Mountain biking in the

Mountain biking Fort William Highland


Wilderness Scotland guide Tim Francis from the coast of Loch Linnhe.Wilderness Scotland guide Tim Francis in the coast of Loch Linnhe

And me? I’m here to evaluate it as a long-distance hill bicycle path since, with a few current improvements and new parts, its showing hugely well-known – 24, 573 individuals finished the path in 2014, based on Scottish government figures. But then, Britain has a lot more than 1, 600 long-distance paths, and most tend to be overgrown and unloved. What makes this path such a success?

I’m maybe not a mountain biker and I also require a mild introduction towards art. The previous night I’d gone with Tim into Witch’s trail, the site worldwide Mountain bicycle downhill tournament. Here i ran across that operating a full-suspension cycle with fat tyres is nothing like a road bicycle. On a road cycle, 117km disappears with general simplicity. On steep mountains, you stay and pedal harder. If there is gravel, you eliminate it. Today I can’t avoid the gravel as well as on hills when I stand to pedal harder, a corner wheel slips and I also fall-off. This may be a lengthy 2 days.

On Witch’s trail near Fort William with Ben Nevis behind

The first couple of hours tend to be simple adequate. Tim and I slip through Fort William and along the shores of Loch Linnhe, where I’d spotted a sea otter the evening before, after that simply take a diverse towpath alongside the Caledonian channel. At Gairlochy, we cross the canal before joining a soft pine-needle path that swings right down to the shores of Loch Lochy, among lakes that Thomas Telford regularly sneak their waterway across Scotland. Away to the right, the views of Ben Nevis are magnificent and banking institutions of primroses line the course. At Laggan Locks, we consume lunch regarding Eagle, a barge-cum-cafe.

Near Fort William with Ben Nevis behind Crossing the bridge at Invermoriston

After lunch, we tackle initial difficult rise out-of Invergarry and I also manage to hold my chair, tilting forward. “Blow on wheel!” Tim shouts. I’m nearly kissing it, wishing I experiencedn’t had that 2nd Tunnock’s teacake. Nevertheless climb relents and we also tend to be soon swooping down to Bridge of Oich, then across the canal into Fort Augustus. Day One is total. It’s already been 59km and, to my surprise, 512 metres of climbing. We stay on Lovat resort, which I’d suggest because of its alcohol selection alone. Tim watches myself drinking: “It may be steep the next day.”

The ancient Caledonian forest forms the main path

Very nearly instantly, the course rears up to lungbuster steepness. Pine cones speckle the track like discarded sausages and my haggis turbo fails to start working. I go.

I order haggis for dinner. After that early morning, We have haggis for break fast. When I get back on my bike, the suspension system groans

Crossing the bridge at Invermoriston

Not surprisingly start, Im quickly revelling inside time: the golden shafts of sunshine on mossy atolls of this woodland floor, the lengthy swathes of primroses, and also the flicker of light on a running deer’s right back. I’m improving at managing my body weight in the climbs: maintaining my backside back but chest forward and low.

Ahead of the descent into Drumnadrochit, we pause at Grotaig pottery and cafe, a good spot for a break. This area feels increasingly alternative and quirky. We satisfy several driving two calves across the road. “Their moms refused them, so today they’re the main family.” And there is a lovely trackside, self-service cafe in a hobbity shelter with home-made cakes in baskets.

I’m just starting to hope that people might spot a crazy haggis, the creature is rumoured to call home here. In the event that you don’t think, there's one – appropriately stuffed – in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum.

The Caledonian Canal at Neptunes Staircase locks near Fort William

After Drumnadrochit, we climb higher into a forest which was when home to wolf, bear, moose and lynx, the good news is all that remains are some marvelous remnants of the Caledonian woodland, in fact a rather open woodland of gnarled Scots pines.

Just like we hit exactly what feels like the remotest, wildest area, we begin to see hand-painted indications: Bovril, hot coffee, fresh eggs, and we also cycle into Sandra Dee’s eccentric cafe, miles from resources eg piped water and electrical energy. There's camping, too, but after a short break we hit on and roll downhill, finally, into Inverness and our complete point under the skirts of Flora MacDonald, the bronze statue that is outside Inverness Castle. Day Two had been 64km plus 1, 300 metres climbed.

Journey’s end … Inverness Castle as well as the statue of Flora MacDonald

So what does make outstanding long-distance path? I might say selection of landscape with a few panoramic shows – and people views only include climbs. Then the sorts of individuals you satisfy – although some might like the individual pleasures of the forgotten paths. Last but not least, needless to say, the standard of the foodstuff and beverage, specially the haggis. The truly amazing Glen Way passes most of the examinations.

• The trip ended up being supplied by Wilderness Scotland (01479 420 020, wildernesssscotland.com) that offers a five-night hill cycling journey across Scotland, ingesting the fantastic Glen Way, for £995pp

The old Caledonian woodland forms an element of the route The Caledonian Canal at Neptunes Staircase hair near Fort William


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