Wild Trails Scotland – Any good books?

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  • Wild Trails Scotland – Any good books?
  • Can I just be the first to recommend Kenny Wilson’s Mountainbike Scotland book, with the caveat that there’s no OS mapping and some of the trails verge on wishful thinking! 😀

    I saw those Wild Trails books and they looked good, if you’re in the Ben Nevis area I would recommend Kinlochleven for the best riding, but also the shores of Loch Morar if you want real wilderness and techy riding, don’t expect to ride 100% though. Andy McCandlish’s Mountainbike Scotland guide book gives you the details on Loch Morar (see my blog, I describe a couple of these books in ‘The joy of Maps’) We did it as an out-and-back ride as couldn’t work to ferry schedule.

    I always though a good route would be to park at the bottom of Glen Coe (at the Clachaig), ride up the singletrack beside the road and join the old road at the ‘Study’ and follow to the foot of Devil’s Staircase. Ride/push up the staircase, descend other side to landrover track, turn right and climb back up to Blackwater Reservoir, cross reservoir, turn left and descend to Kinlochleven. Split the cost of a taxi back to your car.

    I’ll try and put up a description of that Morar ride tonight, if I remember.

    If you’re heading up there you may as well do the tour of Ben Nevis (not the actual race, just ride it)
    Start from Glen Nevis, along the WHW towards the Mamore Hotel (shut?) past Loch Eilde, follow the track up to the left of Meannach Bothy & over to Lairig Leacach bothy, follow it a bit then go into Leanachan Forest/Nevis Range & back to Glen Nevis.
    Fairly long day out but you could overnight at Meannach, like we did in 2009.

    Edit, you don’t NEED any fancy GPS bollox, just a map & compass if you don’t know the route, simples.

    Premier Icon scandal42
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    Me and a mate are off for a week in Scotland in June, I don’t really want to be stuck just doing trail centres (possible McMoab) as it seems a total waste of what looks like a great opportunity to ride some good stuff, HOWEVER….

    We don’t have a £200 gps device and neither of us have been north of the border on riding duties.

    I have seen two books – Scotland Mountain Biking: The Wild Trails volume 1 and 2

    They seem to provide detailed directions on wild rides with os map sections to help which I imagine would be excellent. Does anyone know of any other book worth considering, we were looking to go as north as Ben Nevis.

    Thanks

    I have both books and think they are well worth it , there are so many routes in Scotland it can be a little overwhelming and the books are a good place to start . The directions do come in handy too

    Premier Icon scandal42
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    Cheers for the suggestions so far chaps, I’ll be having a look through them at work tomorrow 🙂

    Really like the idea of the Nevis loop with a potential Bothy stop over, those river crossings look fun (wet)

    Thanks

    Premier Icon scotroutes
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    Both books are ok. The Kenny Wilson book is worth having too, but is long out of print. He’s been promising a follow-up for years but seems to have found more fun things to do 🙂

    Or he tried following one of his own routes, never to be seen again 😀

    (I don’t mean it of course, I love that book).

    Sod the books. Get a years worth of OS mapping for £17.95 at http://www.getamap.ordnancesurveyleisure.co.uk/

    Hunt down all the nifty routes on singletrackworld, and sort out your own maps

    Really like the idea of the Nevis loop with a potential Bothy stop over, those river crossings look fun (wet)

    Thanks

    Spare pair of Sealskins, sorted.

    Fording at Luibeilt

    That’s Ritchie, he’s crackers.

    doh
    Member

    The wild trails books are pretty good I have been working my way through them over the past few years.
    The Nevis circuit will take you to some great places but the riding itself is not that inspiring (big day out though)
    Devils staircase and ciarnan loop has a few variations and should be on your list IMHO but would be a bit strange not to climb back over from kinlochleven and descend the staircase?

    Premier Icon rickon
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    Don’t do the Glengarry ride. That is all I will say. I have nightmares of that day still.

    murf
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    I always though a good route would be to park at the bottom of Glen Coe (at the Clachaig), ride up the singletrack beside the road and join the old road at the ‘Study’ and follow to the foot of Devil’s Staircase. Ride/push up the staircase, descend other side to landrover track, turn right and climb back up to Blackwater Reservoir, cross reservoir, turn left and descend to Kinlochleven. Split the cost of a taxi back to your car.

