Viewing 29 posts - 1 through 29 (of 29 total)
  • Bikepacking Q: Ben Alder to Corrour
  • Premier Icon krixmeister
    Full Member

    Thinking of doing a quick overnighter from Fort Augustus to Ben Alder Cottage and back (via a loop).

    On day 2 I’m wanting to get from Ben Alder Cottage to Corrour (and onwards).

    From looking at the OS maps there’s a small footpath down Uisge Labhair but no trail connecting the trail from Bealach Cumhann (about 1KM on the map), meaning I’d need to go all the way down to Bridge of Ericht and almost back to Rannoch Station to get around.

    Question: Is that little bit connectible – and if so, is it worth doing or is the whole footpath a real slog (from other research it appears it might be a miserable slog).

    Premier Icon scotroutes
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    You’ll be fine. I’ve pushed up from the Uisge Labhair to the Bealach Cumhann path and it didn’t take long. With gravity on your side it’ll be a skoosh, The path alongside the Uisge Labhair will be a wee bit crap to begin with but is mostly rideable and improves substantially lower down as there is a new hydro scheme there.

    If you make it to the Corrour Station restaurant, ask for the venison lorne sausage!!!

    How are you planning to get to Ben Alder cottage?

    Premier Icon krixmeister
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    Ta! Day 1 route planned to be FA -> Kinloch Laggan (via Corrieyarrick) -> then on via River/Loch Pattack.

    Next question: Any preference from Loch Pattack to Ben Alder – via Bealach Beithe and the wee lochan there, or Bealach Dubh/Bealach Cumhann?

    From Ben Alder it was Corrour -> Loch Treig -> Larraig Leacach -> Spean Bridge -> Back to FA via the GGW

    Premier Icon scotroutes
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    I’d take the Bealach Dubh, but then I’d do that full loop in reverse. The descent off the Bealach Dubh heading towards Pattack is a favourite. I also think the Corrieyairack works best going north,

    If you’re doing it soon then watch out for interruptions on Ardverickie estate as they are currently filming the new Bond movie. There are 8 locations spread around the area.

    Premier Icon krixmeister
    Full Member

    Awesome info – thanks! Bonus – potential middle-aged stunt MTB extra.

    I’ll think about direction – agree re Corrieyarrick, but goal was to make the harder (albeit shorter) day day 1, with a long/mostly flat GGW ride back to FA. Need to think some more on that.

    Premier Icon athgray
    Free Member

    scotroutes, I take my hat off to your knowledge of routes and access in the Highlands as implied by your username.

    Interested in this as I am hoping to take my son up his first Munro of Beinn Bheoil using bikes to get to Culra Bothy (which I understand is closed).

    I hope you have fun krixmeister. Are you familiar with the area?

    Premier Icon krixmeister
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    Indeed – having read his various posts and replies on the forum for years, @Scotroutes is like human OS map of Scotland!

    I know the area a bit – we have a holiday home in FA, so I use that as a base for rides – but obviously not to the same extent as Scotroutes! Chapeau, truly!

    Premier Icon athgray
    Free Member

    FA

    ?

    Premier Icon piemonster
    Full Member

    Fort Augustus I’d guess

    Premier Icon piemonster
    Full Member

    And a plus 1 for Bealach Dubh over Beithe. I’ve done both, albeit Beithe on foot.

    Isn’t Culra “closed” but “a bit open” presently? Not that I’d stay there with Asbestos in the building.

    Premier Icon whitestone
    Free Member

    It’s recommended that you don’t stop in Culra bothy because of asbestos but it’s not locked so you can use it at your own risk.

    OK, “that” path. Usually I’d agree with Colin on those Highland paths and tracks I’ve done and often ask him for advice myself, but …

    Last year I scratched on the HT550 just short of Bealach Cumhann. I knew that the stalker’s path existed so pushed up to the bealach and down the other side to pick up the path to get to Corrour. Even if my bike (and me) had been in a rideable state I’d only have been able to ride 50% max until I got to the hydro road.

    I’ve not done the Bealach Beithe track but the Bealach Dubh track is a cracker and is well maintained by the estate. Just watch out for the water bars! It’s much better going from Benalder cottage to Culra as well.

    I’d exit Benalder Cottage via the HT550 route to the south, there’s a couple of km of boggy ground but then you are on good estate/forestry tracks down to Bridge of Gaur, road up to Rannoch station then the Road to the Isles to Corrour. Even though it’s a bit longer it’d be much quicker than going back up Bealach Cumhann and down the Uisge Labhair

    The Loch Treig to Larraig Leachac is very rough in its lower section. Unfortunately the alternative along the Abhainn Rath to Meanach bothy isn’t much better.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Full Member

    I’ve done that path down the Uisge Labhair to Corrour with the bike and it’s not really rideable. It’s not a big deal, though, you’ll be through it in an hour or less and its downhill.

    When you get these paths with itty bits of ride for ten metres get off, get on etc I just prefer to push. You start to notice if you’re physically swinging your leg over the bike a lot, and it’s just mentally less taxing.

    Premier Icon honeybadgerx
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    Watch out (or try not to watch out) for naturist ramblers. There was a whole load of them up that way the other week and I’ve only just stopped having nightmares.

    Premier Icon mariner
    Free Member

    naturist ramblers

    In tick season!

    Premier Icon kcal
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    lol.
    Must get out on an explore in that area.

