Taynuilt - Grand Tour of Lorn

The route essentials you need to know

Level: Intermediate

Total Distance: 62.5 km

Total Ascent: 740 m

Terrain: A mixture of quiet roads, well-graded gravel paths and a short section on a busy road

Route Category: Expert

Riding Time: 5 - 6 hrs

Start/Finish: Taynuilt Railway Station

OS Grid Ref: NN 00352 31212

Nearest Parking: At the station, also in the village

Key Facilities on Route: Taynuilt (shop, accommodation, food), Kilmore (food)

OS Landranger Map: 49

Taynuilt - Grand Tour of Lorn

Route Description

The route starts at Taynuilt Railway Station. It follows a small road to the shores of Loch Etive, with great views over the Loch and towards the mountains to the north. From here the route passes the Bonawe Iron Furnace, the most complete charcoal-fuelled ironworks in Britain. Founded in 1753, it ceased firing only in the 1870s. Today it displays every stage of how pig iron was made, as well as cannonballs for use in the Napoleonic Wars. After Achlonan the route joins the busy A85 for a short while, before a gravel road climbs into the forest on the right. Shortly after passing a deer gate the track joins the Caledonia Way at Glen Nant. The tranquil oakwoods of the Glen Nant National Nature Reserve offer not only the opportunity to find evidence of ancient settlements and industry, but also to discover an array of lichens and mosses, as well as impressive wood ant colonies and dancing butterflies.

After Achmacraobh the route follows a service road towards the wind farm to the right, eventually leading to Loch Nant. Skipping the first turnoff to the loch the route continues on a timber transport route through the forest. Big timber trucks use this route, so care is needed. It then re-joins an old tarmac road, with grass and moss in the middle of the road indicating that not many cars have passed this way recently. The route passes Loch Nant on its westen shores through a beautiful forest, with occasional outlooks towards the loch. After leaving the woodland the route enters an open landscape with beautiful views, passing a Sior Loch on the left.

The road turns into a landrover track, first descending and then climbing again towards the road from Kilmore to Musdale. Shortly before the village centre in Kilmore the route continues on the road to Loch Nell, passing the Loch on the western shores and then joining the Caledonia Way into Glen Lonan. Not short of amazing views, Glen Lonan also hosts a resident herd of Highland cattle.

After a small loch on the left the route leaves the road and crosses a field. This path can be muddy, but after crossing the river the route continues on a very good gravel path into Fearnoch Forest. There are opportunities to extend the route further here. The route passes through the small hamlet of Fearnoch and then joins the A85 for the last section into Taynuilt. 

With a mix of ancient woodlands, pine forests, open glens and stunning lochs this loop samples some of the finest Argyll landscapes in a day. It can also be used to extend a cycling adventure on the Caledonia Way or Wild About Argyll Trail. Markus Stitz

Picture the route