Prehistoric rock art
Prehistoric rock art

We’d booked tonight’s stay at Tyndrum so we could ride an off road section but I’d noticed the rims wearing thin on my Thorn bike just a couple of weeks before we left, and the bike shop couldn’t source and fit new rims in time. So I’d had to use my Claud Butler road bike which was unsuitable. Consequently we wrote off that booking and phoned Kilmartin bothy, which is more luxurious than it sounds. We’d stayed there eleven years ago and the price was still only £10 each, and since we had the place to ourselves we enjoyed private ensuite accommodation with a well equipped kitchen. They normally take only small groups but are flexible at short notice if none are booked in.

Pam at Argyll Backbackers was very chatty and informative about local features of interest, including some Prehistoric rock art, so we didn’t get away until 10:15, soon stopping off at Lochgilphead for food for dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast. Shortly after leaving town we were riding along the towpath of the Crinan canal, enjoying the sunshine after the gloom of the first few days. We locked our bikes and walked up a footpath to examine the Achnabreck  cup and ring marks on rocks, believed to be about 5,000 years old. Spread over several outcrops, the carvings are extensive and complex, with spirals and massive multiple ring marks, some reaching over a metre across.

We continued along the canal then Sustrans Route 78 took us off down a single track road to Kilmartin, stopping along the way to look at a prehistoric stone circle. We called in on the cafe then checked in at the bothy. The village shop had closed since our previous visit so shopping at Lochgilphead had been a good move. We needed only milk, and the bothy owner let us have a pint of hers. After dinner we went for a stroll around the village but the chill soon drove us into the pub.

Distance cycled : 18 miles