Tempt me out of the trail centres anyone? North east Scotland, black isle etc

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  • Tempt me out of the trail centres anyone? North east Scotland, black isle etc
  • Premier Icon scotroutes
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    * sad face *

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    Right, so, my folks have rented a caravan at Dornoch (near Golspie) and I’m nipping up to join them on wednesday for a few days, and taking my bike. But every time I go away I end up just riding trailcentres because they’re easy, just wondering what I’m missing around there…

    My plan is loosely laggan red, black and brown on the way up from Edinburgh. Golspie on thursday, Balblair and Carbisdale with my brother on Friday, Nevis Range on saturday with the big bike. Not a bad ride in there and I don’t get to ride any of them enough, so… Should I change plans?

    Wow me with your natural awesomeness πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    Well that was informative πŸ˜†

    Premier Icon scotroutes
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    You’ll be wanting this – http://www.getamap.ordnancesurveyleisure.co.uk/ – and a sense of imagination πŸ‘Ώ

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    As ever your detailed recommendations are very helpful, cheers mate! I’ve got 4 excellent rides already planned so not just thinking about going for a trundle in the mountains, it’s got to be double-plus-good to get a look in.

    _tom_
    Member

    Why are “natural” riders always so bloody smug and arsey about it?

    Premier Icon scotroutes
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    You young whippersnappers want it all laid on a plate for you. It were all mountains when I were a lad πŸ˜† And anyway, there’s nowt wrong with mountain-based trundling. Especially if there are pies and cakes involved.

    I assume you’ve already thought of (and discounted?) Torridon, Morvich, Tour-de-Ben, Feshie/Inshriach, Carn Ban Mor?

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    Torridon was the one that nearly made my list, but a bit off my beat- Nevis Range only gets in because it’s on the way home, sort of. Hoping to make a trip of it up on that side at some point though, get over to Skye too.

    Morvich’s a bit better but most routes around there that I’ve seen are pretty hikabikey? Not an area I know at all though so open to pointers.

    Aviemore more doable location wise, had some fun around there in the past but nothing that’d draw me away from the other trails (and doable in a day from Edinburgh anyway). Was just in kinlochleven last weekend so not due a return yet and the tour de ben doesn’t appeal much tbh.

    The golden rule here is basically “must be better than Golspie” πŸ˜‰ So it’s not a small ask but cheers for the suggestions

    Premier Icon scotroutes
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    Jeez. Talk about a tough audience!

    It’s fair to say that if you’re not prepared to do a bit of walking then the best little bits of trail just aren’t going to be a draw for you. That’s always been the benefit of trail centres – at least they’re all designed to be ridable. You could always opt for a double coast-to-coast, Bonar Bridge to Ullapool and return. Nothing at all gnarly but a nice day in the hills with the lure of the Ferry Boat Inn as a half-way point?

    Premier Icon somafunk
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    Check out the options in STW – help needed to put the mountains into mountain biking thread, as much as laggan/golspie etc are good for a mindless blast bear in mind they are a quick fix and little more than an unsatisfactory quick dopamine rush compared to what’s out there if you’re willing to step outside the comfort zone to speak, if you’ve already explored some of the trails round about Aviemore then ask david or co at Bothy bikes to recommend you something a bit more adventurous.

    Premier Icon doug_basqueMTB.com
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    That’s my home patch! Get in touch with the fyrish boys for some of the best natural stuff around. Go off piste in Contin, see Steve at Square Wheels in Strathpeffer for info. Golspie is ace too.

    Premier Icon P20
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    These guide books from vertebrae are a good start if you have no idea or inspiration. There’s two books for Scotland
    Have an adventure, it’s a truly fabulous, stunning part of the world.

    messiah
    Member

    I’ve still not ridden Golspie 😳

    I was up that way a few years ago and got shown around by Gordymac who is on here sometimes. We rode from Dingwall taking in some epic trails and local hills, Fyrish Monument, The Cats Back, Strathpuffer area, Rogie Falls, and included a wee visit to Square Wheels bike shop.

    Try contacting Gordymac or any other of the Fyrish Riders through thier website or perhaps though Square Wheels. Absolutely amazing riding.

    grum
    Member

    Have you ‘done’ Ben Lomond? That’s an incredible descent IMO. Quite a bit of pushing/carrying for me but navigation couldn’t be simpler.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    I guess I should have been clearer at the start tbh, my fault, focus for this trip is on the riding not the day out. The “biking” not the “mountain” if you like πŸ˜‰ Which is where recommendations come in, most guidebook rides up there seem to focus on big days out.

