5 facts about the 5 ferries challenge in Scotland

September 29, 2019

I was delighted to complete the 5 ferries challenge in the west coast of Scotland with my mother yesterday. This is a 70-mile route by bike with 5 ferry legs. Given my preparations regarding training could best be described as minimal, it was a relief to make it round in one piece.

  1. What are the 5 ferries?

The route that we took is below, comprising of a circuit round the Clyde using CalMac’s ferry services.

Ferry Cycle Distance (miles)
Ardrossan – Brodick Brodick – Lochranza 14.9
Lochranza – Claoanig Claonaig – Tarbert 11
Tarbert – Portavadie Portavadie – Colintraive 19.1
Colintraive – Rhubodach Rhubodach – Rothesay 8.4
Rothesay – Wemyss Bay Wemyss Bay – Ardrossan 19.1
Total   72.5

2) How long does it take? 

It’s a 72.5 mile cycle with breaks on the ferry legs. It took us 5 hours of cycling 🚴🏻‍♀️ with over 2500 feet of climbing.

3) What food can you expect along the way? 

CalMac’s menu features far more local produce and food than when we cycled the 5 ferries challenge 5 years ago. I can highly recommend the breakfast roll on the Ardrossan – Brodick ferry with local sausage and egg and I enjoyed a cappuccino from the coffee machines.

4) How do you store your bike on the ferry?

There are a number of bike racks on the ferry, again a welcome change from when I first cycled this route five years ago (see photo).

5) Why do it? 

It’s in the only such challenge in the UK and it’s the chance to see some stunning scenery in the sunshine (if you pick the right day!).

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