    I did this a teenager, one of the most memorable cycles I’ve ever done!
    Perfect summer day, and great route. Came off the bike on the top of the staircase and skinned both arms, mate got a puncture and rode the last sections with his tyres stuffed with grass/weeds/whatever. Made it into my summer job as a waiter in a hotel 10 mins late and got put to work in the kitchen as I was dusty and bleeding! Grinning just thinking about it 🙂

    arrpee
    Member

    Don’t do the Glengarry ride. That is all I will say. I have nightmares of that day still.

    Hmmm, was thinking of doing that one. C’mon, don’t be a cock-tease. Spill!

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
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    And an OS map.

    And a glass of something nice.

    And a notebook and pencil.

    gordimhor
    Member

    This is a useful site
    trailscotland

    That Glengarry ride is nasty. Did a bit of it last May following the SSDT, lots of heather bashing & bog/no track. Even the SSDT riders said it was hard work on trials bikes. The descent down the Cam Bealach was good though.

    Devils staircase and ciarnan loop has a few variations and should be on your list IMHO but would be a bit strange not to climb back over from kinlochleven and descend the staircase?

    Very good point, I think I just have a fondness for the Glencoe singletrack climb and old road section.

    Premier Icon rickon
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    That Glengarry ride is nasty. Did a bit of it last May following the SSDT, lots of heather bashing & bog/no track. Even the SSDT riders said it was hard work on trials bikes. The descent down the Cam Bealach was good though.

    Totally.

    I rode it in the winter, 1 hour on fireroad, 2 hours of pushing through a bog, 2 hours of pushing through heather, 1 hour of pushing up a bonkers steep hill and kicking steps in the snow gullies in five tens.

    Then a pretty nice descent. If were ever to consider doing it again, I’d push up the descent, and ride back down.

    Don’t do it. Ever.

    Premier Icon scandal42
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    Thanks for the help chaps,

    So this is our rough plan for the trip

    Driving up from Leicester:

    Day 1 (Driving day) PM – Kirroughtree

    Day 2 AM – Glentrool

    Day 3 – A ride near Kinlochleven (basing near For William Mon -Fri)

    Day 4 – Other (partner happy) activity

    Day 5 – Start Tour De Ben Nevis – Bothy overnight

    Day 6 – Finish Nevis route – Chill for the afternoon

    Day 7 AM – Gondola red route at the Nevis range centre then off to Edinburgh

    Day 8 – Touristy stuff in Edinburgh

    Day 9 – Drive home with a stop at one of the 7 stanes south of Edinburgh

    I think it covers all types of riding quite nicely.

    Would anyone have some accommodation suggestions for the area near Kirroughtree for the 1st possibly 2nd night? Is there much non biking stuff in the area in the evenings?

    Also, accommodation is seemingly hard to come by for Middle June in the Nevis area, anyone ever used the lodges at Lochy Park?

    As a final info request, is there any recommended accommodation suitable for couples in Edinburgh with bike storage?

    Any other tips / do’s / dont’s are also welcomed.

    Cheers

    nbt
    Member

    scandal42 wrote:

    Also, accommodation is seemingly hard to come by for Middle June in the Nevis area, anyone ever used the lodges at Lochy Park?

    Not used the lodges but have stayed on the site. Very helpful and well located if you have transport

    acehtn
    Member

    Some minor thoughts for you 🙂

    The train service is well used to cyclists, so more routes open up with a short train trip.
    Unsure on the buses and bikes. But the public transport network is pretty good up around Fort William.

    Shouldn’t be too far away from water. Mountain rules apply of safer the closer to source you are. Many will argue over do or don’t just drink anything.
    A small inline filter for a camelback hose or water bottle with intergrated filter is good, but maybe not needed, depends on weather, how far your going and how much water you want to carry.
    I take a little Aquamira inline filter, but always have the time when walking to boil water.

    Midges, really really really get at least head nets before you go up, expect around £5 each, all the camping shops (loads in fort william) sell them.
    The moment you stop cycling…..you might have maybe a minute before they ravage you. Unless there’s a gentle breeze then they are grounded.
    Light clothing, gloves, headnet, all skin covered and you might come back unmarked.

    You can laugh now, but try going for a slash or wild poo and fend off a million squillon little vampires that are going to bite your sausage, and the several days of itching that follow are no fun either 🙂

    If hunting for a B&B on the day, do it as early as possible, the later in the day you leave it the harder it gets to find one with rooms.

    Camping shouldn’t be a problem.

    Some nice links in this thread to follow up later on 🙂 it’s ace up there, you will enjoy it.

