Ardnamurchan Lighthouse to Blair Atholl – Offroad for charity
Trying to plan an off road route from the most westerly point on mainland Scotland to the most easterly. So from Ardnamurchan lighthouse to Boddam lighthouse.
My mother has a rare type of neurological condition and this will be a charity ride with all proceeds going to the MS Society. I’m a moderately unfit mountain biker in my 40’s with an addiction to red wine and kettle chips. Not to mention my knees are shot! Its not going to be an easy one for me. That’s the point of course!
From Blair Atholl to Boddam I have a good off-road route in mind – its country I know fairly well.
However, the stretch from Ardnamurchan to Blair Atholl is pretty unfamiliar to me.
I can use the OS maps but wanted to take in nice singletrack where possible. I am not going for the most direct route, would rather take in some nice riding where possible.
Does anybody have any suggestions for that route or indeed sections of it? GPX files would be good and I can start to overlay them on my OS map.
Thanks in advance.
DavePosted 4 days ago
Does koomot throw anything up?Posted 4 days ago
No idea, sorry I can’t help with the route.
But when you get round to doing it, post up a link for sponsorship and I’ll be happy to donate.
Sounds like a great idea and a great cause. Good luck 👍Posted 4 days ago
If yo uhave no luck here, the Bikepacking Scotland Facebook group would be a good place to askPosted 3 days ago
Ardnamurchan – Kilchoan – Ockle – Acharacle as a start. Then it depends how big a detour you want. A fair bit of road is inescapable though.
Possibly Strontian – Polloch – Loch Shiel and then road to Fort William. Leanachan Forest – Lairig Leacach- Loch Trieg.
I’d look to include Corrour – Bealach Dubh – Loch Pattack. From there, possibly head towards Tromie Bridge and through the Gaick to Blair Atholl.Posted 3 days ago
Can I ask why Blair atholl does blair atholl have some significance to you ?
If it was me idea head from ardnamurchan to tomintoul and down loch bulig.
Mainly because the obvious off-road route to Blair atholl is a bog fest about 11.5 months of the yearPosted 3 days ago
I’ve researched it a few times, it certainly looks as if you can link tracks together to follow the north coast of the Ardnamurchan peninsula from the lighthouse via Sanna Bay, the ‘crater’, Fascadale, Ockle, the Singing Sands and then into Acharacle. From there you could follow the road to Corran Ferry, cross the water and climb up beside the Inchree Falls which deposits you (after a 1km boggy push) onto the West Highland Way, approximately midway between Glen Nevis and Kinlochleven.
From Kinlochleven you have a variety of options but I’d be tempted to climb to the Loch Eilde Mor dam, cross it then follow the track over the shoulder of Glas Bheinn, descending towards the Ciaran path as it climbs from the Blackwater Reservoir toward the Bothy.
Descend from the Bothy towards Loch Treig, follow landrover tracks to Loch Ossian and the Corrour Hostel.
That’s 160km (so two/three days on the MTB?). From that point there’s a direct route pretty much heading straight east but it’s a lot of tarmac. The ‘quality’ route would head NE through the Bealach Dubh of Ben Alder, up to Kingussie, across to Glen Tromie and descending back south via the Gaick pass. Still leaves you with 15km of gentle cycle path descending to Blair Atholl.Posted 3 days ago
#deleted as better reply above.Posted 3 days ago
Video above contains some info on the route linking Corran Ferry to the West Highland Way via the Inchree falls (he rides in opposite direction)
Great Ardnamurchan content ^Posted 3 days ago
Yes, north coast of Ardnamurchan from the crater to Acharacle works fine. Have done it as part of the first day on a coast to coast. Can be a bit boggy in places but also some nice wee bits of trail. All of the options described do work, to a greater or lesser extent but that whole middle section contains quite limited singletrack options. We had a diversion on our route near Ft Bill- went up the gondola and did the red DH course for extra giggles! You can then take the puggy line east and use mostly some East Highland Way trails to get to Fersit, then trail again east over the shoulder to StrathOssian and perhaps the hostel.Posted 3 days ago
The alternative route here, I’ve not been in the Lairig Leacach for a very long time so don’t know if it’s currently rideable to use as a way to get to the south end of Loch Treig. I’d be interested to know if anyone can clarify this section.
Going via the Bealach Dubh on Bern Alder does at least mean that you get the really fun descent east to the Culra bothy. Getting to the bealach from Loch Ossian isn’t easy though..
Ug, Lairig Leacach was largely a boggy hike-a-bike when I did it approx 10yr ago. Shame, would be a great through-routePosted 3 days ago
I was thinking the Lairig Leacach would work OK in that direction.Posted 3 days ago
Thanks for all the responses.
