Badger Divide?

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  • Badger Divide?
  • JonEdwards
    Member

    Just started looking into doing this. Anyone else ridden it? (I think there was a thread not so long back?)

    It’ll be my first proper solo/unsupported bikepacking mission after doing a couple of the Jennrides. Planning for 3 days riding.

    Questions.
    Bike choice – I’ve got options of a new-skool Soul (aka a proper mountainbike) or a flat bar gravel bike with 650×47 tyres on. One will obviously be slower on the easy stuff, the other slower on the hard stuff. Not really looking to spend wodges of cash adapting either. Thoughts…?

    Water availability. The Soul can take a single bottle, the Soda (gravel bike) can take 2 if I lose all frame bag space, or 1 if use a frame bag. Would rather not take a Camelbak over that distance. I’m not a massive drinker, and it being Scotland, plenty of water tends to fall out of the sky – but how easy is it to pick up drinkable water on route?

    Food availability – more research will tell me most of this – but any good tips gratefully received!

    Looking to do this in a decent break in the weather over the next month – is it going to be midgie hell?

    Gearing – how steep does it get? Gravel bike has a 1:1 bottom gear, MTB obviously a chunk lower (30/42). I can probably arrange to nick the cassette/mech/shifter off the MTB and stick it on the gravel bike if that is the better compromise.

    No doubt I’ll think of more questions shortly!

    Cheers,

    Jon

    ton
    Member

    did this route a few years ago before it got named.
    scotroutes and kennyc gave me the route.

    I rode a singular swift with reba’s. used a tubus fly rack with a waterproof dry bag for clean undies.
    did it leisurely with a good drink each night.
    stayed in fort augustus, newtonmore, pitlochry, kilin, callander and Milngavie.

    flew up to inverness from east mids and got train back from Glasgow.

    cracking route.

    whitestone
    Member

    Scotroutes will be your man but …

    I’ve done the central section as it shares tracks with the original and current HT550 routes but not the northern and southern parts.

    Bike – I’d be happy on either TBH, depends how strong the gravel bike’s tyres are.

    Water – this is Scotland. Once you are above enclosed land I simply wouldn’t worry about it. Get a water filter such as the MSR Trailshot if you are concerned about contaminants. This also means you don’t need to carry as much at once.

    From Glen Lyon onwards there’s a big pull out of Bridge of Balgie to get over to Loch Rannoch and the zig-zags at the top of the Corrieyairack. I can ride the former but not the latter as it’s pretty loose, that’s with a 30-42 bottom gear on MTB. I’m assuming you are going S-N BTW.

    Food: On route at Bridge of Balgie(cafe), Corrour Station(cafe), Fort Augustus(cafe, shop), Invermoriston(pub, shop), Drumnadrochit(not sure). Slightly off-route at Rannoch Station(cafe).

    Midges – luck of the draw.

    JonEdwards
    Member

    Thanks

    Had been planning Inverness to Glasgow, simply as that’s what most of the reports on it seem to have done, so it was in my head that way round.

    (feels a bit more flexible to park near Glasgow, get a defined, prebooked train to Inverness, ride back to the car taking as long as I need; rather than either having to make a specific train in Inverness or being at the mercy of the train co’s limited bike spaces on a walk up ticket.)

    Premier Icon sboardman
    Subscriber

    I belive Tom Hill of this parish rode it earlier this year with Sam Needham and will have something published about it soon.

    Marin
    Member

    Big bag of fake Doritos crushed into a sandwhich bag. 1000 calories. Got me round my last bikepacking trip as daily munching food when storage is short.

    whitestone
    Member

    OK. In that case the climb up Corrieyairack Pass is bloody long! Again there are one or two sections that you’ll most likely to be pushing. On the Laggan side there’s some serious water bars to negotiate. I’m not sure what the loop back down to the loch at km 185 is about https://ridewithgps.com/routes/23232135 just cut across on the orange line which is the HT550 route.

