"tremendous wilds… fearful in their grandeur and amazing solitude." - Charles Dickens describes Glen Coe.
After an initial climb we descend on fast and rocky singletrack. Rock bars, stream crossings, loose rock and slabs all present difficulty and you’ll need to be super smooth to ride this terrain quickly! After our descent we easily gain a Loch and have lunch on the beach – hopefully in the Sun! Descending from the Loch is long, technical and physical – but is undoubtedly one of the best trails in the UK! After an hour of descending we meet the van where we gain height using a short uplift, before climbing steadily for another 20 minutes and enjoy a final, rocky and descent. Tonight we stay near Fort William - the iconic UCI World Cup Venue.
Starting the day with a hearty full Scottish breakfast - we set off towards Glen Affric passing Loch Ness as we drive. We start riding by traversing high above Loch Affric - one of the most beautiful Loch's in Scotland. After some fireroad and some easy singletrack climbing later we are faced with an impasse - breached by a tiny "window" - we climb steeply and the view to the coast reveals itself suddenly. The long descent today weaves through the huge pinnacles that define this part of Scotland. It’s epic, remote and technical – warming us up well for the riding that awaits us in Torridon the next day. After our ride, we continue north on spectacular back-roads to Torridon and our Loch Side accomodation.
Today we ride a huge mountain loop in Torridon – straight out of the hotel we start climbing, and it takes a bit of hard work to get to the top – but once we get there we enjoy views over the entire North Western Highlands. Enjoying what is arguably the best descent in the whole of the UK we end up descending into a remote valley a long way from our start point. Luckily, between us and a warm log fire is plenty of great singletrack. Our day culminates with a huge, rocky and fast descent straight back to our cosy hotel.
Riding again out of our hotel to enjoy another fantastic loop in the Torridon area, initially we cover ground pedalling easily along a beautiful Loch – gradually the signs of the fish farming industry disappear and we gain height (and views) by pedalling around the hulking mass of yet another imposing mountain. At the high point we enjoy fantastic views out over the Torridon Hills and beyond before embarking on our last descent of the trip, rocky, technical and unusually for this part of the world – we reach the forested hillside below and have some loamy turns in the forest before arriving back at our hotel. We finish today’s riding a little earlier to give us plenty of time to zip down to Aviemore.
Today has some of the best singletrack of the trip - it's largely woodland trails which flow perfectly and there is plenty of challenging climbing and descending to keep you on your toes!
True wilderness riding today - We ascend the Cairngorm Mountain Plateau and descend from 4000ft entirely on rocky, technical singletrack - considered by many (including us) to be the best descent in the UK. We are truly in the remote heart of the National Park today. We finish near Braemar in Royal Deeside and drive back to Central Scotland.