A cycle- lots of pushing up hills and feeling old. Yet a great day out in Strath Vaich and a struggle up the Corbett Carn Ban. Time for an ebike ?

Sadly I had to pull out of taking a friend John and his son up Carn Mor Dearg and Ben Nevis . I have been really lacking energy and very tired recently. I feel I let John and his son down as I had promised them a while ago. Yet I felt I had no power and maybe have got round the day but add in the journey down I know I had made the right decision.

Ever since my cycle in America I have been left with a hacking cough. I also had a bronchial problem . Added to that my Psoriasis had broken out again making exercise extremely painful.

My chest had been checked out and I have been told its just wear and tear after a lifetime of getting wet and cold on the mountains plus the odd avalanche ! Get on with it.

Yet I felt after all the poor weather the forecast looked good. I woke about it was a bit overcast but the weather was looking good in the West.

It was an easy decision so I decided to go for a bike ride. I have friends who live nearby Black Bridge just passed Garve. As I got to Garve the sun came out.

Black Bridge

I had a great catch up and it was great to see them.

We had a lazy breakfast thanks to Anne and Mark . I had been up Strath Vaich often doing the Munro’s Corbett’s and Call outs. It’s wild country. I had never cycled up it and would see how it went. The sun was out no midges and you follow the road it’s stunning scenery.

My friend Mark had an appointment in Dingwall but cycled up with me up to near the Dam.

After that I went on alone. The tarmac Road to the Dam it’s a great road used by the hydro and the Estate and of course the cattle. There are lots of lambs about enjoying the sun it’s a peaceful place. The river is nearby controlled by the dam but this is a beautiful place.


After that is an Estate track with many gates but it’s a wild area. You have views of the other side of Am Faochagach a big featureless Munro usually climbed from the other side. It’s a big long mountain but from this side you cross the bridge and head up from the Estate house Strathvaich Lodge .

Crossing the river

Mark left me at the ford in the river and then a muddy track back to the main Estate track on the other side. It was a muddy push up a wee hill.

Loch Vaich

From here the track follows Loch Vaich up the Glen. It seemed to go on for ever. Most wee hills I cycled but them it was a get of and push. The only wagon I saw was the Estate one at one of the many gates. I stopped often the views opening the vastness the hidden side of the hill and the odd deer watching. It was hard going and I nearly turned back I was running on empty. I was glad I was not on the hill and took my time. I was soon past the Loch looking at the few buildings that once folk lived in.

Here I stopped for lunch the midges came out but I enjoyed my Jam butties and a drink.

Then the track goes round to Gleann Beag I pushed my bike up

here. Then it was mainly down hill to the big bridge. I met two cyclist on the hill as I descended they were so strong and powerful

I felt a real wimp.

It was then head up the hill to the Corbett Carn Ban . I left my spare battery on my bike so got no photos as my phone died. I had wanted to see Seanna Bhraigh and it’s magnificent Corries. I have climbed camped Bothied here often it’s some place.

My Corbett was a slow process only about 3k from the track yet I was so slow. I just took my time and got there eventually lots of stops. Great views of Beinn Dearg it still has snow on it looking regal. My hill It’s a featureless hill that seemed to be never ending just one foot in front of the other. I was glad that there was no one with me to see my puny efforts . The hill was empty despite the Bank Holiday and I saw no one yet the views energised me.

Time was moving so I headed down it’s so much easier. Had a few treats like dates to renew my energy and got back to the bike and my phone charger. I cycled a bit and pushed the bike up the hill. Then it was down the track in the sun occasionally pushing stopping but though so tired it was great to be in these hills again.

I was soon following the Loch and took the higher track met two posh cars from the big house going out fishing! Then another muddy track to the tarmac road the cattle sheep and lambs sitting in the sun. I was soon back at Mark and Annes fir tea. Mark had bought a new ebike I was envious in my exhaustion.

Rubbing stick

After great hospitality I headed home.

It took a day to recover and had an easy day. Made a few decisions:

I must sell my racing bike and look for an ebike and maybe a call to the doctor to get a check up.

Please do not say it’s old age! My sister tells me that.

Note – I love being alone on the hill. I find I do not hold anyone back and leave my plans with friends so if anything happens they at least have a plan where I am .

Getting old is not easy:, years ago I would have done 5 Munro’s and that Corbett in a long day!

That’s the past. I am still loving being out on the wild places seeing the great hills at a slower speed.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Corbetts and other hills, Enviroment, Friends, Mountain Biking, Mountaineering, Weather, Well being, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to A cycle- lots of pushing up hills and feeling old. Yet a great day out in Strath Vaich and a struggle up the Corbett Carn Ban. Time for an ebike ?

  1. You are looking fit and healthy Heavy! Looks like a super day! Wishing you self passage!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alan says:

    Hey you’re just a spring chicken compared to me but I know what you mean. My theory is that gravity is pulling the hills up making them steeper!! BUT I’ve now got an E-Bike and it’s like someone towing you along. Highly recommended. Hope the visit to the doc goes well and hope that the E bike purchase is imminent.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Chris McQuigg says:

    Know something of how you may feel. As I got older, I got more tired & less energetic even though I expect the energy of a much younger man.

    Hope you get sorted soon.
    Enjoy your blogs.

    Good luck

    Liked by 1 person

  4. xmetman says:

    Do you ever worry that your bike might be gone when you get back?
    I remember hiding my rucksack and then having to do an extensive search before I found it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ian Jones says:

    Hi Heavy I have resorted to an ebike, but still feel it is “cheating”. I have a Boardman “Gravel bike” good on the roads as well as estate tracks, forest roads etc. The motor and the battery can be removed and then it can be ridden like a “normal” bike but 4kg lighter. Not cheap though but worth the money if it gets you out and about without feeling knackered all the time.

    Liked by 2 people

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