Ciaran path – The Low down

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  • Ciaran path – The Low down
  • fergal
    Member

    Good evening folks, Voted the best trail in the UK a few years ago by one of the rags, what do you think of this trail, awesome or damp squib. The Ranger path on Snowdon seems to be the one to tick south of the border with a reputation for technical excellence, is the Ciaran the Scottish equivalant, tech wise how do you think they compare? I have done both but need my memory refreshing to form an opinion as to the better trail and yeah you are right frankly who cares, just the saturday night ramblings of the bored baby sitter! so go easy.

    GaVgAs
    Member

    I did it last year and was disapointed really,It has some great riding in it,and some nice rocky sections, but lacks the flow,and speed I was expecting out of a “best trail”. 🙁

    I havent done the ranger path for a while so cant really compare it.

    cynic-al
    Member

    if you go to natural trails to tick off magazine “best trail” lists you are sure to be disappointed.

    Some very tough riding, walking, amazing scenery and close to other trails where Scottish mountainbiking was born.

    To me, that makes it fantastic riding.

    fergal
    Member

    I would say it is certainly the more physical of the two, the section with the netting above the drop was ace, for a trail voted the best in the UK, i thought the erosion caused by trials bikes to the upper more boggy sections a real disapointment. I don’t know whether folks know that this trail is used by the Scottish six day trial every year, hence the damage.

    fergal
    Member

    Cynic-al the thing is word gets around about particular trails, you know it is human nature, always striving for the best of everything, you just don’t want to miss out on something deemed special, the be all, curiosity killed the cat right.

    I don’t know whether folks know that this trail is used by the Scottish six day trial every year, hence the damage.

    Which it probably has been since…long before MTB’s were thought of.
    I Rode it while marking (Observing) the SSDT in 1977, on a 238 Bultaco.

    druidh
    Member

    The SSDT kicked off in 1909 😀

    fergal
    Member

    esselgruntfuttock i’m not knocking the trials bikes, i know they are part of the culture up in those parts and were there long before pedal power. I remember spectating as a youth, but it’s a real mess up below the dam, the lower sections are fine as it is now eroded right down to bed rock, hence the melon sized rocks.

    In my uninformed opinion, The Ciaran path is one of those rides that is used by either trials gods or liars as willy waving material. You’d have to be one or the other to claim to have enjoyed it.

    cynic-al
    Member

    it’s not that hard, always lots of it to be walked though, to me the experience is worth that.

    not for trail centre generation I suppose…

    Premier Icon rickmeister
    Subscriber

    I think its the tourist path off left from the descent to Kinlochleven, Mamor Lodge from Loch Eilde Mor…. crazy rock fest skalextric slot racer thing.. great fun. Tried to do Ciaran path twice and put off by snow both times.. The track I mention seemed to be a worthy alternative.

    Someone will be along with a better description in a minute…

    DickBarton
    Member

    I liked it…rode about 70% and walked rest but would happily do it again. No skills or waving from me. I liked it but I need a lot of improvement to do it justice.

    fergal
    Member

    not for trail centre generation I suppose…

    cynic-al if that is aimed at me, i’m not saying i didn’t enjoy the experience, i’m firmly on the fence, besides Grizzly Adams wouldn’t get a look in with my mountain man credentials 🙄

    druidh
    Member

    DickBarton – Member
    I liked it…rode about 70% and walked rest but would happily do it again. No skills or waving from me. I liked it but I need a lot of improvement to do it justice.

    Echoes my thoughts. I’ll not be taking a lightweight XC hardtail next time either.

    trials gods or liars as willy waving material.

    i’m neither, and i thoroughly enjoy it – one of my favourite rides when combined with devil’s staircase.

    perhaps you just can’t ride it and are jealous?

    It battered the **** out of me when I did it on a GT Zaskar. I like it as a trail, there’s one bit I’ve never managed – a couple of slabby rocks.

    cynic-al
    Member

    not aimed at you F

    LD
    Member

    It’s the trail that always leaves me wishing I was a bit better rider, was a good bit fitter and that the rock was drier. Then it would be the best!

    Ha Ha, I rode it on the way UP to the Blackwater sections, as I said on a Bulto, then back down again. Can only just remember it though, but as far as I recall it was simple pimple both ways.

    I know I know, I had 238cc’s to go at!

    1979 I remember back marking the SSDT & riding relatively easily up the Devils Staircase from Atnafeadh & down to Pipeline, & over the Mamore road back to Ft Willy. Oh the joys of petrol power!

