Sunday, 11 October 2015

Ben Alder Circuit from Loch Rannoch

I had to cash in on the unseasonably good weather so decided to head for my latest playground - the Ben Alder area. After a leisurely drive to Loch Rannoch I abandoned the car and headed north through the woods near the head of the loch towards Loch Ericht

Top of the climb out of Loch Rannoch looking West towards Blackwater res and the arse end of the Aonach Eagach

It had been a bit grey up until that point but then the sun came out!

Loch Ericht, Ben Alder and points north

The track runs for a few k more than what is shown on the map but eventually runs out to leave around 2 k of bog hopping....

It was actually drier than when I passed through here in August and presented no problems for the ICT. The beach looked tempting but I had a quicksand incident here previously so stayed clear.....

Ben Alder Cottage - quite a posh bothy!

From Ben Alder Cottage you start on 10 miles of divine single track. Dry and narrow with only the odd burn crossing to interupt progress and provide a wee technical challenge.

The top after about 3/4rs of an hour of steady climbing - its a great piece of landscape here with the path going through a double pass, Ben Alder on the right. The descent to Culra Bothy seemed to go on for ever.  8)

I had a wee diversion at the lodge to the loch shore via another fine piece of singletrack and then back tracked to follow the easy track to Dalwhinnie. There is a new cafe in the closed hotel which provided toasties, scone and coffee (sat outside in the sun!) before the slow grind up the cycleway to Dalnaspidal. Not exactly fat bike terrain but I've become quite proficient at dealing with headwind pavement climbs on the beast - just sit back and relax and don't try to pedal too hard.

From Dalnaspidal I left the A9 behind and headed south by Loch Garrry in the late afternoon sun. Another section of vague path / bog lead to my third bothy of the day at Duinish

One last climb followed by a gentle descent back to Loch Rannoch overlooked by Schiehallion. The Autumn colours were in full bloom - stunning!