And why would you go that way when the main trail is such a joy. Its all pretty easy excepting the crossing of the Alllt Chamhlain. There is a wee patch of woodland alongside the second of the lochs which is a good stopping point. Carry on to Loch Ericht and along the west shore. Above was the most snow recorded in a generation but only a skier or mountaineer would have realised this. More luxury accommodation - Duinish bothy. The final descent was a bit more engaging and did require an iffy river crossing but its all fairly short and soon enough your back to the Lochan Earba track. I'm not sure who did the work across the Ben Alder estate but clearly they got a different brief from what the NTS provide. All the trails are on Open Street maps too. At this point I'd not much idea what I'd be in for other than what a mate had said i.e. After the deer fence on the left stops is the boggiest bit. It was not until November 2014 that I finally did this trail, as part of a circuit from Dalwhinnie. The following morning the rain had gone and the sun was looking like making an appearance. Ben Alder Cottage - one of Scotlands top bothies. The views are fab and there is plenty of scope for bivvies. Steep rock slabs, big steps and two annoying kissing gates are the challenge. It should still be possible, but so far has defeated me! Watch your nav through the missing bit, I followed my nose from the end of the marked path and this seems to be where most people are going as when you join a wee side burn there is a path of sorts. This one has been around in various guide books for a while - it even pre-dates the path work so must have been hard going in those days. The trail then improves and you descend down to loch Beithe where the trail improves again, finally descending back down to culra on another fab built path. Ossian Youth hostel - a very lonely place but accessible by train so quite popular. As well as the above there are two through routes (well one and a half as they both start at the same point) either on the Highland Trail 550 route to Lagan or else as a means of getting into the Cairngorms via Dalwhinnie. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. One of my favourite bits is in the north eastern corner centred around Ben Alder, an 1148m hill with a few fellow munroes around it. Top of the climb looking west over to Blackwater Reservoir (the furthest away one) and the Glencoe hills. I'd thought about just doing a lap of the Lochan Earba / Loch Lagan double track but on reaching the bottom of the Bealach Leamhain trail decided to give it a go. Its about 2 miles off route. From here take the track on the east side of Loch Ossian. At the end of the loch just opposite the YH turn left on a new (in 2017) track which climbs back eastwards away from the loch. Look to your right (i.e west) and you should see the West Highland rail line crossing the desolation of Rannoch moor. Ben Alder is actually one of the most isolated peaks in all Scotland being miles from the nearest road. Its an absolute cracker of a circuit and best of all, you pass almost no civilisation (barring the odd remote house) on the whole route. There are a few that have bigger gaps but my view is that as we are in the mountains, get over it and get that front (and back) wheel airborne. Yet another blog about someones biking adventures. This small village makes for a good starting point as its easy to drive to and can be reached by train. From Dalnaspidal I left the A9 behind and headed south by Loch Garrry in the late afternoon sun. Keep straight on what is now a nice made single track. Most of Scotland’s bothies could be described as remote, but at 8.5 miles from the nearest public road, you could say Ben Alder Cottage is one of the loneliest you’ll find. It can be climbed either from either Corrour or Rannoch stations on the West Highland line. Stage 16, Tuesday 25 May 2010: Rannoch to Ben Alder Cottage, 12 miles (10 on route) My long-time walking partner Dave Travers journeyed up to Rannoch … Camusericht Lodge is situated in an elevated and private position off the main road, with southerly views over Loch Rannoch and beyond to Glen Lyon. There is a new cafe in the closed hotel which provided toasties, scone and coffee (sat outside in the sun!) Basically you carry straight up the hillside behind the cottage (there is a path marked but no single clear line on the ground) until you top out on the Bealach Breabag at 840m. This is one of several that the estate did up in about 1999, entirely at their own expense. Looking north east through the strath carrying Lochan Earba. Note that its not a hugely popular walking route as most munro baggers go up the direct route to Ben Alder. You descend a bit on a super narrow line then climb again for a short section to the Bealach Cumhann. As the slope you are crossing steepens things get more interesting but its all rideable with a modest amount of technical skill. Despite the rain the previous evening (and a generally wet summer) it was dry and stony. but really are worth a look as there and back again rides. Ben Alder Weather (Days 0-3): The weather forecast for Ben Alder is: A light covering of new snow mostly falling on Wed afternoonFreeze-thaw conditions (max 2°C on Wed afternoon, min -6°C on Tue morning)Wind will be generally light. This view was in fact one of my motivations for choosing Ben Alder on this summer’s day. Thereafter its a good doubletrack descent back to the road and your start point. I had to cash in on the unseasonably good weather so decided to head for my latest playground - the Ben Alder area. If you are determined to push through then be warned the next two hundred metres are tricky. Blair Trekking Centre Set in the grounds of Atholl Castle. Another good there and back again ride is the trail alongside Loch Ericht beyond Ben Alder Lodge. Rannoch Station is connected by road to Kinloch Rannoch. Supplies are available at Dalwhinnie from the petrol station and a small cafe that operates out of the old hotel. I bivvied here in 2018 doing this circuit as an overnighter. before the slow grind up the cycleway to Dalnaspidal. As well as great scenery there are some fabulous trails offering the full range of riding experiences. From here the gradient eases although its rough going. 