Yet Another Scottish Coast to Coast

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  • Yet Another Scottish Coast to Coast
  • flatfish

    Looks like a cracking trip.

    A couple of weeks ago I finally managed to coax my mates out of semi-retirement to head back up the road and take part in our formerly annual Scottish coast to coast ride. Having done four different routes in the past I had a nice four day route planned out from Oban to Nairn, rather than our usual week long jaunts and thought I’d share it with you chaps by overloading you with mediocre pictures!

    Day 1 saw us dipping our fingers in the salty stuff and generally cursing the ridiculous turn in the weather since the end of a lovely March.

    A sharp climb out of Oban saw us on the minor road through the hills en route to Taynuilt, with the weather still threatening.

    As we neared the end of our road stint, we realised there was a bit more snow on the hills since yesterday.

    We crossed the river at Inverawe and started to make our way up Loch Etive, with a fair few undulations to overcome.

    And some offroad cat’s eyes.

    We stopped for lunch with the weather turning in our favour as the vista opened up ahead.

    We turned East at Ardmaddy and made our way up Glen Kinglass bathed in sunlight. The good estate track made for easy progress.

    We passed the lodge and things immediately began to get a bit more interesting, with stretches of slick rock and the odd river crossing.

    Before long we were stopped for lunch 2, after a chat with a couple of nice chaps riding the other way who had had to unpack their bikes in order to navigate the partly ruined footbridge ahead. Unfortunately they hadn’t realised there was a new bridge further downstream!

    After a wee bit of bog and more Moab style rock riding, we approached the watershed and saw a slight change in weather in our future.

    A lack of nearby bridge saw us down to our undies to cross the Allt ghabhar barefoot.

    From here it was a dash down through the Clashgour estate to be met by pouring rain for the short road stretch to the bunkhouse on Bridge of Orchy station. A quick change saw us dry and well fed at the hotel bar.

    The next morning dawned bright and cold as we set off South along the West Highland Way.

    We quickly turned off from the hiker’s motorway to climb along the Allt Kinglass towards Loch Lyon, with the track’s sinuations forcing us in and out of the water frequently.

    With the though of elevenses spurring us on, we got to the top without too much fuss and settled down for a snack near the man-made water channel.

    Next up was a straightforward ride along the loch’s north shore, plus an obligatory river crossing and lunch.

    One last climb got us up above the dam with a gradual downhill along beautiful Glen Lyon to look forward to.

    We hit Bridge of Balgie in no time and stocked up on cakes and tea while a heavy hailstorm passed overhead. Good timing and a good idea, as the day was by no means over. Next up was a long climb over the track through the Lairig Ghallabhaich to Loch Rannoch. Brian was beginning to suffer at this point, but soldiered on to enjoy the fast downhill through the forest to the loch.

    Turns out one of our forum dwellers has a personal parking space here.

    We filled Brian up with lunch 3 at Kinloch Rannoch and then spent the rest of the evening bullying him along the road all the way to Blair Atholl via the B road through Glen Errochty. As always he cheered up after food and a pint or two!

    Next morning, it was decided to alter the route to try to give Brian some respite and also due to the likelihood of severe weather up high. Rather than going over the Minigaig as planned, we headed along the A9 cycle route to Dalnacardoch, aiming to take the Gaick Pass instead.

    The nice easy climb through the trees soon had us out on the moors.

    Where obviously we had to stop and eat.

    With the weather threatening to do bad things to us, we scooted along to the abandoned Sronphadruig Lodge. The river’s erosion is having a big effect, with lots of changes and bits of missing track since the last time I passed this way.

    A quick carry up to the watershed had us squelching and bashing our way along the side of Loch an Duin, occasionally being battered by hail.

    Crossing the burn at the far end was no problem and we got out into more open terrain at Loch Bhrodainn.

    Yet another lunch, then we quickly passed Gaick Lodge and were at the end of Loch an t-Seilich before the weather decided to try and do us in, resulting in a pit stop under the trees.

    Luckily it didn’t last long and we reached the weir and some tarmac which would see us through the first part of pleasant Glen Tromie.

    This gave way to gravel and eventually deposited us on the bike route which would take us all the way from Glen Tromie to Aviemore. Brian gamely dragged his sorry hide the whole way, but was really suffering again. Reluctantly we agreed to leave him behind the next day and pick him up in my car, which was waiting our finish in Nairn.

    Next morning, the weather looked worse than ever with alternate heavy rain and hail, but the two of us dragged ourselves out of bed and left Aviemore on the Speyside way, heading for Boat of Garten.

    The original plan had been to take tracks through the hills to the North of Carrbridge all the way to Cawdor, but we opted to do the rest of the day on road in order to minimise the time without our fallen comrade. This meant a straightforward ride over a B road, followed by minor roads and national bike route down to Nairn.