    Oh one thing we got caught on, Kinlochleven, we went up to Blackwater, there is no footpath across the dam……unless you climb over a high gate/fence at both ends 🙂 we took the path up from the village then came down the access road, we walked down on the concrete water course from the dam.

    Premier Icon scandal42
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    😀

    Thanks for some excellent advice there acehtn, I will be sure to protect my sausage with increased effort, although the thought of it being in such high demand is certainly ego boosting.

    In all seriousness the water issue on the muliday ride was of particular interest, I will do some research to backup the advice you offer.

    How busy do the Bothies seem to get up there on a week day?

    Cheers

    If you’re doing Tour De Ben Nevis then you have the choice of 3 bothies en route.

    I’ve always considered it poor form to rely on a bothy without camping gear but in this instance I think you’d be justified. Ultra worst case scenario is a 1.5hr landrover track escape route to Kinlochleven if you can’t get in to any of them.

    acehtn
    Member

    Bothies can be very hit and miss traffic wise.

    Water front, i tend to boil. My inline filter will sort out high level water. If unsure i have to use puritabs in the bag, and the Aquamira should filter out the chemical taste.
    Sawyer filters have dropped in price and worth looking into, my Aquamira was 1/2 the price and size of a Sawyer when i got it. I would go Sawyer next, or intergrated water bottler filter.

    You might score lucky and get it to yourself……you might have people stumble in at midnight, wake you up, then cook them selves a meal.
    I tend to pitch up nearby, and just vist the bothy.
    The rule is never too turn anyone away, so it can get cramped in some, or you can use one as a base for 2-3 days and never see anyone else which would be bliss.

    My last encounter was at sourlies, we never made it too the bothy for the night, but could look down on it from the mountain we got stuck on. I could see 2 people in yellow coats and a couple of dogs.
    We got down there at 8.30am, i almost fell through the door after fording the swollen burn… this very striking blonde lady from Finland offered me a whisky….then Mrs Ace followed me in, i noticed Mr Finland and the instant fantasy died, but they had excess boiled water, would we like it, so instant hot drink after falling through the door 🙂
    The couple we met where not the couple with dogs i had seen from the mountain, they left very early in the morning.
    We sorted ourselves out, boiled off some water, repacked the rucksacks and set off for Inverie, as we left 2 canoes beached and became the current guardians of the bothy as we waved goodbye.

    Inside you will find a log book, you can get some info on conditions in and out of the bothy area and the amount of traffic passing through. You may find part used gas cans, lighters, matches, cup-a-soups and instant hot drinks. If you have spares, maybe leave a little something, if your desperate maybe grab something. It was obvious that the RAF had been at Camoursaury bothy on Skye and left a stack of glowsticks, i swiped some glowsticks and left MOD drinks and packs of matches in return.
    Don’t just drop crap, think more along the lines of….. i am heading out, back to civilisation, i don’t need these bit’s and pieces, it might be a life saver to someone that gets caught in bad weather (matches/half 3/4 used gas can and cup-a-soups) found loads of booze in one, part bottles of scotch, southern comfort, Gordons, Jack etc etc, excellent for getting smashed or emergency fire lighting.
    You find some odd things in bothys 🙂
    Bothy culture is ace, weekends will be busy with munro baggers, weekdays quiter. The people you meet will be outdoorisy types, the more remote the bothy the more hardcore the bothists 🙂

    Check around for the mountain bothy association website, that will update on any closures or work teams.
    Bothy near Ben Alder “Culra” is closed due to wear and tear and asbestos nature of the stucture, but that’s a pretty remote one, but it appears to be well used.

    Premier Icon stevenmenmuir
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    That Glengarry route is worse than any I have experienced in any of Kenny F Wilsons book. We were royally ticked off as we had someone with us that was just getting going again after having back problems and we were looking for a route that wouldn’t have much carrying or pushing. I’m not sure the author had even ridden that route. At least we didn’t try it the other way round.

    Oh, and as a counterpoint to acehtn, I’ve never boiled or filtered water in the highlands, just been very selective about where I fill up (fast flowing rivers, upstream of bothies, campsites, habitation, agriculture etc).

    Not saying that filtering or boiling isn’t a wise precaution, just saying in my experience it hasn’t proven necessary.

    acehtn
    Member

    What he said ^^ 🙂

    Also done that.

    Got ill last year, the time scale ruled out drinking of mountain water, even the doctors knew the area and said unlikely, but it was the only out of the ordinary thing i had done or been in contact with.

