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Cairngorms

Stoo61Stoo61 Posts: 1,394
edited October 2009 in Routes
Anybody been to the Cairngorms for cycling? Looking to do a 2 day loop of some sort.

I realise that its the sorta place you go with a map and just sort of wing it but I would like a rough idea of where to start and a general push in the right direction.

Any help and advice would be much appreciated.

Posts

  • Aldo001Aldo001 Posts: 251
    I went there when I was wee (like >6 years ago) and there was (probs still is) a little shop where you can rent bikes, but more imprtantly, there are tonnes of route maps and such.
    Research it first incase I'm talking a load of bull but I am fairly sure.
    Sorry for being horribly vague. :lol:
  • You maybe mean Bothy Bikes at Colyumbridge. They're very helpful with routes and stuff and also hire out unusual Genesis MTBs with Alfine hubs.

    The two best runs are from Nethy Bridge over the the Ryovan Pass, past the famous bothy, or the trip from Rothiemurcas Forest to Loch Einich. I think there is a Cairngorms map in this month's MBR.
    Giant Trance X 2010
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  • myopicmyopic Posts: 692
    Just finished a 2 day route there this weekend! We parked at Glenmore, then Day 1 went to Braemar via Tomintoul. Then back to Glenmore on Day 2 via the Geldie Burn and Glen Feshie. About 88 miles all in- 44-45 miles each day. Lot of climbing (over 6,300 feet over the 2 days) and you will get wet feet - there are a lot of river crossings, many of which are rideable now but probably won't be as we move into winter. Also on Day 2, there are quite a few miles of thick mud and very rocky track that you will be quicker walking than riding - but not moving very quickly with either.

    That said, it was an unforgettable, fantastic 2 days riding in spectacular scenery with brilliant weather

    You will also end up doing quite a bit of this in the dark now, and be warned that the weather in this area can change quickly and be extreme at all levels - for large parts of the route you are very exposed at over 2000 ft with no bail out options, so not much fun in high wind, rain or snow.

    Also be aware that in Braemar, virtually all places - even the hotels and bars stop selling food at around 8 pm - even the chippy closed at 8.15 pm on Saturday night! There are a few places taking orders to 8.30 or 9.00 pm but these need to be prebooked. the gerneral store closes at 7.30 pm I think.

    Here's a link to the circuit mapped out in Bike Hike: http://www.bikehike.co.uk/mapview.php?id=21630
    You don't need eyes to see, you need vision
  • Stoo61Stoo61 Posts: 1,394
    Myopic, that is like the perfect response.

    My Dad used to be right into his mountain climbing and walking so has been giving me all the warnings and will teach me compass and map reading for when the time comes. Where did you stay for the night then?

    I use bikehike a lot so thanks for the link too.

    Ordered a book on the area so will give that a read. :D

    P.s. Strange that you were up there this weekend because thats when I decided I wanted to do this. Was travelling up to Inverness for the football, you certainly got great weather.
  • myopicmyopic Posts: 692
    Stoo - I'll post more details later, (prob much later) - work is mental today!
    You don't need eyes to see, you need vision
  • Stoo61Stoo61 Posts: 1,394
    Cool cheers, you got pics to go with that?
  • anjsanjs Posts: 486
    I would certainbly consider doing this before winter sets in. The Caringorms is not the place to be learning how to use a compass in the middle of winter.
  • rhextrhext Posts: 1,639
    anjs wrote:
    I would certainbly consider doing this before winter sets in. The Caringorms is not the place to be learning how to use a compass in the middle of winter.

    +1 - and the terrain is challenging enough without snow on the ground. It's skiing country up there.

    Wonderful cycling - can't really add anything to the routes described above except to recommend that you do it. Also suggest you take a friend or two and don't forget a really comprehensive repair kit: there aren't any handy villages from where you can get a taxi.

    This might give you some ideas. It's the route I did earlier in the year.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2008/j ... s.scotland
  • asdfhjklasdfhjkl Posts: 333
    Singletrack magazine have a free online back-issue at the moment which has some route guides for the Cairngorms: click here (page 116)
  • woodywmbwoodywmb Posts: 657
    Another bike mag, not nearly as good as WMB though similar in title, has an article on the Cairngorms. It's out today. You could scan through the pages in Tesco rather than buying it.
  • rhextrhext Posts: 1,639
    Woodywmb wrote:
    Another bike mag, not nearly as good as WMB though similar in title, has an article on the Cairngorms. It's out today. You could scan through the pages in Tesco rather than buying it.

    ....although if you buy it, you'll get a free hat which will help keep your ears warm while you're up there. Plus a memory-map of a cracking days ride out of Aviemore!
  • Stoo61Stoo61 Posts: 1,394
    anjs wrote:
    I would certainbly consider doing this before winter sets in. The Caringorms is not the place to be learning how to use a compass in the middle of winter.

    Yeah dont worry I think its more of a spring thing now.

    Will check out the magazines lads cheers.
  • CFSCFS Posts: 124
    +1 for the Glen Einich ride, about 30Km round trip and pretty spectacular. Pretty much down hill all the way back too I think.

