Bikes – midges – off Route – bike gear snags – great views – down hill – an Eagle – midges – jet boiler – cramp – home.
I was away early to collect Bab’s at 0600 and get bikes in van and head down to Rannoch. It’s a two and a half drive to Rannoch but so worth the effort. The weather was superb and we were looking forward to today. We had been watching the weather and it was well worth it. It’s a great drive after the A9 and all the hills were clear. There were lots of folk camping by the Loch when we arrived! It was so still!
On arriving at the wee car park the midges were incredible. It was so busy tents everywhere by the Loch. Despite our midge nets etc it was murder getting the bikes out and getting sorted. They drove us daft we dare not hang about and the rush let us take another track cycling with Midge nets on its never easy.
We met the man at the hydro station and he said we could take a short cut to our track. That was a mistake and was hellish. We should have left from the Bridge of Ericht. We just had to get going from the dreaded midges. Our shortcut ran out and we did a direct through the jungle of ferns, a never to be forgotten experience.
How did we ended up in these ferns ? We needed machetes at one point. We were just so wound up by the midges and I was in shorts.We were “soon” back on the Hydro track after climbing a deer fence and then heading the 11 kilometres into the hill.
It’s a great track for the bike but climbs steeply to 600 metres. You need the gears to work on the bike on this route.
We made reasonable time on the road it was very hot and hard work. My gears were acting up so I had a bit of pushing on the big hills meanwhile Babs was in her low gears talking to me and laughing. She is not the winner of the “Dunphail Tour de Forres” for nothing.
The panorama of views were incredible and the bike is a wonderful way into these hills. There was no one about and we had the whole mountain to ourselves. We had a few breaks and drank lots of fluid and to see these incredible mountains emerge after lockdown was magical. We could see Ben Nevis, Carn Mor Dearg all the way to the classic iconic pyramid of Schiehallion.
Many will know that the main mountain Schiehallion is such a prominent mountain in Perth and Kinross, Scotland. Schiehallion has a rich botanical life, interesting archaeology, and a unique place in scientific history for an 18th-century experiment in “weighing the world.
There are so many outstanding views to many to name all familiar mountains from a different viewpoint. This is the joy of these Corbetts it changes as you gain height on the road. The huge Hydro Dam dominates but that is what the road is for we should be thankful ? My pal did this Corbett in winter this is a wild place in bad weather.
We left the bikes at about 600 metres just by the river and headed to the summit across what can normally be so wet and boggy moors. Today they were so dry it was easy walking. The final ridge is wonderful with views of Loch Ericht, the huge mass of Beinn Alder and Beinn Bhoil. The deep cleft of loch Ericht and the small outcrops near the summit make this such a wonderful viewpoint. I always drop back near the summit and follow the cliffs it’s incredible to see the dark Loch below.
It was breathtaking and we were soon on the summit. It was such a place to be. The huge Corries of Beinn Alder still with snow in the high Corries give an insight into another world from this lofty viewpoint. Things look so much bigger to me since Lockdown.
We could have spent the rest of the day up here it was so perfect. It was warm and still out of the wind. We had our lunch and chilled out then headed of. This like most Corbett summits is an area to savour.
It is exactly a year since we lost my big sister Eleanor. She was as always in my thoughts as I wandered to the summit. These are mountains and wild places are where I can think about things.
We were soon back down to the track a bit more fluid and it was in just an hour back at the car park. Thankfully it’s downhill on the road most of the way. The gears held out thank goodness. What a way to travel. It’s so well worth the effort with the bikes. There were very few animals about its very dry high up but we saw an eagle soaring. What a sight.
We watched it these incredible birds always brings a joy to me. It made me think again of my sister.
It was then back to the van the midges were out again. There was little time we put the bikes away and in it was so busy. We got away from the crowds and we headed further up the road into a breeze so Bab’s could use her new Jet Boiler stove. She was so pleased with it . Is there no electricity in Dunphail?
She is some girl ! The drive was pleasant and the A9 low key. It was then drop of Babs get cramp as I took the bikes out and then head home.
Nowadays I can pick my days on the hill that I want views, good weather, not busy hills and plenty of time.
This hill is Definitely worth taking the bike the road walk would have been purgatory. Now these Corbetts are in the main grand hills. The midges today were awful and of our wee diversion that’s another story ? Is it time for an ebike I think!
Thanks Babs for a fun day. Now to sort out the aches and pains.