    There’s bothies either side of the Corrieyairack: at 74km there’s the Blackburn of Corrieyairack and at 87km there’s Melgarve.

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
    Subscriber

    I did it from Glasgow to Inverness this year, I took 5 days with over nights as below (approx daily distances/elevation gain)

    Killin, 100km/1200m
    <span style=”font-size: 0.8rem;”>Kilvrect Campsite 60/1000
    Loch Ossian YH 45/709
    Fort Augustus 80/1000 (over the Corrieairack)
    Inverness (got the sleep train) 70/1350 (this was actually the hardest bit – two steep climbs)</span>

    If I was doing 4 days riding, I’d skip Kilvrect and go straight to Loch Ossian.

    For 3 days riding, probably stop at Bridge of Gaur and FA.

    There’s plenty of streams and lochs – as above take a microfilter.

    I did it in variable weather – sometimes hot and dry, sometimes warm and wet, I drink a lot so took 2x 750s and 1x 1L nalgene. I was mostly able to resupply at lunch stops rather than using the micro filter, if you take a filter, you can easily do it with one bottle.

    Midges were out in force at Kilvrect – had to pack my tent up wet after the thunderstorms, and there were 100s of midges caught in the fly (which collects the CO2) when I opened it again when I got home.

    Food highlights-
    <span style=”font-size: 0.8rem;”>Liz McGregors Cafe in Aberfoyle does a tasty cake
    Falls of Dochart Inn does a good burger, there’s a Co-op in Killin which is open pretty late.
    Corrour Station – stop for breakfast, lunch or dinner – they are all good.
    Cafe82 in Drumnadrochit is very good. </span>

    mashr
    Member

    Liz McGregors Cafe in Aberfoyle

    She’s less grumpy these days too!

    JonEdwards
    Member

    Oh, that was another thing – numpty mapping question

    I’m a BIG fan of proper OS maps. I do have a Garmin (800) which 3 out of the 4 times I’ve tried using it as a proper “go where it tells me” device, it’s shat itself. I *think* I now know why, but it still means I absolutely don’t trust the wretched thing. I usually just carry the relevant map as backup, but don’t fancy carrying the (waterproof, natch) maps for 1/2 of Scotland necessary on a route of this duration.

    So what’s the next best thing for nav backup?

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
    Subscriber

    So what’s the next best thing for nav backup?

    Phone with reliable OS maps download, if you buy the maps I think you get a download link?

    There is no signal on a lot of the route, so my os-unlimited subscription via OutdoorsGPS.com wasn’t that helpful when the app I was using decided that I didn’t need the tiles I needed.  Don’t know if the proper OS app is any better at that.

    Edit: or buy something like an Etrex

    scotroutes
    Member

    The Corrieyairack is much better Northbound.

    The Rannoch-Corrour climb works OK in both directions.

    I’d rather be finishing in the Capital of the Highlands than heading for Glasgow.

    Corrour Station restaurant closes its kitchen between 3 and 5.

    It’s compulsory to have pizza in Fort Augustus.

    Don’t underestimate the Great Glen Way.

    Cafe 82 in Drum is an absolute haven.

    Take the MTB, especially if this is your first big trip. You’ll appreciate the extra comfort and be less fatigued.

    Remember to pop in to Abriachan Eco Cafe.

    The Kilvrect detour seems pointless.

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
    Subscriber

    Remember to pop in to Abriachan Eco Cafe.

    My one regret – looked a bit “Deliverance” when I rode past. Apparently the cakes are good.

    mashr
    Member

    I’d rather be finishing in the Capital of the Highlands than heading for Glasgow.