    I'm an ICT supporter btw. 2 points dropped on Saturday :roll:
    Shot by both sides...
  • Ryovan Pass is really nice, it's just landrover track but still good fun. I did 2 return trips from Nethy Bridge to Glenmore earlier this year. You can also have a cheeky go on the practice trails at Glenmore Lodge :wink: I also pushed on a bit further to see how rideable the Lairig Ghru is, starts off fine in the forest but once you get out to open country it was really hard going and I gave up :oops:
    Oh and Glen Feshie is beautiful, some of the path has dissapeared because of landslides and you have to carry the bike but it's well worth it.
  • myopicmyopic Posts: 692
    OK, Stoo. Finally got round to getting some more details down.

    First of all, I would definitely wait until Spring. Our route worked out 88 miles in total, about 44-45 miles each day, but they were tough miles and unless you start off really early, you will be riding in the dark. It was about 9 hours from we set out each morning till we finshed – and that wasn’t a lot of long lunches or breaks.

    Supplies. On the first day, with a break at Tomintoul, you can get grub/drinks there, but on the second day, there's nothing, so you need to have enough with you for the day. Shops in Braemar close at 7.30pm and don't open till 09.00 am the next day, so if you don't get there in time, you will need to have all your grub for the full day from the start. Bottom line - you need to carry a lot of food and drink to cover eventualities. :?

    Weather: you don't need me to tell you that at any time of year this can be a really exposed region with extreme and changeable weather. So you need to be equipped for the worst. At the weekend, even though the weather was great and I wanted to leave a lot of gear behind, it just was too risky, so more stuff to carry round.

    Navigation: you really will need to be hot with a map/compass and/or have a good GPS. There are many non-obvious and counterintuitive turns that if you miss you will be heading in completely the wrong direction for miles before you realise.

    Company: One of the good things about this route, but could be a down side under the wrong circumstances, is you are so away from everything. Once you are out there, you can be easily10+ miles from the nearest road or village in any direction. If something goes wrong, you could have a real problem. Best to have a mate with you, if not to help each other out in the event of a problem, you'll keep each other going when the blood sugar gets low.

    Accommodation: we stayed in the Youth Hostel in Braemar, but there are also a lot of B&Bs and some of the hotels have bunkhouses.

    Trails: mostly good surfaces, but the trail beside the Geldie Burn is a muddy nightmare in places and a rocky nightmare in others. Very heavy going after the first day and faster walking in a lot of places. There are a lot of river crossings. Many are rideable, but some are just too deep so you need to pick your way across from stone to stone or just accept you are going to get very wet. Not ideal at this time of year when you have another 4-5 hours in the saddle ahead of you. Some fantastic riding, good downhill , but you really have to work for them!! AS I said earlier a huge amount of climbing

    Scenery: What can I say? :D That's what makes it all worthwhile. Fantastic mix of mountain, moor, forest, wildlife (It was the stag rutting season and the noise was echoing all round the mountains).

    Pics - sorry no - my pack was so full I didn't room for a camera :oops: , but the memories will do me! :D

    Timings: Each day was about 9 hours from starting off to finishing, including lunch and snack breaks..If you’re an XC whippet you will be faster, but the gear you will need to have will slow you down. We left Edinburgh at 06.00 on Satyrday am, got back 11pm on Sunday. So you might want to plan the Monday off, if only to appease your other half
    :wink:

    I've packed in a lot of cautions above, but overall it was a fantastic 2 days and I would do it again in a minute! Please just make sure you take all the preparations and remeber the clocks go back this weekend! I would do some one day routes until Spring. Some of the guys at Bothy Bikes will give you good advice if you scope out a route and want to know if its do-able. If you want more details about this particular one, don't hesitate to pm me.
    You don't need eyes to see, you need vision
  • Stoo61Stoo61 Posts: 1,394
    CFS wrote:
    +1 for the Glen Einich ride, about 30Km round trip and pretty spectacular. Pretty much down hill all the way back too I think.

    I'm an ICT supporter btw. 2 points dropped on Saturday :roll:

    Aye for us. :roll:


    Myopic, thats really helpful thanks. It sounds perfect for what i'm after. I'm really quite fit now but by spring it will be easier in terms of fitness and conditions.

    Just took delivery of a book that has 30 routes outlined from the area so a day route might be done in the near future.

    Can't wait to get up there and start enjoying it. :D

    Thanks again.
  • myopicmyopic Posts: 692
    Stoo - what was the book? Might be interested in looking up a copy myself
    You don't need eyes to see, you need vision
  • ceecee Posts: 4,553
    hey stoo.

    a group of us did a big day in deeside back in may (not sure if thats still officially the cairngorms or just south....)

    we stayed in a bothy on the banks of Loch Muick and took in 3 munros, 2 munro tops, some of the grounds of balmoral castle, including the alpine lodge where the queen has picnics in the summer!.....

    The descent from the top of Carn an T-Sagairt Mor to Loch Callater was particularly magnificent!

    public photos here http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=125464&id=756407393&l=d40be08780

    I can only re-iterate the advice from myopic.....we were in the saddle for about 10 hours that day covering about 45 very hilly and difficult miles......
    but i would definately do it again!
    Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I believe in the future of the human race.

    H.G. Wells.
  • myopicmyopic Posts: 692
    Thab]nks for the link, Stoo.

    That looks like a good day out, Cee.
    You don't need eyes to see, you need vision
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