    Im looking forward to doing it again soon. The devils staircase section has to be done too. So good.

    jojoA1
    Member

    NOt done snowdon, but love the ciaran path preceded by the devil’s staircase. So many different tyres of riding on one ride. Loose rock, bedrock, slimy rock, Singletrack through trees, stunning high mountain environment. THe dam illustrating man’s efforts to intervene in nature. CLimbs, descents and undulations. Everythingyou want. THough lacking a glacier at the start, it’s the closest we’ve got to the megavalanche course in the UK… and It’s only 2 hours down the road from where I am now. 🙂 actually, I made all that up, it’s crap, stay where you are, nothing to see here!…

    druidh
    Member

    More gnaaaarr!!


    PICT3502 by druidh_dubh, on Flickr

    jojoA1
    Member

    **** I look like a bloke there! 😮

    druidh
    Member

    You’re not?? 😯

    druidh
    Member

    Is this better – you can see your lady bits


    PICT3497 by druidh_dubh, on Flickr

    Though it does look like Ollie is checking out your arse (again).

    jojoA1
    Member

    NOpe that’s me in drag again. The video was ok, you can’t see my face in that. 😉
    MOre pics of the awesome trail required.

    LD
    Member

    Oh go on then. Rocks?

    And one more, not of the path but a novel bit which adds to the bit of everything feel.

    Premier Icon clareymorris
    Subscriber

    It was brutal but I loved it if not for the scenery itself! We did it on the Saturday of the DH world cup last year and it was HOT HOT HOT making a river swim stop necessary!!!!

    Sorry no photos of the gnarly downhill (or the swim stop) but here are a few of the general gorgeousness!!

    fergal
    Member

    Cripes lady hooligans! jojo not bad for a Fort William stunner 😉

    Great description of the ciaran, it’s flooding back to me now, stunning scenery, a trail that is wild and unforgiving, Deliverance on bicycles, this summer i think i will do it again.

    Any more photo’s opinions.

    The good bits are good, but not enough of them to make it worthwhile IMO. When I did it, it all the potentially interesting sections seemed to be loose eroded rubble so not very pleasant. The Devil’s Staircase descents were the dogs though.

    I would rate the following well above the Ciaran Path
    Drochaid Coire Lair to Achneshellach
    Bealach na Lice to Annat
    Carn Ban Mor
    Cairngorm to Loch Morlich
    Lochnagar to Glas Alt Shiel (top section)
    Beinn a Bhuide

    fergal
    Member

    captain, you keep mentioning Beinn Bhuidhe which one and what is the story, if you would be so kind.

    fergal, it’s the Beinn a Bhuide just north of Braemar. Park at Keiloch, go past Invercauld Castle and round to Linn of Quoich. Straight up Glen Quoich to pick up the path that goes all the way up the ridge to the south top. Across the plateau to the north top, then round and down to The Sneck, the bealach between Ben a Bhuide and Ben Avon. Then path and track all the way down Gleann an t-Slugain back to Invercauld. Where the ruin is, take the right fork to go past the ruin rather than the new track to the left.


    Beinn a Bhuide top of ascent by CaptainMainwaring1, on Flickr


    Beinn a Bhuide near north top by CaptainMainwaring1, on Flickr

    Premier Icon swavis
    Subscriber

    I love these threads. More pics please 😀

    Edit – Here’s one from me.

    Carn Ban Mor descent

    Carn ban Mor 21-09-08 026 by GavinBelton, on Flickr

    fergal
    Member

    Captain doh! Beinn a’Bhuird looks good.

    Premier Icon Sanny
    Subscriber

    Ciaran path – a grand day out in the hills. You don’t have to be a trials legend or willy waver to enjoy it. The unpredicatability and lack of uniform path makes for a more challenging and in my opinion more enjoyable ride. If I want smooth flowy and always rideable, I can go to any trail centre for that. I recall Andy McKenna recounting the time he did it with his missus – cue another rider walking his bike down bemoaning it’s lack of rideability quickly followed by his missus coming off the trail with a big grin on her face……..one trail doesn’t suit all, I guess.

    The Captain is right. There are some terrific other descents to be had too. I’m not sure what the best descent is – so many to choose from and so many I’ve still to ride. 😀

    Glas Alt Shiel and a variant on Carn Ban Mor and Cairngorm are on the cards for the Spring.

    Still not done Mount Keen – and to think I call myself a mountain biker….the shame! 😀

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