    I don’t mind a bit of hike-a-bike but it’s very dull without a bit of chat. Mentioned it specifically for Morvich because everyone talks about 2 things up there- the descent back to Morvich, and the amount of time carrying.

    Hmm, maybe an example. Loch Eilde path and grey mare’s tail at kinlochleven are the sort of thing- yes good views, nice location but absolutely fantastic techy descents to make the climb worthwhile.

    Premier Icon bigjim
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    I grew up on the black isle and always used to ride Ord Hill, just by the kessock bridge, best accessed via the drumsmittal road off the A9 at kessock junction. It would be hard to describe individual trails but there are just loads of little rooty rocky bits of singletrack all over it, we used to link lots of bits together and spend endless summer holiday days up there. I’m not sure it is worth visiting with no idea where to go though, but it’s there if you are at a loose end around there. I’ve not ridden any of the trail centres up there. Fyrish used to be a good ride too. I think there are a bunch of dh trails up behind Inverness by the radio mast, if you want to explore on the wrong side of the bridge.

    Premier Icon ART
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    You could stop off at Aviemore and do some of the lovely trails round Loch Morlich/ an Eilen. Park where Bothy Bikes used to be just by Inverdruie… especially good if the lovely foody van is in the carpark opposite … and do a big loop taking in the old XC trails on the northern side or the out and back to Gleann Einich.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
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    Ben Alder circuit instead of Laggan? A pure spiteful hike-a-bike section mid-way, but other than that the riding is very good and very epic Scottish landscape feeling. Even the carry is mitigated somewhat by the fact you’re pushing up a mountain, not the usual trudge through bogland for miles.

    Premier Icon bigjim
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    btw kessock bridge roadworks have over run and still bad delays in rush hour

    Premier Icon scotroutes
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    Bit of a weird thread this. It’s a bit like going into a restaurant, wanting sausages and asking what steaks they’d recommend.

    Edit: FWIW, I like sausages and steak.

    > I don’t mind a bit of hike-a-bike <

    Plenty of suggestions above so why not just get on with it then and stop being so picky?

    πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon kcal
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    I read the original post as saying they wanted some pointers to get out for a day, yes a map and a sense of exploration would be useful, but you could get it so very wrong (on your own) and ‘waste’ a day or at least an afternoon…

    Not quite sure why its turned into bit of a slanging match?

    Most enjoyable day I’ve had round Inverness for a long time was the Loch Ness 360 route, mostly off-road circuit round Loch Ness – worth a peek if you have the time and can work out the route.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    scotroutes – Member

    Bit of a weird thread this. It’s a bit like going into a restaurant, wanting sausages and asking what steaks they’d recommend.

    I’m just picky about the type of sausage, some are tastier than others, some are longer, some are hidden far from the restaurant and you need to walk through a swamp before you’re allowed to eat them

    Premier Icon roverpig
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    If you are looking to cram in the most biking smiles for your miles then it’s going to be hard to beat a trail centre I reckon. I’m sure there is some great natural stuff up there, but mother nature doesn’t tend to cram lots of fun technical stuff together and then join it up with nice short and easy bits. So there is going to be a fair bit of slogging or even hiking to get from one sweet bit of trail to the next. Natural riding, for me at least, is always as much about the location as the riding.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
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    _tom_ – Member
    Why are “natural” riders always so bloody smug and arsey about it?

    I think it’s more puzzlement as to why someone would want to stick to predictable trail centre type stuff when there is the free choice of some of the finest riding in the world.

    Different mindsets as to what makes a good ride basically.

    The OP did say tempt me out of the trail centres and wow me with your natural awesomeness.

    ScoobysM8
    Member

    Torridon, Torridon, Torridon. Enough to keep you happy for the whole holiday there. And all ‘better’ than Golspie.
    If Aviemore is more handy for you, then Carn Ban Mor or Inschriach. I’d sooner go there than Laggan any day.

    _tom_
    Member

    I think it’s more puzzlement as to why someone would want to stick to predictable trail centre type stuff when there is the free choice of some of the finest riding in the world.

    Different mindsets as to what makes a good ride basically.

