I had a pal wanting to go out Mountain Biking and was staying near Glenmore despite the big weekend of the “Thunder in the Glen” at Aviemore. This involves the famous Harley Davidson’s were in Aviemore to celebrate the 20 years of their visiting the area. All these years ago I was in Aviemore on that weekend and there was a bit of a worry but now it is a great weekend and brings on Millions to the local economy. I left early to beat the traffic and took the back roads via Nethy Bridge there was little traffic on these roads, Glenmore was busy where I waited for “Taff” John Harries in his sleek camper van at the Squirrel cafe. The campsite was full up with holiday makers and bikers and I had a bacon roll and tea before Taff arrived and was ready to go.
I had wanted to cycle into Gleann Eanaich for a while so that was the decision we made and we left the cars at Rothiemurrcus where we met the Guru of the Cairngorms” Ray Sefton” Taff worked for Ray and they had a quick catch up as Ray was working. It was then park the cars, gets the bikes off and head off. I am fairly new to Mountain biking and had left my helmet at home and felt so vulnerable, never again but what a great day.
It was a long way to the big Loch at Glean Eanaich and we had lots of stops it was the second time I had cycled in this way before another time on Brairaich about 10 years ago. The memory was pretty vague and its still seems a long way and into the trip we missed the sign and took the high track by mistake.
Occasionally we met a few midges and the skies darkened but it was a great day and the views were great. We met a German couple on bikes and she told me she hates mountain biking and we had a laugh. Her husband said my seat was too low so with some effort I put it up but Taff was ahead of me on the hills. The gears were slipping a bit on my bike so will need another check at the cycle shop. The track was fine and in great condition as the Estate use it a lot and we passed some of their vehicles out shooting. It’s a fair way to the head of the Loch about 13 kilometers so we took it easy and had a few stops, getting views of this hidden side of the Cairngorms.
Further along the track after we had followed the steep track by mistake we crossed a few burns nearly getting our feet wet. I was a bit behind when I met two people on the track, I recognised them one away. They both had huge packs and were looking like they had been out all night.
We had a great catch up and Taff was away in the distance Ray said they had camped overnight and walked in to swim/dive one of Scotland’s highest lochs and had a great adventure. Ray was as always full of life and telling how clear the water was in the high loch, crazy guys with big sacks. I left them to a long walk out but it is amazing who you meet in the hills.
After this it was a rush to catch Taff who waited at the river crossing enjoying my attempt to cycle it and then the midges hit on the last mile to the Loch. The great cliffs of Sgoran Dudh Mor that rise above the loch are impressive and I have only been here a few times. In winter this is an Alpine setting and on the other side is the huge corries of Braeriach few climb it from this side and it can be a wild place. The midges were crazy the breeze had dropped and it was awful a quick photo and then away no time for many photos or a rest.
We battered back coughing and inhaling the swarms of midges it was an awful 30 minutes till we stopped for a quick break. They were still about so off we went again and a short drink and then we hit the proper track by the river and had an interesting time on it. I did feel vulnerable without my helmet and took care.
Lots of lessons learned, where can I buy Bull handlebars? They may help ?
We caught up with Ray and his mate the big bags and the midges were still there for them, we had another catch up and them headed off. Thanks goodness the midges seemed to settle and we were soon heading home. We had a brew and then headed off home to get the midges out of our clothes and hair.
There were lots of Harley Davidsons with the big Festival in Aviemore about and even though I took the back roads, I saw hundreds of them a great sight. It was home stop to clean the bike at the car wash and then get a shower and those midges off me.
Off Coasteering on Monday ? Crazy days ahead.