    First sight of the North sea.

    The finish line at Nairn beach.

    On-ones in need of some chain lube.

    Afterwards it was simply a case of packing the bikes into the car and picking up Brian, who was about 6 Guinness down for the afternoon and had come to the conclusion that a couple of laps round Cannock may not have been adequate preparation this time round!




    Nice. Do-able cx?

    Apart from a few uphill technical bits on Glen Kinglass, I reckon you could fly along the majority of it on a CX bike – I thought about it but went for comfort! Plus, the original route had more roughness to it…

    JOSE ,great pics and route could you get awaywith semi slick on it ? also what was your toolkit / spares for the trip ?

    Brilliant. Thanks for sharing. Would love to do a similar trip sometime

    Compared to my “coast to coast” Whitehaven to Newcastle – this is epic on so many many more levels.

    I still hate hills though.


    lovely stuff! well done and some great pics.

    Don’t think I’d do it with semi slicks, as there is still mountain biking involved, but I suppose you could rattle along a lot of it that way! For something like that, I’d normally take a decent multi-tool like an Alien, plus a shifting spanner, spare tube/puncture kit, cable ties and a couple of spare powerlinks for the chain – The rest I’d leave to fate!


    Looks fantastic, I’m planning a similar trip for June but the opposite direction, Lossie / Elgin to my hometown of Oban. Why didn’t you go up the side of Loch Garry from Kinloch Rannoch? It’s a good track all the way except for a small stretch in the middle where it disappears.

    Two reasons for missing it out – the first was that I knew that might be a bit much for my buddies at the end of a long day and the second was that it is on next year’s route and I like every C2C to be completely different!

    Premier Icon kcal

    that is great, some very nice photos too.


    Thanks for sharing.Inspiring stuff,I wonder if any of my mates would be up for it?


    AWESOME, great post, and I’ve discovered some new gf friendly wilderness tracks – yahoo, cracking, thanks for sharing.

    Looks like a great route and something I’d love to try. Stunning scenery.

    Any tips or guides on how to plan the route. It’s a part of the world that I don’t know at all, so any pointers would be great.



    Great stuff, where did you sleep? I’m going to study this route on a map later.

    First night in a bunkhouse and the next two in B&Bs, hence the lack of luggage. There plenty of options along the way if you wanted to wild camp – I went for the incentive of pub meals at the end of each day to keep the troops happy!


    Great pics!!

    What was the daily & over all distance for the c2c?


    Absolutely brilliant lads.

    Inspirational stuff 8)


    Nice one guys.

    Thanks for the nice comments, distances were roughly:

    Day 1 – 65km, 1300m ascent
    Day 2 – 85km, 1488m ascent
    Day 3 – 75km, 1000m ascent
    Day 4 – 61km, 600m ascent

    trailofdestruction, I pick the routes through a mixture of looking at OS maps on my PC and remembering useful tracks/paths that I have used on weekend bivi solo rides. If you’re thinking of doing a route somewhere up here just ask away on email or whatever and I’ll be happy to advise. Loads of others on here are doing the same thing, which is what makes this site special.

    Are you sure? It felt like much longer 🙂

    I’ve faked them so Brian doesn’t go mad when he realises how much we were lying…

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl

    Thank you! Great pics too, what an adventure.

    Scotland is on the agenda for next year. 8)


    Great trip / story / pics!

    Oh man I want to be there… amazing.


    Great stuff, thanks for sharing.


    Fabby. I do love these threads and this one is a great kick up the arse to get out there and do some of my own!

    Well done!

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout

    Whooop! Now that is a better route than the traditional in many ways. ACE thread!

    Hehe, was hoping you wouldn’t miss that one Druidh! One day I will sort out a website with all this stuff and mapping included – might have to give up working before I get the time to do it right though!

    Premier Icon wallop

    Good photos, great write up – I’m impressed and envious!


    I really need to get out on my bike again. Now if only the sodding rain would stop.


    Quality photos and write up, should post it over here too

    Wow. That route is stunning! It just looks so wild!

    It’s a massive step up from the Lochs and Glens that I’m doing this coming weekend with my buddies… and so much more like the kind of stuff I aspire to. I’m going to let them them “conquer” the Sustrans route, then forward them this photo series as inspiration for later in the year / next year.

    Fabulous. Thanks for posting.

    Premier Icon DavidB

    Brilliant post! and this is now on my list for the very near future

    Wow. That route is stunning! It just looks so wild!

    It’s a massive step up from the Lochs and Glens that I’m doing this coming weekend with my buddies… and so much more like the kind of stuff I aspire to. I’m going to let them them “conquer” the Sustrans route, then forward them this photo series as inspiration for later in the year / next year.

    THis one is sold on it – looks fantastic – and great pictures – any chance of a route or GPS tracks?

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