Ben Alder. The Full Monty .
This ride seems to have replaced my annual Fealar Lodge circuit in the last few years and although similar in length this ride is a much more interesting and entertaining one as its mostly on singletrack as opposed to Landy tracks.. The forecast had changed from rain showers during the week to hot sunshine on the Sunday, so we were all hoping for a breeze on the ride down Loch Ericht and this turned out to be the case. I was sporting a knee injury and keeping my fingers firmly crossed that it wouldn’t get any worse during the ride. Thankfully it was OK apart from the climb from Ben Alder Cottage where I toiled and grimaced my way up the singletrack with a throbbing knee and tight hamstring directly behind it…. but it did improve after that. The descent from the Bealach Dubh was a hoot as usual with Andy suffering a burping tyre just before Culra bothy and everyone seemed to enjoy it. 33 miles, 3500 ft of ascent and 4.50 hours riding time meant that its still a fair aul day in the hills and the blistering heat certainly made it feel tougher than it actually is. Thankfully no Midgies were encountered but their big bloody cousins (The Clegs) were out in force especially at Ben Alder Cottage and they rudely interrupted our well earned break biting exposed skin and piercing tops with their lances. . Summary…. A truly magnificent big mountain ride with 20 odd miles of singletrack and enough technicalities to keep it interesting….and as usual we never seen one single mountain biker on the entire route. Mind and bring you climbing legs and plenty of water with you though especially in the very hot conditions that we experienced on the Sunday.
The start of a hot Blue day.
First photo stop at the McCooks sign.
The estate has built convenient bridges and drainage ditches all along Loch Ericht side.
Stunning scenery on the outward leg.
The boys have a mini break at a small waterslide.
Some cracking pieces of trail the further along you get.
The difficult hikey bikey section before Ben Alder Cottage.
Dropping down some slabs. Teamwork pays dividends here.
Photo by Tam.
Tam keeping a watchful eye.
A welcome break interrupted by pesky Clegs.
Baking hot by this time.
The bikes have worked harder than Spanish Donkeys.
Tam, Arthur, Andy, