Glen Kinglass

Glen Kinglass MTB

Route: Tyndrum to Taynuilt via Glen Kinglass
Distance: 33m / 54km
Profile: View
Grade: Moderate
Fitness: High
Time: 7-8 Hours
OS MAP: 50
Route Data: GPX KML
Riders: Dave Banks, Brian Gray
Date: 14/06/2014


Summary

A mixture of tarmac road, landrover track and single track make this a rewarding mountain bike trek through interesting scenery.

This route is best run from Tyndrum to Taynuilt, as the route is actually downhill from Tyndrum. To make logistics easier, leave the car at Tyndrum and take the bikes by train from Taynuilt back to Tyndrum. This requires you to book bike space on the train in advance with Scot-Rail. The only draw back about getting the train at the end of the trip, is you have to make sure you have enough time to complete it in time to catch the train. The route takes longer than the distance suggests, especially along the shores of Loch Etive, so add at least an extra hour onto your calculated journey time.

High levels of fitness are required only due to the distance involved.


Details

Starting at the car park at the Green Welly, turn right as you leave the car park and cross the bridge. Take the first road on the right and join the West Highland Way. Follow the West Highland way to Bridge of Orchy. The track is rough in places and requires a little bike and hike, but progress is good and Bridge of Orchy can be reached in an hour.

At the railway station, head down Station Brae towards the A82. Cross the road onto the single track road and follow this round to Loch Tulla, the Inveronan Hotel and to Forest Lodge. At this point, turn left, off the West Highland Way, and follow the sign for the public footpath to Loch Etive and Glen Kinglass. This takes you onto a landrover track and out into open moorland. You will reach an open gate with a sign pointing to a path to the left of the fence/track. This route is very boggy in places, so it is easier to stick to the landrover track and continue to Clashgour farm. Continue through the farm and downhill back to the river. The only drawback with this route is the bikes have to be lifted over a high gate at the deer fence. Once over the gate, the first over several water crossings have to be negotiated. The first one is shallow and could be cycled across, but the stones are rounded and slippery, so it is easier to just walk across. The second crossing is much deeper and you will have no choice but to get your feet wet. The third crossing is shallow and can be cycled across with care. At this point you see a footbridge that allows you to cross the river and miss out the second and third water crossings. You will probably be every bit as wet choosing this option though, due to the boggy nature of the surrounding area.

The landrover track then climbs, steeply at times, up to Loch Dochard. It is easier to get off and push as the track is quite rough in places due to water errosion. At Loch Dochard, the track levels off before beginning a more gentle climb up to the watershed and the head of Glen Kinglass, approximately 2 Hours from Bridge of Orchy. The track also becomes grassier and boggier, but progress in general is good, only a few rocky and boggy sections requiring you to get off. Starting the descent of Glen Kinglass, you come across moab type rocks. This a good place to have some lunch and admire the scenery, as in wet weather, it will be one of the few dryer areas about to sit down. The natural way forward from here is to follow the faint landrover track down towards the River Kinglass, negotiating a small water crossing before navigating the wider river crossing itself. The track climbs from the river crossing, but is rocky and slippery when wet, so some pushing is required. Not shown on the map, there is a path that takes you down to a footbridge, unseen from the moab type rocks, which takes you across the River Kinglass a few hundred meters downstream from the wider river crossing. The first hint of the bridge is the reverse side of a sign pointing downhill from the track towards the river, which you see over your left shoulder as you face down Glen Kinglass. You then realise you could have had a much easier river crossing.

The landrover track continues its descent down Glen Kinglass, gradually losing height as it runs parallel to the river with its numerous waterfalls, as it too, decends Glen Kinglass. Progress is good, only hampered by slippery rocky sections, some moab type, others more like cobbles. In the dry, these won't be an issue. A rickety suspension bridge crossing allows an easy water crossing and before not too long, Glen Kinglass Lodge appears. At this point, the landrover track improves and climbs away from the river. It gently climbs and descends before ultimately descending back down to the River as you approach Loch Etive. From the moab type rocks, it takes about 1 Hour 30 Min to descend Glen Kinglass.

Nearing Loch Etive, you come to a T-junction, where you turn left to cross the River Kinglass and follow landrover track as it undulates along the side of Loch Etive. To say the track undulates is an understatement. This is where all the hard work really begins and where you lose all your time. The track climbs and descends steeply. The climbs are so steep in places, it is easier to get off and push. You also have to watch your speed on the descents due to the loose surface and sometimes twisty nature of the track. Strangely, some parts of the track are tarmac, but this doesn't make progress any easier. This part of the route seems never ending and you start to think you will never make it in time for the train. Eventually you head away from the Loch and head through some forestry before descending down towards Inverawe.

After what seems an eternity, but is actually just 1 Hour 30 Min, as you leave the forest you reach a road junction, where you turn right and head round to Inverawe Smokery. To the right of the Smokery Shop and to the right of the sign, take the hidden footpath down to the fields and head towards the footbridge over the River Awe. Choose your line carefully, as there are boggy sections in the field which can catch you out. Once over the bridge, take the track up the hill towards the trees and through the gate, where you turn right and follow the track past Bonawe Furnace and into Taynuilt. Turn left and head down the hill. At the junction, turn right and follow the road round, over the bridge before one final climb up towards the railway station. Cross the railway bridge and take the road on the right, as you double back on yourself and descend towards the station.

The train journey back to Tyndrum allows you to relax and enjoy the scenery as you follow the shores of Loch Awe, passing Kilchurn Castle before heading up Glen Lochy and back to Tyndrum Lower station. From there, it is a short bike ride to the main road, where you turn left and the Green Welly is only a few hundred meters ahead on the right.


Photo Gallery

Green Wellie car park

Bikes ready to go

Joining the West Highland Way

Tarmac road climbs out of Tyndrum

Green Wellie car park

 

Bikes ready to go

 

Joining the West Highland Way

 

Tarmac road climbs out of Tyndrum

Dirt road continues to climb

En-route to Bridge of Orchy

Looking back to Tyndrum

Beinn Dorain ahead

Dirt road continues to climb

 

En-route to Bridge of Orchy

 

Looking back to Tyndrum

 

Beinn Dorain ahead

Track turns to singletrack

Track steep in places

Rougher in others

Track improves as it descends

Track turns to singletrack

 

Track steep in places

 

Rougher in others

 

Track improves as it descends

Rough descent to railway underpass

Railway underpass

Better track just ahead

Railway underpass

Rough descent to railway underpass

 

Railway underpass

 

Better track just ahead

 

Railway underpass

Good track along valley floor

Looking across to West Highland Line

Approaching Auch

Bridge at Auch

Good track along valley floor

 

Looking across to West Highland Line

 

Approaching Auch

 

Bridge at Auch

Crossing the West Highland Line

En-route to Bridge of Orchy

Bridge of Orchy not far now

Bridge of Orchy station

Crossing the West Highland Line

 

En-route to Bridge of Orchy

 

Bridge of Orchy not far now

 

Bridge of Orchy station

Path across West Highland Line

Railway underpass

Railway station car park

Straight ahead onto single track road

Path across West Highland Line

 

Railway underpass

 

Railway station car park

 

Straight ahead onto single track road

Crossing the River Orchy

River Orchy

Heading towards Loch Tulla

Approaching Loch Tulla

Crossing the River Orchy

 

River Orchy

 

Heading towards Loch Tulla

 

Approaching Loch Tulla

Loch Tulla

Looking west

Abhainn Shira Water

Crossing Abhainn Shira

Loch Tulla

 

Looking west

 

Abhainn Shira Water

 

Crossing Abhainn Shira

Abhainn Shira Water

Abhainn Shira Water

Forest Lodge

Turn left for Loch Etive

Abhainn Shira Water

 

Abhainn Shira Water

 

Forest Lodge

 

Turn left for Loch Etive

Track to Glen Kinglass

Open moorland

Looking towards Loch Dochard

Looking back towards Loch Tulla

Track to Glen Kinglass

 

Open moorland

 

Looking towards Loch Dochard

 

Looking back towards Loch Tulla

Continuing west

Keep to the landrover track

Track descend to Clashgour farm

Clashgour farm

Continuing west

 

Keep to the landrover track

 

Track descend to Clashgour farm

 

Clashgour farm

Clashgour farm

Approaching deer fence

Locked gate

First water crossing

Clashgour farm

 

Approaching deer fence

 

Locked gate

 

First water crossing

No stepping stones

Feet get wet

Second water crossing

Starting to cross Abhainn Shira Water

No stepping stones

 

Feet get wet

 

Second water crossing

 

Starting to cross Abhainn Shira Water

Getting deeper

Deepest point

Landrover track continues

Third water crossing

Getting deeper

 

Deepest point

 

Landrover track continues

 

Third water crossing

Footbridge over Abhainn Shira Water

Third water crossing continues

Wide but shallow

Looking back

Footbridge over Abhainn Shira Water

 

Third water crossing continues

 

Wide but shallow

 

Looking back

Track climbs to Loch Dochard

Cuil Ghlas

Looking back

Outflow from Loch Dochard

Track climbs to Loch Dochard

 

Cuil Ghlas

 

Looking back

 

Outflow from Loch Dochard

Steep climb

Looking back

Looking back

Loch Dochard

Steep climb

 

Looking back

 

Looking back

 

Loch Dochard

Loch Dochard

Loch Dochard

Loch Dochard

Tin hut

Loch Dochard

 

Loch Dochard

 

Loch Dochard

 

Tin hut

Loch Dochard

Looking back

Looking towards the watershed

More steep climbs

Loch Dochard

 

Looking back

 

Looking towards the watershed

 

More steep climbs

Looking back

Boggy and rocky sections

Track grassy and boggy in places

The watershed

Looking back

 

Boggy and rocky sections

 

Track grassy and boggy in places

 

The watershed

Looking back

Rocky section

Stepping stones

Descent into Glen Kinglass

Looking back

 

Rocky section

 

Stepping stones

 

Descent into Glen Kinglass

Descent into Glen Kinglass

Rocky and wet

Looking back

Moab type rocks

Descent into Glen Kinglass

 

Rocky and wet

 

Looking back

 

Moab type rocks

Moab type rocks

River Kinglass

One of many cascades

Track down to crossing point

Moab type rocks

 

River Kinglass

 

One of many cascades

 

Track down to crossing point

No sign of footbridge

Small water crossing

Easily managed

Larger crossing of the River Kinglass

No sign of footbridge

 

Small water crossing

 

Easily managed

 

Larger crossing of the River Kinglass

Boggy section

Slippy rocks

Looking back

Sign for footbridge

Boggy section

 

Slippy rocks

 

Looking back

 

Sign for footbridge

Footbridge

Track continues

Another cascade

Looking down Glen Kinglass

Footbridge

 

Track continues

 

Another cascade

 

Looking down Glen Kinglass

Track meets up with the river

Moab type rocks slippy when wet

Moab type rocks slippy when wet

Looking back

Track meets up with the river

 

Moab type rocks slippy when wet

 

Moab type rocks slippy when wet

 

Looking back

Looking down Glen Kinglass

One of many waterfalls on the river

More moab type rocks

Rocks resemble cobbles

Looking down Glen Kinglass

 

One of many waterfalls on the river

 

More moab type rocks

 

Rocks resemble cobbles

Rickety suspension bridge

Another waterfall

Another waterfall

Rickety suspension bridge

Rickety suspension bridge

 

Another waterfall

 

Another waterfall

 

Rickety suspension bridge

Glenkinglass Lodge

Track improves

Glenkinglass Lodge

Looking down Glen Kinglass

Glenkinglass Lodge

 

Track improves

 

Glenkinglass Lodge

 

Looking down Glen Kinglass

Looking back

Looking back

Track climbs

View from th etrack

Looking back

 

Looking back

 

Track climbs

 

View from th etrack

Level track ahead

Looking back

Track climbs again

Another rickety suspension bridge

Level track ahead

 