    If heading south I’d be turning left before Glasgow and finishing in the pub at the bottom of the road rather than a train station. Makes the choice difficult

    NZCol
    Member

    SHould be nipping down it myself later in August after some other adventures. Going N-S and will hook off at Callander and ride back to Edinburgh. Should be fun as have ridden bits of it.

    mashr
    Member

    Thoughts about doing this in 3(ish) days? Initial thoughts would be rolling out of Inverness by 11.00 > Fort Augustus. Day 2, Fort Augustus > Killin. Day 3, Killin > Glasgow/Home. Day 2 would be a bit of a monster, but can’t see another way without a night under the stars (thinking of going lightweight and just using a couple of B&Bs or whatever)

    bri-72
    Member

    Mapping, i tend to take screen grabs from

    OS Interactive Map


    And refer to the pics on my phone. Not sure how practical for the distance you’re talking about, fine for 1-2 day trips.

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
    Subscriber

    Thoughts about doing this in 3(ish) days? Initial thoughts would be rolling out of Inverness by 11.00 > Fort Augustus. Day 2, Fort Augustus > Killin. Day 3, Killin > Glasgow/Home.

    There are guest houses in Bridge of Gaur – makes your second day less of a killer.

    mashr
    Member

    Cheers, not sure if Bridge of Gaur would be good or bad! At the moment it’s looking like 40 – 100 – 60 (miles), staying there would make it more like 40 – 60 – 100. At least the biggest climb wouldn’t be during the 100 mile day I suppose

    EDIT: Kinloch Laggan could be winner?

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
    Subscriber

    Kinloch Laggan

    I don’t remember there being a lot there (on the route), other than a smashing beach. Might be something in the area not too far away. Will defer to local knowledge 🙂

    scotroutes
    Member

    There’s nothing at Kinloch Laggan but the folks at The Rumblie in Laggan might be able to pick you up from there and drop you off again (or just do a short detour off the BD).

    mashr
    Member

    Yeah a closer look showed very little without going full Monarch! Strathmashie not much better. Hadn’t considered getting a pickup off someone slightly further away – great idea. Although, Laggan is slightly closer than I’d realised so riding might be absolutely fine

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    It’s a shame that the scout camp at Bridge of Balgie don’t have a bunkhouse – would make a good stop…

    scotroutes
    Member

    You bastard!!

    I rode past that place a couple of weeks ago, read the URL and had Dusty Springfield as an earworm for several hours. Now you’ve just kicked it off again!!

    scotroutes
    Member

    Oh – for anyone planning to do this soon, there are track closures on the West Highland Line due to flood damage. Replacement bus services are in place but these can be awkward/impossible with bikes. Should all be fixed by next Monday (apparently).

    mashr
    Member

    I’ve noticed a couple of differences between the apparent official Badger routes, anyone know why or if one way is better?

    Firstly, the Strava one goes along the south shore of Loch Rannoch, the other one goes further south before then doing a bit of an out and back to the east end of the loch.

    Secondly, the Strava one uses NCN7 to leave Killin, but the RidewithGPS route goes slightly further east

    And lastly (for now), the Strava one goes west of Loch Lubnaig (NCN7 again) where as the other one stays well east before rejoining before Calendar

    https://www.strava.com/routes/10358566

    https://ridewithgps.com/routes/23232135

    The track further east of Loch Lubnaig is Glen Ample, gradual climb on landrover track before a descent on forest tracks. Quite a nice glen, although my memory was of lots of rocky stream crossings due to storm damage. Think they’ve been patched up now.

    That being said, the NCN7 route is flatter, and possibly more scenic as it’s lochside and not hemmed in by trees/hills. Also a nice section of ‘tarmac singletrack’ where they’ve tarmac’d the old riverside path.

    Edit: my bad, both routes use the nice riverside tarmac-singletrack. Personally would still take the NCN7 route, fewer kilometres on busy road.

    Edit Edit: That RidewithGPS route looks to be taking a few lumpier/harder routes, e.g. the Rannoch diversion you noticed is quite loose/broken landrover track whereas the Strava route is tarmac. The NCN7 route is also smoother/faster than the RidewithGPS alternative

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