Forum home Road cycling forum Tours, routes, audaxes & organised rides Tour & expedition

great glen cycle paths

priorypriory Posts: 743
edited June 2009 in Tour & expedition
What is the current state of the off road sections between fort william and inverness? Have they been left muddy and interesting ( so not suitable for 25mm tyres) or are they flattened gravel like the high peak trail and therefore rideable by anything for the whole way?

Raleigh Eclipse, , Dahon Jetstream XP, Raleigh Banana, Dawes super galaxy, Raleigh Clubman ... =slideshow


  • tardingtontardington Posts: 1,379
    I am under the impression the whole surface is pretty much okay, similar to the West Highland Way, but much flatter...

    ADDS I could be talking mince though
    They say you should have a MTB - although, they do rent them. That link does have a pdf of the route, btw. Though only the high-def seems to work.
  • lloyd_bowerlloyd_bower Posts: 664
    I did it several years ago, it's hard packed gravel for the most part and should not have any great problems. There was then a significant road section towards the end after leaving Drumnadrochit (spelling wrong sorry!) but I took the footpath section which was still in a good condition.
    Don't know how you are getting back to the start but if you have time, take the train from Inverness to Blliar Atholl/Pitlochry and cycle across to Ranoch station (road) to pick up a train to Bridge of Orchy and ride the top half of the WHW.
  • priorypriory Posts: 743
    I think the whw will wait til I go back with chunkier equipment.

    This time we are looking at training it to achnasheen then riding to mallaig (got to catch the last ferry!) then perhaps round moidart towards ballashulish next day.

    What do people think about not booking the hostels until the day before? Is that very unwise in early june? I have had problems doing this in the past, but it just meant we had a nicer stay in a bandb instead.
    Raleigh Eclipse, , Dahon Jetstream XP, Raleigh Banana, Dawes super galaxy, Raleigh Clubman ... =slideshow
  • stevercpstevercp Posts: 113
    much the same info did the walking route a while back if i remember its a bit "lumpy"
    after drumnadrochit
    a cross bike should be ok as long as your not carrying much
    we did it on our flat bar tourers
    as usual we took kitchen sink ect
    well worth it
  • munro_9munro_9 Posts: 12
    im thinking about taking my son in the summer. it will be our first mountain bike trip. Any advice ? is a mountain bike suitable? whats a reasonable time for route? how flat/hilly is it and whats the surfave like?
  • stevercpstevercp Posts: 113
    mountain bike would be ideal with front suspension
    if you dont want to carry gear stay in loch ness hostel
    3 or 4 days ifyou dont want to rush
  • munro_9munro_9 Posts: 12
    cheers mate
    whats the terain like
    ive got a very old (20 year old) mountain bike
    more into road cycling generally
  • SJLcpSJLcp Posts: 239
    If its anything like the WHW (and no reason why it won't be) then prepare for rough tracks - I did the WHW on a rigid MTB with panniers last year and regretted not taking front suspension - tracks can be very rough in places - a road bike with wide tyres is a no-no in my humble opinion

    Sounds like a great trip - enjoy!
  • stevercpstevercp Posts: 113
    terrain canal path at first
    but it can be steep so expect some pushing well we did
    we followed the walking route
    i think you can get a decent map its printed on waterproof paper
    3 days should be ok if you carry a saddle bag to limit weight try to book
    loch ness yh its about half way
  • munro_9munro_9 Posts: 12
    cheers mate
    if you spend a night at loch ness yh where did you spend the other night?
    we are thinking in terms of 2 night accomadation, possibly 3 depending on the times of trains home
  • stevercpstevercp Posts: 113
    there is a campsite about 10 miles short of inverness
    thats the way we did it
    ie first night wild camp or loch ness yh
    then camp then easy 10 into inverness
  • tardingtontardington Posts: 1,379
    Although the big campsite in Inverness is horrrrrrible. We had our bikes chained to each other, the fence and improvised with bungee's to the guy-ropes.

    That said, if you arrive late, and leave early it is free! :wink:
  • ralexralex Posts: 85
    SJLcp wrote:
    If its anything like the WHW (and no reason why it won't be) then prepare for rough tracks!

    There is plenty of reason why it won't be like the WHW, it is a 'cycle route' the WHW isn't, it goes through totally different terrain.
    Most of the Great Glen Cycle Route would be fine on a 700c with 32mm tyres or bigger (possible even with 28mm). We did it from North to South three years ago with full camping gear and four panniers on 26" wheels, one shortish section of single track nearer the north end after the road section, then mostly easy forest road and canal path, but one dodgy steep rough section of about 200 metres from Invermoriston back up to the forest road.
    Between Abercharder and Laggan take the walking route rather than the cycle route because the walk stays down at loch level on the south side whereas the cycle goes back up high into the forest on the north side only to come back down again.

    Have a look at htis thread on the CTC forum :
  • RonLRonL Posts: 90
    I cycled first 30 miles of the route then walked 43 (Fort William to Inverness) just two weeks ago, 2nd May. as part of the Maggies Monster challenge all within 24 hrs. The route is ideal for a mountain bike and suitable for a tourer with around 32mm upwards tyres, preferably 40 mm minimum. Some sections are very rough large stones and unless chunky tyres are used it will be tough on rider and rims. Most of it is easy cycling on roads or cinder track. SYHA have hostels at Fort William, Invergarry and Fort Augustus ( Morags Lodge affiliated) there is only B&B or hotel at Drumnadrochit.

    You'll love it , it's a great route. try
    Pedaling spans generations.
  • munro_9munro_9 Posts: 12
    thanks for all the advice guys but the bottom line is my son is 15 and ive promised him b&b or yh every night(2or3 i suppose)
    is that possible or would that mean breaking the route into unrealistic sections
  • RonLRonL Posts: 90
    Providing you can both do 25 to 30 miles daily you should find a roof to sleep under. suggest you plan a route and book ahead to ensure you have a vacancy.
    Pedaling spans generations.
  • munro_9munro_9 Posts: 12
    s 25/30 mlles a day realistic on the terrain
    m a regular (ie daily )cyclist and my sons a fit 15 year old but not a regular cyclist
  • tardingtontardington Posts: 1,379
    You should be fine! 30 miles is three hours on decent roads, if you've got all day you'll be okay.

    It's not like you'll be far away from civilisation - worst comes to it, push yr bikes up the hill to the road, wheels off, and into a taxi!

    It sounds like great fun, sort of thing I'd have loved at fifteen. 8)
  • stevercpstevercp Posts: 113
    any updates you been yet :D
Sign In or Register to comment.