For a long time I've had a desire to do a Cairgorm tour on the mountain bike and being a bit of a weather forecast watcher I decided this week looked good.
I chose Braemar as the start point (I thought it would be slightly less driving) with Aviemore and Tomintoul as stop off points.
Drove up Monday morning early and got started by 10am, I'd only gone 1/2 a mile before I was drawn into a local Braemar cafe for coffee and cake, the early rise was my excuse.
Road to Linn of Dee is a nice warm up with some lovely views, from there its an easy track a long way past White Bridge but I'm glad the ground was dry because the bit from Geldie Lodge to Glen Feshie is nothing wonderful. It has been 'improved' for walkers so there are these large stepping stones to bunny hop between, what a pain, sometime literally!
The descent down Glen Feshie was fabulous lots of lovely singletrack. I kept off the big track lower down and got some extra marvelous singletrack as a reward.
To keep off tarmac I kept on the east side of the Glen to Achlean, Inchreach Forest, Lochan Eilein Inverdruie and Aviemore Youth Hostel.
A good long day Glen Feshie and Inchrach are a dream!
From Aviemore I kept away from the tarmac by retracing my route to Lochan Eilein and following the lovely trails through Rothiemurchas south of Loch Morlich.
There were groups of youngsters out on bikes and canoing on the loch, walkers all the way to Ryvoan Bothy but after that it all got quiet.
I chose to go down to the River Nethy ford and crossed the river barefoot, a bit of a painfull experience. I'd think my foot was on a nice comfy flat stone, put my weight on it and it would slip of onto something extremely uncomfortable. Not so easy with a bike on my shoulder.
Eag Mhor was a bit of a disappointment, not as much singletrack as I'd hoped, but would be much better in the opposite direction.
Stayed at Glen Avon Hotel in Tomintoul for the night, and watched The Bourne Supremacy for the third time while relaxing with a glass of wine.
A nice light breakafast set me up for the last leg back to Breamar lots and lots of landrover track but with a nice bit of singletrack by Loch Builg and a final massive downhill run to Braemar.
I also broke my derailluer clean off and had to shorten the chain to make any pedalling progress. I took the chain off completely for the rough downhills to keep it from wrapping itself around my back wheel and destroying that as well!
What do I think of the Cairgorm Circuit? Well its epic, its scenic, it doesn't have a lot of singletrack, but it is undoubtedly worth doing if you like big country landrover tracks, and then there's lovely Glen Feshie, Inchriach, Rothiemurchus.....YES it was worth my efforts, don't know if it worth yours though, its your decision after all!View the video here.
I'm working on a route description and maps preview it here.
Just plotted the route on Anquet Maps statistics are
Day1 Braemar-Aviemore 62Km 1374m climb.
Day2 Aviemore-Tomintoul 43km 1264m climb
Day3 Tomintoul-Braemar 37km 1245m climb
Total 142km 3883m climb
So it gets easier each day....mmm don't remember it that way!