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. I've done it on a fat bike and its fine so relax and enjoy the views ready for the next great trail. The plan had been to ride over Bealach Leamhain to Loch Pattack, then out to Dalwhinnie, thence to Newtonmore by NCN 7. Nice one Phil! Top tip - keep to the right until a short plank bridge, its dryer and smoother. This is the first iffy bit. Then comes the exciting bit. With Scotland’s 10th largest loch, Loch Ericht, five Munros and some of Scotland’s most pristine scenery, Ben Alder Estate’s luxury lodges are an ideal setting for truly memorable holidays. This is the Old Road to the Isles and part of an ancient right of way from central Scotland to Fort William and beyond. Mostly wide, firm but uneven gravel surface. After a short while I passed through wet snow then deeper and dryer snow overlaying some seriously wet ground. Be warned, you need all your food with you. I'd plotted a route starting and finishing at Dalwhinnie (inspired by reading other accounts on the net) and taking in Loch Garry, Loch Rannoch and Loch Ericht. It was actually drier than when I passed through here in August and presented no problems for the ICT. Riding station to station. The track runs out at the end of the loch and the marked path is another vague boggy none line. If you are doing it as a there and back again stop just before the burn when you can see the kissing gate into the dodgy section. The old lodge is also a top bivvy spot, I'm here on a tour north. Its a great train journey so whilst your up here, do it! I figured the Allt Cam would be epic given the rain we'd had so this seemed a better prospect. I've been planning to do a ride in the vast, largely uninhabited area around Ben Alder for some time. From Rannoch station, he set off on the 10-mile trek to Ben Alder, at 4,000ft one of the highest mountains in the central Highlands. Its all rideable until the last bit of the climb where the gradient will likely defeat you unless your running a 20/50 granny gear. You then pop out on a big track which is an easy pedal to a bridge over a small burn. This defile sits around 100m higher than Loch Lagan - more glaciation. The descent to the bridge is a free for all, see a line, ride the line. As usual the last mile to Ben Alder Cottage was the hardest as we struggled through the black quagmire with bikes over the shoulder. Rannoch Moor and Ben Alder (OS Explorer Map Series): Loch Rannoch by Ordnance Surve A1 edition (2007) on Amazon.com. This (roughish) track goes for about 2k before it climbs up into the hills. This was my first time south to north of the Bealach dubh trail. It was in that it didn't involve waist deep river crossings but it was hard going. I've not actually got many pics of this route, simply because I'm usually enjoying myself too much to take photos! The trail starts right at the bothy and its immediately good - a narrow gravel path winding up alongside the Allt Chaoil Rheide. The approach to the Bothy, Ben Alder Cottage involved a 14km cycle ride, from the lonely Loch Rannoch, then a few KMs hiking across a bog. For the adventurous there are a number of biking opportunities in this area and some truly classic through routes. Getting onto the Lochside trail involves a diversion away from the Lodge. Marina, Loch Rannoch Hotel Boat Hire, white rafting and canoeing. If packrafting you could do the shoreline path, that one then the track up and over to Coire Bachdaidh Lodge and then paddle back across the loch.Bob. We've done most of those tracks and circuits, just the Loch Ericht shoreline and the Allt Cam tracks to get the full set. The other main approach to Ben Alder - though it lacks the drama of the Leachas ridges - is … Her first foal Maddy was born in February 2019 and is one of the best young fillies we have ever bred. Bear right again heading for the Coille Doir-ath. Technical challenges come in the form of various burn crossings and assorted random rock features. Follow the obvious singletrack through the woods above the lodge, its sundry buildings and the underground heli pad (I kid you not!). The trail dumps you on the main Lochan Earba track. Its a quick descent but not steep. 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. Only do this if its been dry for a bit would be my advice. One dismal November day I'd driven up from home on the way up to see friends in Aviemore. Its shown on OS maps as a single track and used to be hard going in all but the driest of weather but was upgraded in 2016/17 as part of one of many micro hydro schemes that the estate has implemented hereabouts. The beach looked tempting but I had a quicksand incident here previously so stayed clear..... From Ben Alder Cottage you start on 10 miles of divine single track. So its now an easy surface which (yes) you. Covering some 68000 acres stretching from Loch Rannoch to Dalwhinnie. They also get annual maintenance! You've either got to do the above, do the equally hard Ben Alder tour or include it in one of two epic circuits (more later!) I can confirm that the "path" by the Uisge Laibhair isn't worth doing, all but unrideable. OS50: 042 (Glen Garry & Loch Rannoch) OS25: 050 (Ben Alder, Loch Ericht & Loch Laggan) OS25: 385E (Rannoch Moor & Ben Alder) OS25: 393 (Ben Alder, Loch Ericht & Loch Laggan) Notes & comments. In front of you is one of many Scottish geological marvels - a wide strath at 400m altitude running pretty much bang on 90 degrees to the main Glen