Nearest Town – Newtonmore
Distance – 21 miles with 850m of ascent
Terrain – Varied
Difficulty – Moderate to Hard
It’s where Moncarch of the Glen lives.
Start at the Ardverikie Estate House gate, on the road about a mile down from Laggan Wolftrax. It looks like this and there is a small layby right next to it good for parking. Cross over the bridge and follow the tarmac road.
On this road you will come to a strange sight. A beach on a land locked Loch. This is Loch Laggan. Continue on the tarmac road until you can turn left onto some land rover tracks that climb up away from the loch. I pretty sure that there is some logging or something that is going on. Signs tell you to stop or watch out or something, just keep going, following the tracks. You will head back down towards the River Pattack and a gate. Turn right and head off along the banks of the river which is a scenic river in itself. Carry straight on, a wall and metal fence will appear on both sides of the trail, take a look over the fence for a nice bit of rapid water. The scenery opens out in front of you and there is a bridge to cross the river, its falling apart but is stable.
From here on the path was wet and boggy but it may dry out at some times of the year. Its singletrack and eventually brings you to the banks of Loch Pattack. A fork comes at the edge of the loch, take a right and ride along the shore of the loch. Voila..
You will then need to cross a tributary river, but the easiest option is obvious…if a little precarious.. Shortly after you come off from the side of the Loch the track forks again, keep right and climb ovver the ridge. Glorious single track whips off into the distance, follow the main route you can see.
The dissapointing thing is that you can fire off down this single track for a few miles but you will be going the wrong way. I suggest you do it anyway, you will have to come back but thats just as fun. Its trully astonishing natural riding. You will need to bunny hop drain kerb things and kick in with the power as the path undulates. Its great. So yeah…turn round and head back, enjoy it again.
This bit gets a bit weird, you have to cross the river, it was deep when I went but will be lower during summer months. There is no obvious route that you spot. It took me ages to find the right trail after the river but its there…unfortunately its not great.
Again it was wet season when I was there so it may be rideable in summer. The single track makes its way across boggy land. I had to push the whole way but its not gradient or anything just surface. Eventually the tracks becomes a bit more solid and rocky as it skirts the high and steep ridge above Loch a’Bhealaich Leamhain, its trully the most remote loch ive ever seen, there was no visable trails to the banks of it. Also, the stags were making a hell of a racket and a heard of wild deer streaked across the path ahead, a real Scottish adventure.
More climbing and pushing gets you to the summit of the route and AWESOME views all around.
So its time to get back down, head down the trail and head left at the fork. Its fairly well surfaced with areas of loose rocks to keep you on your toes, its steep too and you get some real speed up. Brakes will be red hot. There is some stream crossings that you can blast through. You will eventually come the banks of yet another loch, Lochan na h-Earba.
So all the climbing is done but the views that you get while the sun bursts through the clouds and bounces off the mountain slopes is breathtaking. Follow the landrover tracks along the edge of the loch and come to the wooded area, make your way past the various gates and obstacles blast through the trees and to the far end of Loch Laggan and the estate house, which may be familiar if you ever watched tele at your granny’s hoose. (Can you believe this is a private residence?!)
Follow the estate road back to the beach and head back to your motor. If you have any energy left, hit Laggan Wolftrax.
This is proper wilderness riding, you need to tell someone where you are going and your estimated times etc. There are areas in which a real emergency could unfold if you arent careful. Use yer heed, dont try and cross rivers that are too deep and fast moving.
Also, the stag culling season is probably one to avoid lest ye be shot in the arse by a hunter.
I went on an overcast and rainy day and was blown away by the sights, it would be ridiculous on a clear sunny day.
Submitted By TrailScotland member – Stuart Meldrum
Filed Under: Natural Northern Trails