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Cycling Glen Shiel, which Way is easiest ?

Cycling Glen Shiel, which Way is easiest ?


Postby paulG2 » Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:27 am

Hi everyone
Thinking of doing the South Glen Shiel Ridge or 5 sisters. Is it easier to cycle east to west or west to easy along the road ? I heard there was one way that was a nightmare.
Cheers
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Re: Cycling Glen Shiel, which Way is easiest ?

Postby al78 » Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:37 am

East to west, it is a net descent.
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Re: Cycling Glen Shiel, which Way is easiest ?

Postby LobeyD » Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:28 pm

al78 wrote:East to west, it is a net descent.


...it is a net descent on the bike. Perhaps also consider the other side of that particular 'net'. Was very happy with my choice as I freewheeled down, less so half way up Saileag.

The gradient back up to Cluanie is not that severe and likely wind-assisted. You'll spend a lot more time on the hill than the bike so I would start with your preferred direction on the ridge and work back. If cycling uphill I would recommend doing that first though.
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Re: Cycling Glen Shiel, which Way is easiest ?

Postby al78 » Thu Jul 23, 2020 1:53 pm

LobeyD wrote:
al78 wrote:East to west, it is a net descent.


...it is a net descent on the bike. Perhaps also consider the other side of that particular 'net'. Was very happy with my choice as I freewheeled down, less so half way up Saileag.

The gradient back up to Cluanie is not that severe and likely wind-assisted. You'll spend a lot more time on the hill than the bike so I would start with your preferred direction on the ridge and work back. If cycling uphill I would recommend doing that first though.


The question was asked specifically about the ease of cycling on the road, not the whole excursion. Good point about the possible headwind with funnelling along the glen. If it were me, I'd be tempted to make the bike ride downhill and do the traverse from west to east, that way I won't have slog slog slog on tired legs cycling the uphill parts. Probably best to cycle uphill first then walk back, it is the same amount of ascent done whichever way round you go, but cycling is more energy efficient up gentle gradients than walking.
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Re: Cycling Glen Shiel, which Way is easiest ?

Postby Sunset tripper » Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:32 pm

Do it east to west. Its about 7 miles and downhill. I also recommend doing it at the start. The gradient outweighs any wind considerations, unless you are really into cycling uphill on a busy winding road.
I did it downhill a few years ago and it took me around 20 mins, even though it was before 6 AM there was still a couple of juggernauts zipped past me one after the other which is not a great experience. The less time spent cycling on that road the better I would say, and it would have taken me more than an hour to cycle uphill to the Cluanie and I would have been burst before I even started walking. :(
You pick up some good speed and a lot of freewheeling on the road down and use only minimum energy.
Of course it means you have extra ascent on the hill but its a good trade off, I reckon.

All the best :D
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Re: Cycling Glen Shiel, which Way is easiest ?

Postby NickyRannoch » Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:48 pm

I would walk up 100m before I cycled up 100m any day of the week.
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Re: Cycling Glen Shiel, which Way is easiest ?

Postby jupe1407 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:58 pm

NickyRannoch wrote:I would walk up 100m before I cycled up 100m any day of the week.


I'd gladly cycle 100m uphill, but headwinds crush my very soul :lol:
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Re: Cycling Glen Shiel, which Way is easiest ?

Postby rockhopper » Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:28 pm

From a cycling point of view as others have said, east to west is easier.

I opted to leave the bike hidden in some trees just off the road on the other side of a layby at the western end. Drove to the eastern end and walked the ridge east to west. That way I had the better views looking to the west. I also wanted the option of adding on Sgurr na Sgine and The Saddle at the end if I could manage them. With the bike at the western end, I could just walk the 7 on the ridge then drop down or add the other two on as well and still get back down to the bike. In the end I just added the other two on anyway as it was such a nice day.
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Re: Cycling Glen Shiel, which Way is easiest ?

Postby Sgurr » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:03 pm

We were standing at the bus-stop faffing around with the bikes when a bus drew up. I can confidently say that the best solution(if you were intending cycling uphill) is to hop in the bus, he will drop off at your car, and you can then go and pick up the bikes.
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Re: Cycling Glen Shiel, which Way is easiest ?

Postby Sunset tripper » Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:24 am

rockhopper wrote:From a cycling point of view as others have said, east to west is easier.

I opted to leave the bike hidden in some trees just off the road on the other side of a layby at the western end. Drove to the eastern end and walked the ridge east to west. That way I had the better views looking to the west. I also wanted the option of adding on Sgurr na Sgine and The Saddle at the end if I could manage them. With the bike at the western end, I could just walk the 7 on the ridge then drop down or add the other two on as well and still get back down to the bike. In the end I just added the other two on anyway as it was such a nice day.


Aye fair enough rockhopper. I think I would still have preferred to do the cycling at the start though, early doors with minimal traffic.