Garry / Drumochter Strath. Technically its harder this way but all good stuff and there are no significant challenges. Keep going down to the end of Loch Laggan. I got to Culra Bothy around 7 and it was raining torrentially, hence me ignoring the closed signs and spending the night in the main room. Eventually the path coalesces out of the tussocks and climbs steeply up towards loch Leamhain. Take either of two left turns to take you all the way up Strath Ossian to Corrour Shooting Lodge (this is all obvious on the map). The descent down Coire Pitridh is a corker on a good stony trail. For that reason I'm not going to try to post up maps or detailed route finding notes. It took me about six and a half hours of steady going to do this. My first close encounter with these hills was in 2003 when me and two pals rode from Fort William to Newtonmore in one (for those days) long day. The magnificent Ben Alder Estate is located in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. In terms of rideability you'd maybe be better doing this the other way round as you can get up this good trail and the rough descent is all rideable. The descent is a bit marginal but a hoot on a fatbike in 6" of freshies. If you look on the map you'll note a path shown a couple of k down the glen. Nav is generally easy as you are mainly on well defined trails or following burns, rivers, glens and other generally noticeable features. There are a couple of bits that have washed into the loch and have been re-aligned but a couple of bits haven't. As a starter for ten herewith is the basic description of a 50 miler start-able from either Dalwhinnie or the west end of Loch Rannoch..... Do this clockwise and ideally start at Rannoch but it works fine from Dalwhinnie. I'll not bother describing them as the above covers all of the bits and a GPX of the HT550 is freely available. Just be sure of your river levels though! A rougher but dryer path is to the right. The sporting lodge, forming part of the surrounding Ben Alder Estate, has been refurbished to a very high standard throughout and has been running as a luxury holiday let for the last 6 years or more. Ben Alder is one of the great remote mountains of Scotland, set in the very heart of the Central Highlands. I'm not about to bang on about safety or navigation or kit choice as per normal guides because as far as I'm concerned its up to you to sort this out. Hopefully this will serve to help people get out there and enjoy the great outdoors as seen from a bike seat. Best of all, waterbars (those lines of rocks across the trail to divert surface water) are few and far between, a sure sign of a designer who knew their shit. So your next move is to reverse this. If you want food there is a good cafe at Rannoch Station as well as a Hotel. The hot tip is to stick to the middle as although this looks the worst, there is a firm base under the gloop whereas either side its bottomless. There are great views across Loch Rannoch towards Ben Alder. Other than that its a peach. You've then got 2k of bog trotting. You ride down by Loch Ericht on a motorway standard track, up past the posh lodge and over a low moor to Loch Pattack. I wasn't able to check it out so be-warned, you may have to go via Culra for this route) The worst bit of the track is just after this, thereafter it climbs away from the loch and over to the Allt Cam. The next challenge was to cross the Allt Cam which was a shoes and socks off job. Instead of the NTS standard 26" wheel swallowing cross drains, most of the ones on this trail are nice and narrow and can be ridden flat out with only the merest hint of un-weighting. Overlooking the 20-mile long narrow stretch of Loch Ericht in the Scottish Highlands, it enjoys a remoteness today which makes it a This is a top view point and should be enjoyed! A fine evening in 2018 looking west to the Glencoe hills. I'd intended to do a ride around Ben Alder but the weather looked foul so instead kept going to Loch Lagan and the car park at Feagour. You are now in the middle of the area and able to contemplate all of the views around you. However its a popular spot for D of E groups and trekkers so don't get too carried away. I did this in October '15 starting at Rannoch and it was dryer than when I did it on the above mentioned tour in the August. Its then a case of fighting your way up the bank on any likely looking line. It’s a remote bothy by the standards of the Central Highlands, concealed beneath the bulk of Ben Alder on the shores of Loch Ericht. Before this you have to cross a small burn which this day was more iffy than the Allt Cam:-. On a good day the views towards the mountains of Glen Coe and the Black Mount to the west, Schiehallion in the east, Ben Alder Forest in the north and Rannoch Forest in the south are breathtaking. Get on this as its the best route to the bridge. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. Instead, go downstream a bit and look for the track on the far bank, not shown on the map. Approaching Loch Ossian, with the huge bulk of Ben Alder in the distance: At the back of the Lodge take the path (NN413697) along the Uisge Labhair. From there, Loch Ericht can be seen almost in its entirety. With Scotland’s 10th largest loch, Loch Ericht, five Munros and some of Scotland’s most pristine scenery, Ben Alder Estate’s luxury lodges are an ideal setting for truly memorable holidays. The trick here is to ignore this as the old path it leads too is no longer used. the trail was a good one. Water is, however, in plentiful supply. Follow the double track north west until you leave the forestry and climb up to nigh on 450m. Also remember to smirk at all the suckers driving on the A9..... At Dalnaspidal lodge turn right down a double track to Loch Garry. Ben Alder Estate Dalwhinnie Inverness-shire PH19 1AE. 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