    I enjoy a good non-trail centre ride and it is better, but I just don’t get the attitude people on the internet have about it.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
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    _tom_ it’s probably worth me saying that I know Northwind “off forum” πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon chickenman
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    Lochnager loop clockwise from Braemar via Balmoral estate, Gelder Shiel, Glas Allt Shiel climb to summit; west along ridge to fantastic descent down to Loch Callater. Warm down with the gentle ascent up to Morvern (ok, a lie) and fantastic descent back to start point.
    The Glas Allt Shiel descent option from Lochnager summit is a Blue Riband Event…just a bit hard for me!! 😳

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    Yah, hard to tell banter from arsiness sometimes I think, no tone on teh internets. I’m just a bit worried how much thinking Scotroutes has been doing about my sausage.

    I spent most holidays as a kid in Scotland, I’ve seen a lot of mountains and lochs and they’re fine I suppose but it’s never why I get on a bike. Some folks idea of a good ride looks like purgatory to me, and vice versa I’m sure.

    Part of the trouble is ride guides tend to focus on the views, the climbs, etc and not very much on the actual riding. Like, just reading one for carn ban mor and it’s keen to tell you that you go up 2 munros, what the names of the mountains are, but there’s only a single sentence to describe the riding, “rock and rubble”. I read another that told me how many times I’d have to lift the bike over a stile, what those trees are, who lives in the big houses, but the riding description was one word- “good”. πŸ˜† Every time there’s a picture it’s someone on a landrover track or a bike leaning against a trig point with a pretty mountain behind them. They’re walkers guides essentially.

    So, thanks for the efforts folks but I can’t tell what’s for me and what’s not so, off in 12 hours, will stick with the original plan rather than risking getting someone else’s perfect ride. I will ask better questions next time πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon mugsys_m8
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    How about going back in time and riding Golspie befroe they built the trails? It was my first long off road descent. Landrover track to the monumnet then winging it downon the sweetest andiest dustiest switchbackiest singletrack right down to the beach.

    <takes off rose tinted glasses>

    Broara ice cream anyone?

    Spin
    Member

    Reading this thread made me think of the old Yorkshire Gritstone climbing guidebook that was dedicated with thanks to:

    ‘All those climbers who climb in the Peak and never come to Yorkshire’

    BTW Carbisdale is a waste of time. Just do Balblair another time.

    supremebean
    Member

    Northwind, there is plenty riding of all sorts in and around Inverness, better than any trail centre imo!Pm me if you need guided.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    Spin – Member

    BTW Carbisdale is a waste of time

    I like it… But mainly just going there for my brother, he’d not be up for any of the other rides, it’s about the right length for him and probably not too difficult.

    Supremebean, cheers, think I have left that sort of thing a bit too late now though. Next time!

    yunki
    Member

    Broara ice cream anyone?

    Victor Capaldi’s.. πŸ˜€

    Premier Icon billyboy
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    Laggan is the only trail centre I’ve done which I liked…probably because I hadn’t intended to do it…it was late in the day after a ride round Loch Pattock/Ben Alder Lodge (have I got that right??)and I found I hasd a couple of hours before dark…. and there was no other person about apart from a fairly miserable geezer in the bike shop.

    Given a choice between heading up a Glen into the wilds and riding a trail centre…..it would be the wilds everytime

    Ben Alder Lodge is on Loch Ericht (track in from Dalwhinnie) Ardverikie (aka Glenbogle) is on Loch Laggan just SW of Laggan Wolftrax.

    Agree with your sentiments billyboy. TC’s are great for what they are but they are very one dimensional.

    Kunstler
    Member

    For myself, Torridon surpasses the quality of riding at any trail centre I’ve ridden but the advantage that trail centres have is that the quality of ride isn’t broken up by the compulsion to stop and wow at the wall of forestry plantation either side of the trail.

    kharim
    Member

    Info for next time
    Been biking all over UK and IMO the best trails for techy singletrack are to be found in Ross-Shire (Evanton woods, Alness by the river Averon, Fyrish and to the west of Fyrish just north of Evanton, Cats back (Between Dingwall and Strathpeffer), and not forgetting the obvious Contin and Learnie). Hope that you get to discover some amazing biking.
    BTW Carbisdale isn’t a waste of time as it’s easy to link with Balblair via the railway bridge.

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