Day 20 — Wet ride from Port Appin to Oban with no-surprise traffic snarl ups

by | Jun 27, 2024 | 0 comments


“You won’t be able to get to Oban today,” we were told at breakfast in the Pierhouse hotel this morning. Overnight there had been a fatality in a 2am crash on the A85 between Oban and Connel. (A pedestrian was hit by the driver of an HGV.)

I assumed we’d be able to get through with bicycles so long as Connel bridge wasn’t closed. It wasn’t but many motorists ignored the signs for the official 80-mile diversion and decided to take the minor road over the hills. This is part of the Caledonia Way, Sustrans Route 78. I’ve done it before on a previous trip and then it was quiet.

Blame satnavs, blame motorists for ignoring diversion signs and police advice. Whatever the cause there were traffic jams on this normally quiet singletrack road.

Drivers of small trucks, camper vans, 4x4s, cars all tried to get through. And largely failed, causing tailbacks.

Many restaurants and other businesses in Oban are short staffed because so many people are car dependent that the closure of the only main road in an area causes knock-on problems.

At the first snarl up I launched the drone and could see how there were further blockages ahead.

I told as many motorists as I could about the queues ahead and behind them.

“You’ve got the right idea,” said one motorist, standing outside his stuck van laughing as we wiggled through.

Despite the jams motorists still screamed around corners. One coming towards me made a rude gesture telling me I wasn’t far enough to the side for him to speed through.

He didn’t get far. Idiot.

A policeman in a van drove through as far as he could, maybe hoping to direct drivers to back-up and leave space. If all of the motorists left plenty of room in front they’d all get through. Slowly. But they’d get through. By tailgating and bunching on corners they were the cause of their own plight.

There were at least two Tesco delivery vans stuck en route. Those are deliveries that won’t be on time today.

Very sad that a person lost their life overnight but no huge surprise — motorists too often drive murderously.

A restaurant staffer — turning away patrons because of the short staffing — said the “accident” was causing chaos in Oban.

I didn’t correct her language, but it’s “crash,” not “accident.”


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Ride Stats

  • Moving time
    02 hours 18 mins 51 seconds.

  • Elapsed time
    02 hours 43 mins 56 seconds.

  • Distance
    21.8 miles (35.1 km).

  • Elevation
    1,332 ft (406 m).

  • Average speed
    9.4 mph (15.2 km/h).

  • Max speed
    22.1 mph (35.6 km/h).

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