    Also intrigued by the undulating estate ? hydro ? pylon access ? track that is parallel to the dual section of the A9 over Drumochter. Might be a loop in that methinks.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    Kcal – I keep looking at that – I don’t think there is a loop unless you use the a9 cyclepath for a return which would mean crossing the river on a derelict bridge but until someone tries it?

    Premier Icon whitestone
    Free Member

    Also intrigued by the undulating estate / hydro / pylon access ? track that is parallel to the dual section of the A9 over Drumochter

    Do you mean the one right next to the A9? If so it’s the old road and is a NCN route. Can’t see anything else on Google maps.

    [edit] Ah, there’s the one further down towards Blair Athol, just looks like it ends in the middle of nowhere. It’d only be half an hour to an hour’s riding anyway.[/edit]

    Have done a loop, suggested by Scotroutes, from Dalwhinnie – along by the A9 to Dalnaspidal Lodge, Loch Garry, Loch Rannoch, Benalder Cottage, Bealach Dubh, Culra, Dalwhinnie.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    whitstone – its a newish estate road on the other side of the river – runs both north and south from dalnaspidal.

    Premier Icon kcal
    Full Member

    yes as above. I ‘wondered’ if you could loop south to Rannoch and back up Loch Garry.
    So kind of heading further east than whitestone’s route.

    That piqued my interest too. I guess that’s a two-day loop.

    Premier Icon kcal
    Full Member

    I also reckon the track goes a lot further ESE than Google or Apple Maps is showing.
    As if it hooks up with Dalnacardoch. On the road today, I’ll look out. Easier on the train though!

    Premier Icon highlandman
    Free Member

    You can also connect Fersit in Glen Spean with Strathossian on a trail that goes; it’s nicer than plodding through the Lairig Leacach.
    Plus 1 for doing the whole loop anti-clockwise per Scotroutes’ advice; again, the section from the S end of Treig, NW up the lairig towards Spean Bridge is awful, but is a little less bad going the other way.
    Loch Ossian up to the trail at the Bealach Chumainn is a relatively short lived pain, as described correctly above. And as Scotroutes says, the descent after the wrecked Wellington at the Bealach Dubh is a cracker, all the way to Culra.

    Premier Icon whitestone
    Free Member

    @kcal – Might not do if it’s an estate road, there’s two different estates involved – http://www.whoownsscotland.org.uk/geo/index.htm#zoom=12&lat=56.82407&lon=-4.10589&layers=B0TT by the time you get to Dalnacardoch you are on the Duke of Atholl’s turf. If it’s a wind farm or hydro scheme then it’s anyone’s guess!

    @highlandman – I’ve yet to see the wrecked plane on Bealach Dubh. I went over there at Easter and had a look round for it but with no luck.

    Premier Icon esselgruntfuttock
    Free Member

    You can also connect Fersit in Glen Spean with Strathossian

    While we’re on about the area, what’s the track like from Loch Ossian to Rannoch?
    Been meaning to get to Corrour Old Lodge when the SSDT’s on but dunno if It’s a slog or not.

    Premier Icon whitestone
    Free Member

    That’s the “Road to the Isles”, I know Scotroutes has bivvied out at Corrour Old Lodge. It’s also on The Badger Divide.

    Do a search for “Road to the Isles Rannoch” and you should get a few hits.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member

    Shucks

    Blushes

    I’m sure there are loads of folk out there with a lot more knowledge of the tracks and paths than me, it’s just that they’re not as prolific on here.

    The estate track parallel to the A9 is somewhat intriguing and, for sure, it would be handy to know if it links up with those going to Loch Errochty. However, as there is already a suitable track beside the A9, I’m not sure if there would be any advantage in using it. From the south end of Loch Garry, there is also a very visible track heading over the hill that might join up with that Drumochter Pass track. Maybe next year….

    Jim, the Corrour-Rannoch track is really good – a gravel bike would cope with 99.9% of it no problem. It’s a bit of a climb from either end but I think goes easiest from Corrour. As Bob says, I’ve bivvied at the Old Lodge. It’s a magnificent place to stop and watch the sun set through the mountains in the west. And has magnificent, open views. I love it.

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2gDmC2u]P1050892[/url] by Colin Cadden, on Flickr

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/TvkRCt]P1030974[/url] by Colin Cadden, on Flickr

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/Sqi1ms]P1030982[/url] by Colin Cadden, on Flickr

    Premier Icon esselgruntfuttock
    Free Member

    Thanks for that Col, I’ll take the bike again next May & give it a go, If Dougie Lampkin can manage it so can I!
    Anyway, stop arsing about & write a decent MTB guide book of the Highlands. Your’e more than capable.

    Premier Icon highlandman
    Free Member

    Whitestone- there are some grey lumps of aeroplane lying about at the trailside but most of the pieces are scattered between 1-200 feet further up the hill on the N side. The Wellington had come up from Ossian direction below cloud and ran out of glen, right at the top of the pass.

    Premier Icon kcal
    Full Member

    Trundled down the A9 on Friday evening.
    Managed to sneak a few looks across to the track above ^^. As whitestone and scotroutes inferred, it didn’t seem to hook up sadly. Does look like it passes the offshoot for a shooting access track, and then seemed to stop as the ground levelled out – by the pipeline bridge. Bit of a shame as I’d hoped to make a nice south off the A9 loop.

    I think the satellite images on Apple and Google Maps look to reflect what’s on the ground.

    Premier Icon piemonster
    Full Member

    I’ll be cycling past on Friday. I’ll try and remember to pay attention.

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