Glen Tilt Beinn a'Ghlo Loop – Underwhelming?
I did this ride at the weekend, it’s quite a well known loop. It’s in the Scottish Wild Trail book as well, and is recommended as one of the best bike rides in the whole of Scotland. It was a good big day out on the bike, but it didn’t leave me buzzing like other routes I’ve done around there.
The scenery was amazing, with some lovely sections especially at the Falls of Tarf. There were also some great “big mountain” views. I guess about 40km out of 55km is on land rover track though, and the singletrack sections weren’t the best. It was windy day though and the most exposed sections were all into a big head wind which didn’t help. I would do it again, although I’d try it anti-clockwise and on a calm day. It’s a good long route, plenty of exercise but I can think of two other big routes from Blair Atholl that have more variety and I’ve enjoyed more.
I’d be interested to hear what other people think about it. It’s insipired me to try and ride all the way along Glen Tilt to Braemar though which would be cool.Posted 7 years ago
Whoa…. it’s a brave man that dares criticise the Glen Tilt classic.
Actually you are right and I don’t know why I clicked on this as I usually file it away mentally with Carn Ban Mor.
Still, it’s a day out in the hills and that’s worth it in itself.Posted 7 years ago
I find a lot of wild Scottish rides underwhelming. Great days out in the hills – no mistake there, but the actual riding can be[/i] dull. Depends what you’re after, though, and I’m going to put it right out there – a lot of what I’m after in biking is at good old Glentress. Now if you had trails with that much fund strewn across the highlands….Posted 7 years ago
It most certainly a day out, and a day on the bike in the hills is a good day.Posted 7 years ago
Good trails are nice but just being there is where it’s at for me. Yes I know I’m a middle aged bore.Posted 7 years ago
Don’t think that much ‘fund’ can be found anywhere except GT 😉Posted 7 years ago
Jimmy – I’m kind of the opposite. I’ll always choose a “wild” ride over a trail centre although I understand the attraction of both. I enjoy the misery of slogging on tracks or carrying throyugh bogs just to get to a few km of rock sterwn descent or find some fantastic hidden gems (like the Fall of tarf). Even for me this ride didn’t quite do it.Posted 7 years ago
I’ve not done the Glen Tilt route.
But quite a few of the “classic” loops tend to be exercise and scenery rather than singletrack tech fests.
On a nice day though there is nothing wrong with a day in hills enjoying the view.
I guess its down the to fact that a lot of these routes are old. And 20 years ago people had a different expectation as to what constituted a “mountain bike” routePosted 7 years ago
Ha, thats what you get for following guide books.
I did this last week, i made the mistake of thinking that because Mount Keen and the Fungle road were in The Scotland Trails Guide then it must be good. WRONG WRONG WRONG.
In fact it was probably up there with the worst 5 rides i have ever done. If i wanted nearly paved gravel landrover track i would stay locally.Posted 7 years ago
Beinn A’Ghlo can be fun, but it’s best to go up Carn Liath, along the spine and back the way you came. Ridges, drifty corners and steepocity in abundance, and very few landrover tracks.Posted 7 years ago
Mactheknife, sacrilege wash your mouth out now!Posted 7 years ago
the classic route is not the best riding, but as said above it is a nice day in the hills.
Tend to do the route with mates that I’ve not seen for a long time, plenty of opportunity to catch up with them.
For a singletrack fest, you need the epper tilt valley, the bit upstream of where you join it on the classic route.Posted 7 years ago
mt – im not kidding, the descent on the north side of Mount Keen was ace, but that was it. Yes it was a longish ride (30 Miles) but where is the payoff?
On the flip side, Lock Muick, , Torridon, Lochnagar to name 3 off the top of my head, great days out in the hills with proper good descents and technical single track. Paved gravel roads are guff. Sorry. But i am right 😀Posted 7 years ago
For a singletrack fest, you need the upper tilt valley, the bit upstream of where you join it on the classic route.
Definitely on the to do list. I’m not a religious follower of guidebooks, but they have a place in giving ideas for an area to explore. Now I’ve done the “classic” route I can try some of the variations next time. The path down Carn Liath looked steep and sketchy from 5km away!Posted 7 years ago
>mt – im not kidding, the descent on the north side of Mount Keen was ace, but that was it. Yes it was a longish ride (30 Miles) but where is the payoff?<
Wasn’t always like that and probably not when that book was written. But this is what happens when thoosands of folk buy books and converge on the same popular hills / same routes. The erosion gets wider and wider and sooner or later the paths need repaired or rebuilt. Lochnagar, Loch Muick,Lomond,Schiehallion – there’s a big old list…
Carn Liath is an eroded mess which is clearly visible from outer space never mind 5km.Posted 7 years ago
mactheknife: The Firmounth (i.e. 2/3rd of the Fungle run) was resurfaced last year. I haven’t been up it since a year past June so not entirely sure the extent. It wasn’t looking good though. It was ace though… 🙁
The upper part Fungle was resurfaced about 5 years ago and is wearing down well 😀 Well in my book it is!
ETA: oh and the Firmounth climb out of Tarfside got the resurface treatment a year earlier. That would pretty much ruin the Mount Keen loop for me as well… 😥Posted 7 years ago
Carn Liath is ace and curiously very grippy when Shearer and I rode it in the wet two years ago.
I’ve done some smashing rides on the Glen Tilt circuit but it is never going to be a singletrack or tech fest.