Years back thumbing a lift would have been the default mode of transport but unfortunately not so many old highlanders in the highlands anymore and you could be waiting a while for a lift :(
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Re: Cycling Glen Shiel, which Way is easiest ?

Postby CharlesT » Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:35 am

Sunset tripper wrote:Years back thumbing a lift would have been the default mode of transport but unfortunately not so many old highlanders in the highlands anymore and you could be waiting a while for a lift :(


...and who wants a malodorous or wet Munroist in their car anyway? 😄

If I get there in October as I intend, I'll be following Rockhopper's way.
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Re: Cycling Glen Shiel, which Way is easiest ?

Postby Sunset tripper » Sat Jul 25, 2020 3:23 pm

CharlesT wrote:
...and who wants a malodorous or wet Munroist in their car anyway? 😄

If I get there in October as I intend, I'll be following Rockhopper's way.


Each to their own I suppose. I travel that road often and have witnessed a few impatient tailbacks behind bikes. For me, the less time spent cycling on a trunk road the better. I'd rather find my excitement elsewhere, though to be fair I can't recall hearing of any collisions.
Early morning when I am fresh and the traffic is sparse I find is the safest and more enjoyable time to be cycling roads like that.

Ps. I would stop and give you a lift if you were wet or even malodorous. :shock:
We all have face masks now after all! :D
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Re: Cycling Glen Shiel, which Way is easiest ?

Postby LobeyD » Sat Jul 25, 2020 4:27 pm

Sunset tripper wrote:
CharlesT wrote:
...and who wants a malodorous or wet Munroist in their car anyway? 😄

If I get there in October as I intend, I'll be following Rockhopper's way.


Each to their own I suppose. I travel that road often and have witnessed a few impatient tailbacks behind bikes. For me, the less time spent cycling on a trunk road the better. I'd rather find my excitement elsewhere, though to be fair I can't recall hearing of any collisions.
Early morning when I am fresh and the traffic is sparse I find is the safest and more enjoyable time to be cycling roads like that.

Ps. I would stop and give you a lift if you were wet or even malodorous. :shock:
We all have face masks now after all! :D


Probably should've mentioned that I am someone who cycles uphill for 'fun', which may colour my opinion. I sometimes forget there are 'civilians' for whom a bike is barely tolerable a-to-b transport. However, of Scotland's Highland trunk roads, that stretch is pretty decent. Wide road, good sight lines and a decent gap between the outer white lines and the edge. In comparison, no amount of money would get me on the A82.

Downhill is definitely a much more pleasant experience but a confident and fit cyclist shouldn't have any problems uphill, particular early or late in the day, if that suits the hike better.
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Re: Cycling Glen Shiel, which Way is easiest ?

Postby al78 » Sat Jul 25, 2020 5:50 pm

If you are doing the south Glen Sheil ridge I assume one end is Cluanie Inn, the other end could be two possible places, a car park near 970140 or another car park near the site of a battlefield. I assume the first or last munro is Creag Nan Damh, from which access to either car park is straightforward. If you park at the battlefield site and cycle to Cluanie Inn, you are starting at about 130m and the highest point of the road is 271m which is 3 1/2 miles in the direction of Cluanie. Cycling uphill to save a bit of ascent therefore means gaining 140m height in about three and a half miles, which is not much of a climb, it is one of those where you just select a gear to enable a comfortable cadence and keep a steady pace, drop the gearing if there are any short steep sections. I tend to agree with doing the bike ride first if you are starting early when the road will be quieter than when you finish in the evening.

If you were planning to go further along to Sgurr na Sgine or the Saddle, you'd probably want to park at the more western car park which is only 37m asl, so more ascent required on the cycling stretch.
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Re: Cycling Glen Shiel, which Way is easiest ?

Postby rockhopper » Sat Jul 25, 2020 6:35 pm

al78 wrote:If you are doing the south Glen Sheil ridge I assume one end is Cluanie Inn, the other end could be two possible places, a car park near 970140 or another car park near the site of a battlefield. I assume the first or last munro is Creag Nan Damh, from which access to either car park is straightforward. If you park at the battlefield site and cycle to Cluanie Inn, you are starting at about 130m and the highest point of the road is 271m which is 3 1/2 miles in the direction of Cluanie. Cycling uphill to save a bit of ascent therefore means gaining 140m height in about three and a half miles, which is not much of a climb, it is one of those where you just select a gear to enable a comfortable cadence and keep a steady pace, drop the gearing if there are any short steep sections. I tend to agree with doing the bike ride first if you are starting early when the road will be quieter than when you finish in the evening.

If you were planning to go further along to Sgurr na Sgine or the Saddle, you'd probably want to park at the more western car park which is only 37m asl, so more ascent required on the cycling stretch.


I left my bike hidden at the edge of the trees opposite the layby at about NG970140. The cycle was about 12km with 300m ascent (less 120m descent) back to Cluanie.
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