    First time out in nearly a year, so erring on caution now 🙂

    Premier Icon kennyp
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    Another vote here for Kenny Wilson’s “Walks with my Mountain Bike”. It is actually a great book, despite my heavy handed attempt at sarcasm.

    …and as a counter-counter point, I’m actually now investing in a water filter, but only because I’m in Canada and don’t like the sound of ‘Beaver Fever’! 8)

    Premier Icon scandal42
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    Cheers gent’s

    I’ll be trying to research the Ben Nevis route as much as possible, might have to open up the thread occasionally to ask stupid/basic questions.

    esther
    Member

    You might be having trouble finding accommodation because its the downhill world cup on 7/8th June.

    And another vote for avoiding the Glengarry route (although the descent is very good). I’m surprised actually by how many have done it, it felt like it hadn’t been ridden in years.

    acehtn
    Member

    🙂 Beaver Fever has a ring to it.

    Go on then, what is it ?

    Wild guess is a bit like the rat wee nastyness we have over here.

    hebridean
    Member

    You might want to have a look at Drumlanrig on Day 2. Fantastic place with great rooty singletrack. If you have non-bikers with you they might be interested in the castle, woodland walks (and adventure playground for kids).

    I wouldn’t be riding glentrool, there are soooo many better options.you’d be better off trying to ride somewhere in between kirro and kinlochleven to break up the journey, than what is essentially a big long fire road ride (glentrool).

    repoman
    Member

    Then a pretty nice descent. If were ever to consider doing it again, I’d push up the descent, and ride back down.

    Did that Glengarry route in reverse a few years ago. Don’t. The descent is a miserable push up, and the route down off the hill is non-existant. If it wasn’t for great weather, a chilled group, a GPS, and luck, we’d probably either a) still be out there now, or b) have killed each other.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
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    sangobegger – Member
    Sod the books. Get a years worth of OS mapping for £17.95 at http://www.getamap.ordnancesurveyleisure.co.uk/

    Hunt down all the nifty routes on singletrackworld, and sort out your own maps

    Definitely +1

    Premier Icon scandal42
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    Would those ‘in the know’ suggest that this is pretty much spot on in terms on the Nevis Route?

    Yeah, although I have some crazy recollections of being able to ride a lot of the climb after the river crossing (but we had spent half an hour resting on the river banks and the climb was bone dry). Basically don’t just ‘assume’ its a push and give up without at least trying, big soft tyres obviously help!

    Premier Icon seosamh77
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    If you are heading north I wouldn’t worry about kirroghtree really, its good. But not really worth the extra miles. I’d do mabie or drumlanrig which are just as good(you could do both) Then probably to aviemore or take in wolftrax if you want a trail centre. But in general there stuff all up the a9 if you want a stop before getting that far north. After aviemore/wolftrax its not far over to fort william

    Premier Icon mactheknife
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    If you are heading up the A9 i can send you a good route round Dunkeld if you want.

    Premier Icon seosamh77
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    Actually thinking about this, probably better heading up the A82 to fort william first, better drive.

    So i’d suggest

    Drumlanrig or Mabie(marthorn of mabie if you fancy a bit of yon glamping nonsense, http://www.marthrownofmabie.com/)

    up the a82 to fortwilliam, over to aviemore direction, then back down the A9 to edinburgh, and then onto glentress/innerleithen on the way home.

    Premier Icon Sanny
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    Scandal

    How tech a rider are you and do you like hike a bike?

    Ones to consider – Ciaran Path. Could ride the Devil’s Staircase from Glencoe, up to the dam, cross it and return via the Devil’s.

    Or ride from Kinlochleven, try the various descents back into KL or even take a carry up onto the lower top of Binnean Mor.

    Or from Glencoe – Up Lairig Gartian and down Larig Eilidh – big mountain scenery with a carry up from Glen Etive side.

    Aviemore – so many good options up there. That’s a really good call. The Old Ministers Guest House for the accommodation win. Very good indeed. Some pretty good places to eat too.

    Personally, I would knock the Seven Stanes stuff on the head as it is a ball ache of a drive up through Dumfries and Ayrshire. The Lakes as a stop over might be a better option then go up the M74.

    Fort William is to be blunt a bit of a sh*t tip. The riding is really good but some of the restarants and hotels are dire. Trip Advisor is your friend here!

    Hope this helps?

    Cheers

    Sanny

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