Munrobiker gets the award for highlighting the ride for the win. 😀 The descent off of Carn a Chlamain on the Stalkers path is pretty special too. Stunning views on a winters day as the sun is dropping in the sky.Posted 7 years ago
Sanny: Shearer, theres a blast from the past! Last time I saw him he was at a Innerleithen XC race nursing a broken collar bone… don’t think the roots were too grippy that day 🙁Posted 7 years ago
I was riding with him yesterday in the Lakes. He is still the hardest rider I know. He just doesn’t stop and cannae be broken. 😀Posted 7 years ago
For a singletrack fest, you need the epper tilt valley, the bit upstream of where you join it on the classic route.
A cracking bit of singletrack
Posted 7 years ago
It’s good to know this. I was in on the N Yorks Moors on Saturday and after a long, straight slog up a fairly unspectacular bit of double track I was presented with a long straight flat bit of unspectacular double track on the moors. Fortunately my mate took me off down some ace singletrack before it got too dull and I had a fab ride, but I’ve little desire to ride endless flat gravelled landrover track these days, no matter how good the views.Posted 7 years agojimmy wrote:
a lot of what I’m after in biking is at good old Glentress.
It’s not exactly mountain biking though, is it?Posted 7 years ago
I would do it again, although I’d try it anti-clockwise and on a calm day.
Clockwise means you had to ride up the best bit of single-track (from the Falls to the pink lodge(!)). Anti-clockwise means you have a mammoth pedal out.
I (as part of a GMBC ride) went from Braemar to Blair Atholl back at the start of July. There’s a few nice sections, but a lot of fairly flat land rover track.Posted 7 years ago
Sanny: Shearer, theres a blast from the past! Last time I saw him he was at a Innerleithen XC race nursing a broken collar bone… don’t think the roots were too grippy that day
Ive been on three rides with Shearer that have ended with broken collar bones. And one sledging night that ended with torn knee ligaments. Legend doesn’t come close.Posted 7 years ago
It’s not exactly mountain biking though, is it?
uh oh, semantics alertPosted 7 years ago
It’s no trail centre, I’d say it’s proper mountain biking.Posted 7 years ago
Is proper mountain biking different from mountain biking?
I know this has been done to death, but indulge me. I got my first mountain bike in the late 80s. As expected it had rubbish brakes and no suspension so pretty much everything that wasn’t tarmac felt adventurous and exhilarating. If I was surrounded by big hills and great views then even better. Now though, the bikes are better so the terrain feels smoother, boring in fact. The adrenalin is missing. In these circumstances I start wishing I was on a road bike so I can cover bigger distances and see more mountains.
I find a lot of trail centres offer exciting riding. If I can have exciting riding AND be in the mountains, I’m happy.Posted 7 years ago
If you try it anti clockwise you’ll have the ten mile headwind of death back to Blair Atholl fom the Falls of Tarf…….Posted 7 years ago
Is it better or wrose than the 10 km Sidewind of Sorrow and the 25 km Headwind of Despair going the other way?Posted 7 years ago
My tongue was slightly in cheek, my intention was to point out that for me a technical riding experience is not the defining feature of mountain biking, but for some who cut their teeth at trailer centres, it iPosted 7 years ago
Funny how perceptions differ – from a walking background, I find that I enjoy flying along landrover tracks, too many memories of having walked them – I have walked the Beinn a’Ghlo circuit and the walk out from Tilt is the hard road of doom – lovely scenery though and great to be amongst it. Looking forward to the bike version one day.Posted 7 years ago
Wow with I could take the Glen Tilt loop for granted. I’ll remind myself how crap it is when I’m blatting round Swinley or the-woods-behind-Nationwide*
the 10 km Sidewind of Sorrow and the 25 km Headwind of Despair
*Er I have never been there but you get the ideaPosted 7 years ago
After a particularly tough day in the hills on Friday I came to several conclusions.
1. If it isn’t in Kenny Wilson’s book there’s probably a hell of a lot of carrying involved.
2. Just because a couple of people on the internet claim to have ridden something that doesn’t mean it can be done or is worth doing.
3. A year of very little riding is no preparation for spending nine hours riding, carrying and pushing your bike up and over and round mountains.
In conclusion, maybe there aren’t any mountains at Glentress but often that’s a better place to take your bike for a ride than proper mountainous terrain.Posted 7 years ago
Yeah, there’s always a fly in the ointment:Posted 7 years ago
Trail centres: After riding the freeride descent from Pila to Aoste; Glentress really doesn’t cut the mustard.
Beinn a Ghlo: dull tracks; great scenery.
Ben Alder: Great singletrack; pants hike a bike.
Feshie watershed: OK riding, really bleak scenery.
Lochnager loop: The dog’s kn*b IMO; but you’ll meet Prince Phillip with a 12 bore!
The Mounth Munros from Callater across to Clova; return via Broad Cairn: 2 cracking descents; bleak across the Mounth (but in a wild elevated sort of way, tiny paths and complex route finding); you unfortunately have to ascend from Bachnagairn to the Broad Cairn Summit..
There is a way of making it more interesting…Posted 7 years ago
I was planning on riding it next week.Posted 7 years ago
Is it betterer clockwise or anti clockwise?
It’s not a cut and dry one, I would say anti-clockwise would give you the best descents and singletrack but there’s not much in it. The main descent to Falls of Tarf is a bit off camber and loose so if that’s not your cup of tea maybe clockwise.Posted 7 years ago
I reckon anti-clockwise is the better option – and quite a bit faster than clockwise.Posted 7 years ago
Start with a tarmac climb, complete the climbing by just after half way and finish with a descent into the headwind down Glen Tilt.
So trail centres aren’t proper mountains, and mountain routes aren’t proper biking!Posted 7 years ago
lolPosted 7 years ago
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