861 are than the A82.



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Re: Fort William - Oban

Postby nosmarbaj » 25 May 2015, 2:30pm

As far as I remember I have not done the A861 route, but I've done the A82 several times. It's only about 10 miles, of which the first few are 30/40 speed limit; while it's not pleasant I have been on worse roads. Actually if it weren't for the traffic it would be a nice enough wooded road with sea views in places. If I had time to kill I'd use the A861 but if my schedule didn't allow that I would not worry too much about the A82.

(IMO the main problem with that section of A82 is that drivers go too fast round the many bends, so as a cyclist you have to stay well out in the road to be seen, but be prepared to take avoiding action.)

Norman H
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Re: Fort William - Oban

Postby Norman H » 25 May 2015, 2:39pm

The A861 is the more pleasant route. The A82 is not too bad but it can get quite busy at times.....Weekends, holidays and morning and evening rush hours. You could always make the call on the day.

Between Ballachulish and Oban NCN78 is an ongoing project and may be a possibility. I haven't been that way on a bike recently but perhaps someone with more up to date information will be along shortly.


Have you thought about going via Mull. Take the Camusnagaul ferry but stay on Morvern and head for the ferry at Lochaline. If you have time explore Mull before getting the ferry from Craignure to Oban.

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Re: Fort William - Oban

Postby raybo » 25 May 2015, 6:41pm

I've ridden the A861 route from Oban to Fort William. I took a ferry to Mull, a short bike ride up the coast, and then a ferry to Morvern, a long ride up to the top of the Island, and then a ferry back to the mainland, with several miles on the A82 into Fort William. Here is the journal entry for that day's ride, complete with a couple dozen photos of the route. By far, the worst section was the few miles I spent on the A82. Were I to do it again, I would probably take the long way around, assuming the A830 is a safer road than the A82. Though, that might add too many more miles for a single day.

The ride across Morvern requires climbing up and over the top of the mountain. I remember it being a bit of a low-gear grind. It is likely steeper going the other direction. Once at the top, the coast down going that way would be fabulous.
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Re: Fort William - Oban

Postby irc » 25 May 2015, 7:16pm

Avoid weekends etc and the A82 isn't too bad. Mostly it is bendy enough that traffic is slow. I've cycled it and preferred this section with 45-50mph traffic to the Glencoe/Blackmount section where given a gap in traffic some cars are passing you at 70mph and having to make overtale/brake decisions at motorway speed on a single carriageway about 18ft wide.

Between Ballachuilish and Oban there are long sections of smooth tarmac surfaced cycle path.

If time is an issue I wouldn't hesitate to go this way. Scenically going via Mull is better and on much, much quieter roads.

The ride across Morvern requires climbing up and over the top of the mountain. I remember it being a bit of a low-gear grind. It is likely steeper going the other direction. Once at the top, the coast down going that way would be fabulous.

Yes, I've done that one N-S and the long downhill is a nice reward for the relatively short steep uphill.

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Re: Fort William - Oban

Postby ambodach » 26 May 2015, 11:00am

The Ft. Wm. to Ballachulish bit has been covered. Ballachulish to Oban is mixed with some good cycle paths and some useless bits with some road sections. Not as bad as the A82 but depends what you are used to. The A85 Connel to Oban is not nice. There is a pavement from Dunbeg to Oban which while illegal is used by cyclists. There is also a cycle path Dunbeg to Ganavan outside Oban. Personally I take the back road from Connel to Oban which is fairly quiet unless there has been another accident on the A85. The police are now trying to close this road on these occasions as local drivers all try this way and the road gets completely jammed.