I'd planned to ride the Cairngorm Loop (details Here
) over the recent Bank Holiday weekend, but a heavy cold put paid to that idea :-( . However I had another opportunity to make an attempt over the weekend just gone. An early start, easy drive and 230 miles later I was unloading the bike from the car at Old Bridge of Tilt car park. I should mention there's lots of photos here...many featuring a bicycle as foreground interest...Sorry!
|So all loaded up, no rucksack needed 36hrs food ( I planned to buy more on route)...I set off at 10.40am. Would I make it back in under 56hrs?|
|Firstly through the grounds of Blair Castle, taking Sustrans Route 7 Northwards ( This is the old A9) much of which I remembered from journeys up and down it as a child.|
A feature of this long uphill drag was the headwind, this would be a menace for the much of the day.
|I left the tarmac at Dalnacardoch and headed up the Gaick Pass track...good going at this point, except for the wind.|
|The double track finishes just beyond the ruinous Sronphadruig Lodge.|
|The path is little wider than a sheep/deer track as it contours above Loch an Duin on its Western side. The narrow glen funneling the Northerly wind. This is remote country, you're a long way from tarmac hereabouts.|
|The track improves again and the descent past Loch Bhrodainn and Gaick Lodge was easy going giving me the chance to take in the grandeur of my surroundings.|
|Looking back from whence I'd come, tarmac and Glen tromie were just round the corner.|
|Bhran Cottage, I was here in May on this years TGO Challenge...in alot of pain!|
|Off road again at Drumguish as I headed over to Glen feshie, the weather was certainly as forecast. Warm and dry.|
|Things certainly slowed down once I left Inshriach Forest and set off along the singletrack round Loch Gamha and Loch an Eileen|
|Over to the Cairngorm Club footbridge, and some easier tracks round Loch Morlich. I was looking forward to some food at the shop near the campsite. It was shut!! a bit of a blowand I knew I was behind the rough schedule I'd set myself. |
|The bar was open at "Glenmore Lodge" though. I had a soup and snack in the comfort of the bar and realised that getting to the Fords of Avon before nightfall wasn't going to happen.|
|As I left "Glenmore Lodge" the cool of the evening hit me. I put plenty of effort in as I passed Lochan Uaine. Just past the junction to Ryvoan a reindeer hind and her calf wandered across the track in front of me. I could see lots of tents near Ryvoan Bothy...I hoped there would be space at the site of the old Bynack Stable......|
|I was lucky there was just 1 tent already there, I asked the guy if he minded me camping there....Ok "as long as I was Quiet"! He replied!!|
|I slept well, hardly any surprise bearing in mind the effort I'd put in yesterday. The highest section of the Loop was next.|
|Its a long climb up over the shoulder of Bynack More, very little of the path is rideable...at least by me!|
The views to the North compensated for my toils though.
|A short descent into Coire Odhar followed by a gentle climb to this point. Then its pretty much rideable down to and beside Loch a Bhainne.|
|Although these boulders weren't! Good view of the Barns of Bynack from here.|
|Fords of Avon refuge...I'd never have got here in daylight, so a it had been a good decision to camp when I did.|
|The river was low thank goodness, it was still well above knee height and dragging/pushing a bike through water that depth and strong flow is difficult.|
|The climb up to the top of the Lairaig an Laoigh was purgatory :-( it took an age...The only time on the trip I questioned my sanity.|
Roughly in the centre of this photograph is the Hutchinson Hut for scale...Big Country!
|The descent was great, almost all rideable if very technical.|
Last time I was here these trees were behind a fence for protection from deer browsing, they've grown well.
|The new footbridge at Derry Lodge, 2pm and it was time for a re-assessment of my goals. I was way behind now, with no real chance of finishing within 56hrs.|
Time to take the pressure off and take an easier route back to Blair Atholl, and enjoy the moment.
|The heather was amazing, as good as I've ever seen it.|
|I just touched the tarmac at Linn of Dee before heading out into the wilds again on my way to White Bridge and beyond.|
|Socks off to cross the Geldie Burn, in hindsight I shouldn't have bothered it was so warm they would have dried quickly anyway. Beinn a Ghlo in the background, I'd soon be riding down Glen Tilt below its steep flanks.|
|Upper Glen Tilt a lot of this is rideable although not all of it by any means.|
|Fall of Tarf, I knew it was all good from here. Its not all downhill mind...not by any means!|
|Falls in Lower Glen Tilt.|
From here I was soon back at the car at Old Bridge of Tilt. So the "Cairngorm Loop" had defeated me on this occasion. An earlier start by a couple of hours would have made a big difference I think?
I did of course complete " A Cairngorm Loop" and enjoyed 95% of the trip....the Hike-A-Bike up to Lairaig an Loaigh I could do without!
For those interested in my exact route a Strava log is here
Brilliant weather and photo’s. Lucky lad.ReplyDelete
The sun certainly had it's hat on!! The photos don't show the cold wind...I had a waterproof jacket on almost all the time.Delete
Thanks very much for the kind comments on the photo's...taken on the Sony smartphone.