Looking back

 

Track climbs again

 

Another rickety suspension bridge

Rickety suspension bridge

Looking downstream

Looking upstream

Track climbs again

Rickety suspension bridge

 

Looking downstream

 

Looking upstream

 

Track climbs again

T-Junction at Loch Etive

Bridge over the River Kinglass

Bridge over the River Kinglass

Looking upstream

T-Junction at Loch Etive

 

Bridge over the River Kinglass

 

Bridge over the River Kinglass

 

Looking upstream

Looking downstream to Loch Etive

Heading to to Loch Etive

The first of many climbs

Loch Etive

Looking downstream to Loch Etive

 

Heading to to Loch Etive

 

The first of many climbs

 

Loch Etive

Looking up Loch Etive

Looking up Loch Etive

Loch Etive

Looking down Loch Etive

Looking up Loch Etive

 

Looking up Loch Etive

 

Loch Etive

 

Looking down Loch Etive

Ben Cruachan

Ben Cruachan

Looking down Loch Etive

Steep descent

Ben Cruachan

 

Ben Cruachan

 

Looking down Loch Etive

 

Steep descent

Ben Cruachan

Two possible routes

High road or low road

Track climbs again

Ben Cruachan

 

Two possible routes

 

High road or low road

 

Track climbs again

Looking up Loch Etive

Looking back at the track

Looking up Loch Etive

Track still climbing

Looking up Loch Etive

 

Looking back at the track

 

Looking up Loch Etive

 

Track still climbing

Looking down Loch Etive

Looking back at the track

Track descends again

Looking down Loch Etive

Looking down Loch Etive

 

Looking back at the track

 

Track descends again

 

Looking down Loch Etive

Tarmac section at Glen Noe

Glen Noe

Loch Etive shoreline

Glen Noe

Tarmac section at Glen Noe

 

Glen Noe

 

Loch Etive shoreline

 

Glen Noe

Track climbs yet again

Looking back at steep climb

Quarry

Start of forestry section

Track climbs yet again

 

Looking back at steep climb

 

Quarry

 

Start of forestry section

Track still climbing

Turn right to Inverawe Smokery

Inverawe Smokery

Hidden footpath next to sign

Track still climbing

 

Turn right to Inverawe Smokery

 

Inverawe Smokery

 

Hidden footpath next to sign

Footpath to Taynuilt

Cross field for the footbridge

The footbridge

Beware of boggy ground

Footpath to Taynuilt

 

Cross field for the footbridge

 

The footbridge

 

Beware of boggy ground

Bridge is narrow

Looking up stream of River Awe

Head up to woods to regain track

Turn right here

Bridge is narrow

 

Looking up stream of River Awe

 

Head up to woods to regain track

 

Turn right here

Track to Bonawe Furnace

Bonawe Furnace

Turn left into Taynuilt

Cross bridge for railway station

Track to Bonawe Furnace

 

Bonawe Furnace

 

Turn left into Taynuilt

 

Cross bridge for railway station

Station lower entrance

Turn right for Taynuilt station

Taynuilt station - almost there

Taynuilt station - looking east

Station lower entrance

 

Turn right for Taynuilt station

 

Taynuilt station - almost there

 

Taynuilt station - looking east

Taynuilt station - looking west

Not so clean bikes

Not so clean bike

Relaxing in the sun

Taynuilt station - looking west

 

Not so clean bikes

 

Not so clean bike

 

Relaxing in the sun

Cleaning the bikes

Our train approaches

Getting closer

On the right platform after all

Cleaning the bikes

 

Our train approaches

 

Getting closer

 

On the right platform after all

Almost there

Really close now

Bikes hanging up to dry

Loch Awe

Almost there

 

Really close now

 

Bikes hanging up to dry

 

Loch Awe

Loch Awe

Loch Awe and Glen Lochy

Kilchurn Castle

Kilchurn Castle

Loch Awe

 

Loch Awe and Glen Lochy

 

Kilchurn Castle

 

Kilchurn Castle

Glen Lochy

Glen Lochy