Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Bealcah Bawbag (Ben Alder Rote)
  • Premier Icon thegeneralist
    Free Member

    Hi All,
    Looking for some recent advice on the Ben Alder Route in the Vertebrate Book. This thread here seems full of people who really didn’t like it, or at least the Bealach Breabag bit. But then some of the photos that Stuart Marshall posted look absolutely brilliant biking
    https://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/ben-alder-circuit/

    One person posted that the Loch bypass of Bawbag is even worse, is that still the consensus?
    Any other gems to share from the last 8 years?

    Also, Mods: why oh why do old threads get locked? It makes zero sense. A thread is redundant if it contains no relevant info or is not of any interest any more. If that is the case then it will naturally make itself dormant. Why on earth would you set an unnecessary time lock on threads so they can’t be resurrected if they are useful?

    All that happens is that you end up with loads of threads about the same/similar subject each with snippets of great info, but all spread out over multiple threads:
    https://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/ben-alder-route-advice-please/
    https://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/ben-alder-advice/

    Premier Icon DrT
    Free Member

    Blimey, that’s a blast from the past. I was on that ride with Stuart, you can see my back in a few of the pics 🙂 That was the last time I rode it so no recent info, but it is a great day out with a pretty brutal hike a bike to the bealach. If you like rides with a fair portion of taking your bike for a walk then it’s ideal.

    Anyway, thanks for the trip down memory lane 🙂

    Premier Icon thegeneralist
    Free Member

    @chickenman
    You posted the following on a Glen Gaick thread. Unfortunately it’s been closed by the STWcretination machine so I can’t reply. Rather than opening yet another thread, I’m posting it here in the hope that you get the mention….

    . The Wade Rd to Phones is really good as is the ride over to Loch Cuaich. The hike a bike up onto Bogha is grim and you need to loop N over the summit on wind clipped heather to avoid the swamp on the plateau.

    Would you be able to give a bit more details on this loop?

    Premier Icon chickenman
    Full Member

    So, ride up the Gaick, then follow the road towards Kingussie but don’t go under the A9, stay on the SE near side of it for a while. Join the A9 south for half a km to a layby where you see the Wade road turning off left. Follow this pleasantly to Phones where you head S over the high pass to Loch Cuaich, from the far end of the loch follow the track E to where it ends and take the overgrow steep path up onto the Bogha Cloiche plateau. You are heading for the singletrack that descends off Sgor Dearg. To get there you can push across the bog or ride a loop to the N near the hill’s summit.The descent is a cracker: scary steep but really not that hard at all once you’ve decided you probably won’t die (you might have clocked this descent earlier in the day as it zigzags down the steep spur behind the Gaick Lodge.
    My opinion on the Ben Alder loop is to do it as an out and back to Ben Alder Cottage as the pain in the Bawbag, down the other side and along the lochan aren’t compensated for by the couple of km’s of quality riding descending to Culra

    Premier Icon lobby_dosser
    Free Member

    That link took me back 🙂 I’ve just looked through Hairyscarys’ photos and was reminded of how painful that ride was. I’ve never met anyone that’s done it twice.

    Premier Icon krixmeister
    Full Member

    I asked a related last year, prior to my trip. Here’s the link, with as-always incredibly helpful info from Scotroutes: https://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/bikepacking-q-ben-alder-to-corrour/

    I then mostly ignored his advice. Here’s my write-up: http://bogslogblog.fortaugustus.com/index.php/2019/05/13/ben-alder-bothy-bikepacking/

    Relevant section if you can’t be bothered to click the link:

    Option A was the longer but less steep Bealach Dubh and Bealach Cumhahn, or Option B “just get it done” up and over the Bealach Beithe. I had heard that both were OK, although better in the reverse direction from what I was doing, so I opted to just get it done.

    Big mistake – it was basically an 8km push up a well-marked but very steep stalker path, then more pushing through and endless bog, then more pushing back down a too-steep-and-wet-to-ride path to the bothy. Really – if anyone is ever thinking of duplicating this route, definitely take the Bealach Cumhahn path. Which as you’ll see in a bit, was part of my route back the next day.

    Premier Icon bedmaker
    Free Member

    The problem with bawbag isn’t so much that it’s a huge HAB. A huge HAB with payback is okay.
    The payback on bawbag is minimal.
    I did it years back without reading up on it, mostly just checking the map. The descent from the bealach to the loch and on down the hill looks like it should be a cracker, but it’s actually a tussocky, boggy shambles. Not recommended.

    I’d most likely do it as an out and back next time via Bealach Dubh / Cumhann.

    Premier Icon stevenmenmuir
    Free Member

    I did the Ben Alder loop a few years back and only have fond memories, so much so I’m planning on going back in a couple of weeks with someone who couldn’t do it first time round. I think it’s a route that requires good weather before and on the day. I didn’t mind the HAB as the ground was nice and dry and firm, also the river/burn was so low I walked up it in places and then rode down it. The descent also benefits from a dry spell I would guess and as there’s no path as such until you reach the loch there’s probably a degree of luck in whether it’s enjoyable or not. But you can say the same about a lot of big rides in Scotland. It really is shite up here 😉

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