Mountain Biking Torridon - May 2010

The final descent into Loch Torridon
Taking advantage of the bank holiday weekend, we took a trip up to Scotland leaving the boat at home but taking the bikes.
We did the journey in one go, after leaving from Cumbria and arrived at Kinlochewe Caravan Park pretty late. Having brought the 'Scotland Mountain Biking Book' we were all ready to go with two routes in mind.

The first route was the Torridon Circuit and according to the book "This stunning route takes in some of the best wilderness singletrack Scotland has to offer in some of the most spectacular landscapes you are likely to encounter anywhere." With a tough and committing route also quoted, we knew we were in for a day to remember!

We parked at the car park at Glen Torridon - this was the only place where we encountered midgies on the entire route - not bad for Scotland in May!

Once ready, we headed back along the road we had just travelled towards Kinlochewe, a good warm up with lots of lovely views.

The initial road warm up

After around 5km we then took a right turn onto a track towards Coulin Lodge - the start of the wilderness feeling! A quick bar stop - saw us passed by a man and a woman on their bikes. The man stopped to ask us our route - which Kath gave him a comprehensive route plan to which he replied 'we're planning on that - but I don't have a map, never use them and we always get lost!'. We'll see you later, we thought!

Checking the map with Loch Clair behind

The next part of the ride got onto Singletrack and was steady

The climb up the Coulin Pass was gentle and on nice tracks so it still felt like a warm up and knowing that this was 'a tough and committing route, suitable for well prepared and experienced riders' we made sure we were not lulled into a false sense of security!
We passed a number of walkers on here - now that is a wilderness walk! So glad we were on the bikes!!

Looking towards Loch Dughaill

A quick bite to eat at the top of the pass and then it was a descent towards Achnashellach. The route took us through some forestry tracks - and with diversion signs trying to take us off the route we had a decision to make. As it was a bank holiday weekend we decided that they wouldn't be working, so we made a bandit run and ignored the signs - very glad too as the diversion would have been a steep and very technical path which would have dropped us a long way off the route!

We were rewarded with great views down Strathcarron, and a quick descent.
Once down to Achnashellach, we crossed the railway line just before a train came along - very good timing!! We then jumped on the road and headed West along Loch Dughaill to Coulags. We then took a right turn just after the village back onto singletrack.

The start of the singletrack climb after turning right at Coulags

The singletrack was technical, narrow and boggy in places with plenty of scenery to keep our minds off the climb!

Glad we didn't have to get our feet wet crossing this river!

It was a great feeling when we got to Coire Fionnaraich (photo right) - but there was still the tough climb to Bealach na Lice to remind us how small we are compared to the mountains!

The last slog up to the top was very narrow in places with the track eroded (not surprising considering the weather in these parts!)

Once over the top - it was a gentle undulating track to the large boulders and the view was well worth the effort - and also knowing it was downhill all the way to the camper!

Just before the start of the descent we had a little time to take it all in and get ready for the descent - which according to the book 'The descent to Annat is one of the best you'll find anywhere'. True to its word - it did not disappoint!

The descent was gravelly singletrack and included riding over rock slabs, getting feet wet through burns while in some of the best scenery we have ever ridden in!!

Drainage ditches on the route down meant we had to keep our speed steady, ready to hop over the gaps in the track. But this didn't dampen the spirits as it meant more time to take in the spectacular view......

By the time we got to the bottom, the smiles couldn't be taken off our faces - and from Annat it was a steady road ride back to the camper - a great warm down to end a great day!

Stats: Distance 46km / Total ascent: 1100m 
Once back at the camper - it was a quick depart to Skye for round 2 tomorrow!!

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