The Capel Mounth

After the Glen Tilt ride we decided to do another classic and head for Glen Clova and the Capel Mounth. 24Km with 1000m of climbing promised to be a classic. We have been back since and ridden the route from the Ballater end and Loch Muick. My preference would be to start from the Ballater end as it is easier to get to than driving into Glen Clova. Saying that if you don't mind the drive it is a stunning drive into the Glen.

We parked at the visitors centre and had a cup of tea before getting the bikes and kit ready for the ride. The car park started to fill up with keen walkers. The weather was forecast to be really windy and given the remoteness and height of the route we had reservations. However we rely on our good sense to have a go and turn back if needed.

The ride up the glen was stunning with plenty to keep you entertained. The track was well worn and followed the river all the way.

Towards the top of the glen once you cross the river the track turns to technical climbing, rideable and testing.

As you approach the trees at the top of the glen you cross a wooden bridge which was a great place for a bar break. The track becomes very technical and steep so a bit of hike a bike was needed.

The track winds through the trees before crossing the river once again (it is more like a gorge) and climbing out onto the mountain side.

The view back down Glen Clova is stunning and takes your mind off the hard work! A well maintained path soon eases to become rideable singletrack. 

A track junction soon appears and we head right to Sanny's Seat for another bar break. The surface is now a well maintained land rover track. At this point the wind was starting to strengthen hitting us from the side.

An undulating path takes us on a ridgeline heading for Loch Muick. The view opens up and we are greeted with excellent riding and views to compliment. My only issue was the wind which at one point blew me off the trail much to H's amusement. This was enough of a warning for me so I hopped off to run to shelter. I was not the only one as we passed a wind blown group of walkers doing the same. This is where a carbon bike does not help!
Loch Muick making an appearance

The beauty of the Cairngorms

Just about staying on my bike at this point

This route was very easy to navigate around due to the well worn paths and key features to work off (Loch Muick!). It was possible to see the descent stretch out in front of us. The trail becomes much more steeper and looser. The most difficult part of the descent was taking your eyes of the incredible view that stretched out in front of you.

At the bottom the route meets the main trail that runs around the loch. Smiles all around we soon found ourselves at the start of the next climb at the far end of the loch. We were to climb back over the Capel Mounth to drop into Glen Clova.

The climb was one that was all rideable but would test the legs and mind! The track was well surfaced but at times your tyres sunk into the gravely stuff on the trail. I always challenge myself to ride every rideable climb and if my foot goes down then its back to the bottom, judging by the length of this climb the bottom was the last place I wanted to go so concentration was needed at all times!

The track soon levels out and undulates for quite a while. It was one of those where you thought you were nearly at the top but it soon became another false summit. We were just grateful we were on a bike! However the hard work was soon rewarded. The descent to Glen Clova was some of the best riding we had ever done!

The descent starts with a grassy track and turns into quite technical singletrack.

The felling at the end of the route has added to the challenge of the riding! It was awesome with views to match! 

Once at the bottom you meet the track from the visitor centre. Following this back was a great warm down and a chance to discuss the fantastic ride we had just had! This was one of those rides you would do time and time again. Awesome! 

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