@duncancallum – I hadn’t thought about Koomot, great idea
@sbtouring, that is very kind of you, thank you
@mashr – will check out bikepacking Scotland
@trail_rat – Not set on Blair at all. Its just that I know you can get through to Linn of Dee from there. I just want to avoid the Lairig Ghru! Not adverse to hugging the great glen north east before heading east to the coast.Posted 3 days ago
Will break out the OS maps and have a look at all the suggestions above, thanks againPosted 3 days ago
I was thinking the Lairig Leacach would work OK in that direction.
Are you thinking Penny’s Pass up-and-over, or the low pass? Low pass between bothy and Loch Treig was relatively flat I seemed to remember…Posted 3 days ago
Interested in your 2nd half of the route?Posted 3 days ago
I was thinking of the low pass to Creaguaineach LodgePosted 3 days ago
@robbie – second half, couple of options:
Head up the great glen way, pick up the Corrieyairack Pass to Laggan. From Laggan, heading east through Gaick, Dalmanein then Blair Athol. Then north east up Glen Tilt to Linn o Dee. Lots of options from Deeside Line east then straight up the Formartine Way to Boddam. Or we could traverse our way from Braemar to Boddam, through speyside.
Another option from FT Bill is to follow the Great Glen Way to Nethy Bridge, then head through Abernethy to Tomintoul. Then Braes of Glenlivet to Blackwater Forest, Cabrach, then a traverse to Auchnagatt where we pick up the Formatrine way to Peterhead.Posted 3 days ago
I was thinking of the low pass to Creaguaineach Lodge
Fair enough, I couldn’t really remember anything to recommend the route in either direction, although I was towing a B.o.B when I rode it. Was sort of like the banks of the Abhain Rath but worse, and ‘strath-ier’…
Nice glen though, and there was that cool little path at the entrance to the pass at the Loch Treig end.Posted 3 days ago
Will read these suggestions later, as they may influence my current plans.
Aiming to ride Ardnamurchan to Lowestoft, for a mainland UK west to east adventure.
Initially considering road bikes but some of the roads around loch Lomond and Inverary don’t look too inviting.
Switching to MTB would give the options of fire-road routes to avoid these roads, and maybe improve the (already awesome) scenery.
The problem with this is that, once out of Scotland, the MTB would be too slow for the roads, and finding off-road routes (that are worth doing, and legal) seems like a load of effort for little reward.
Switching to gravel bikes (n+1) may actually be the answer.
More map reading, for me, then…Posted 2 days ago
Have done lighthouse to Montrose (beach) before.Posted 2 days ago
I headed back round the road until Swordle, then Acharacle – Strontian.
Strontian – Polloch – Laggaan
Laggan via Corrieyairack, quick lap of Laggan, Newtonmore
Newtonmore – Feshie, at which point we diverged from a Blair Atholl route, Braemar, Balmoral and final night at Ballater.
@kcal – do you have a gpx for the route you took? Sounds like the section I am struggling with you have already covered.
Thanks, DavePosted 2 days ago
@davegt – afraid not — it was way back in the day before GPX! well at least for me.
If there are particular days that you need a steer on, ping me or post up – we went fairly comfortably, B&B each evening, and I reckon it was about a 60/40 split on off-road / on road all in. Some days more, some days less.
Even if I give the highlights for each day you’ll maybe be able to home in – I assume it’s the Feshie watershed that’s the problematic one.Posted 2 days ago
Day 1: lighthouse, then back along the roads, headed for Kilmory, Swordle and road end at Ockle. Double track towards headland, then track over to Gortenfern and Acharacle. On to Strontian and overnight.
Day 2: Straight up hill out of Strontian (singlespeed, ouch), Polloch, Loch Shiel (lovely double track), then main road (:() to Corpach and Banavie – pick up Great Glen Way all the way to Laggan, overnight.
Day 3: Laggan, Greta Glen Way to Fort Augustus, up and over Corrieyairack, down to Melgrave, road towards Laggan (the other one), lap of Laggan, on to overnight at Newtonmore.
Day 4: the big day: Newtonmore, Kingussie, cross under A9 towards Ruthven and on to Feshiebridge, up Glen Feshie, river crossing (I think bridge was still in place…), over Feshie watershed, down to Linn of Dee, welcome coffee and cake at Braemar, on to and through Balmoral and then pop out at eastern end of Blamoral and into Ballater. Inhaled dinner and several pints (the first didn’t touch the sides..)
hope that helps. crossing the Feshie more problematic now I think.Posted 2 days ago
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