It’s said there are more signposts directing you to Crianlarich that any other location in the UK. For a radius of about 100 miles in all directions sign posts point the way to a village that has a population that would struggle to find enough players for its rugby team. 40 miles west lies the chocolate box harbour town of Oban. Billed as the Seafood Capital of Scotland, this Gateway to the Isles offers all the charms of a quintessential UK seaside town. Which is why it see’s its population triple during the summer months. So when you compare the two, the only thing they seem to have in common is the 40 miles of road stringing them together. Now I understand that the roads are better on the west side of this rugged country and the further north you travel, the better still. So on that basis this is just a taster to whet your appetite for what Scotland has to offer.
The road starts a little uptight as it slices west through the beautiful Scottish countryside. After 2 miles it loosens itself up, and a further 3 miles in, as you pass Clifton, the landscape wants to join in on the fun. The road starts to goad you into planting your right foot with miles of straights and lethargic bends that cover miles just to change direction a few degrees. 10 miles in, as you cruise along it wakes up with a jolt and presents in front of you a mouth watering collection of slalom turns. On a leisurely Sunday drive with the stereo filling your ears this would be a very calming drive indeed but with a touch of the toe it’ll liven up beautifully. Threading your way through this section can’t fail to excite any petrolhead. As you weave to and fro through S bend after S bend for a moment you’ll forget who and where you are. After 2 miles it runs out of puff and you’ll regain consciousness to eat up more miles with an abundance of lazy turns.
Midway, as you pass through Dalmally, the pace appears to slow but picks up again as you run alongside Loch Awe. A patchwork of colour co-ordinated hills occasionally punctured by flowing waterfalls flank you along these long arrow straight stretches. While not the best condition the road does cry out for a boot full but do be careful, this is prime scamera van territory. If motorists coming the other way are flashing it’s not because they’re saying hello.
No sooner have you left Loch Awe you reach Loch Etive as she joins you for 5 miles on your final push to Oban. Ever changing the scenery makes for a very pleasant backdrop for the final 8 miles. As pretty as ever the road takes a final dive south and you soon draws an end to your journey as you arrive at the surprisingly busy seaside town of Oban. Once you’ve had a look around, grabbed a fish supper and washed down with an Irn Bru you’ll be ready to move on. If you’re heading back to Crianlarich one things for sure, you’ll not loose your way.