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  • Ben Alder Route Advice Please
  • Premier Icon billyboy
    Free Member

    I’m briefly (!!!) unemployed and was planning on getting in another longish 3 to 4 day camp/ride in the Highlands before the winter takes a hold and before I’m forced back into work. I’ll be loaded with camping kit but I’m going to try and make it as light weight as I can.

    The general impression I’m getting is that Bealach Breadbag, Bealach Beithe, and the shore path along Loch Ericht from Ben Alder Lodge to Ben Alder Cott, are all painful and a huge amount of effort. Is that right?

    The other general impression I’m getting is that Bealach Cumhann and Bealach Dubh are easier to walk-a-bike, and maybe ride a little. Is that right?

    Thanks in anticipation for any contributions.

    Premier Icon esselgruntfuttock
    Free Member

    We did it a couple of years ago in March, wet conditions, snow on the high parts anti clockwise. Bealach Dubh from Culra Bothy (currently closed I believe) is mainly rideable, I think my mate rode all of it. The descent down Bealach Cumhann was excellent, The climb up Bealach Breabag was horrible & all of Bealach Beithe was a boggy slog until the descent back down to Culra.
    We did the Ardverikie loop the next day which was more enjoyable.
    HTH.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member

    FWIW I was walking in fresh snow on Cairngorm today.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Full Member

    As essel says – Bealachs Dubh and Cumhann spot on. Hike up the Breabag is pushing 500m ascent – sad faces all round. Traversing the pass is then ok-ish, but I guess you’d be pushing if heavily laden.
    Not ridden the loch-side path – just read that’s it’s bad.

    If you’re planning a highland touring route maybe better to push on down the uisge labhair? Not meant to be a great surface but you’re into corrour way pretty quickly and then a lot of options. I’m planning on doing this later this year coming up from England on the train, but swithering a bit over the risk of a day of bad weather.

    Premier Icon billyboy
    Free Member

    Pretty much confirmed what I thought guys, thanks. I’m hoping to be up there next Sunday for four days of riding and three nights out in the tent.
    Had four glorious and mainly fine weather days up there two weeks back so I’m pretty much expecting shiite weather this time round, but I’m praying for good……..and gods are mostly very inconsistent!

    Premier Icon esselgruntfuttock
    Free Member

    Let us know how it goes Billy. Good luck, hope the weathers stays decent!

    Premier Icon billyboy
    Free Member

    The Weather did me proud. I Got over the Corrieyairack then camped. Did the Great Glen to Spean Bridge and caught the train to Corrour. Then did Strath Ossian and Lochan na h-Earba to Pattack and camped. But I had a chest infection materialise on the first morning which caught up with me with a vengeance when I got to Culra and I just didn’t think it was sensible to carry on. I had pneumonia several years ago and I don’t want it again! Culra Bothy is closed because they found asbestos but it isn’t truly closed! So sorry chaps but I wimped out. There’s always next year!

    Premier Icon billyboy
    Free Member

    Perhaps I could usefully add that looking up at Bealach Dubh from Loch Ossian you could see the track coming down from the top with the naked eye, which I thought was a good indication that it was viable.

    I’m now really gripped with this chest infection/cold so I think I made the right choice…just a shame because it cannot be too often that the weather gods look kindly on you up there!

    Premier Icon billyboy
    Free Member

    Better late than never…just done it…and in glorious weather too.

    Last time a stinking chest infection stopped me. This time a painful cut on my big toe conspired to stop me, but I ignored it and hobbled the odd bit you had to walk. And you didn’t really have to walk very much of it. I went Dalwhinnie, Culra (some walkers told me the path to Culra that branches off before you get to Loch Pattack was way better than the main Landrover track-and it was), Bealach Dubh, Bealach Cumhann, Ben Alder Cottage then out to Loch Rannoch. The one boring bit was the bog trogging slog from Ben Alder Cottage along the side of Loch Ericht for about 3kms until you picked up a decent track again.

    And 29ers do water bars way better than 26ers.

    And Revelate bar, frame and seat bags are way better than panniers on a traditional rack, or beam racks with dry bags strapped to them.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Full Member

    Nice one billyboy – 3k bogtrotting is not so bad. Did you link it up on the train either end?

    Fanastic area – I did that uisge labhair route I posted about above not long after you started this thread. Bit miserable tbh, an hour of pushing, but does let you link up some good routes. Did Dalwhinnie – Fort William.

    Premier Icon scruff9252
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    Nice part of the world, was out that way in April. Culra is still standing, I thought it was due to be knocked down.

    Premier Icon billyboy
    Free Member

    I came back on the Loch Garry track that leaves Loch Rannoch at Annat. There is another bog trogging episode before you reach Loch Garry, but it’s all simple enough. Then I did the A9 cycle way back to Dalwhinnie.

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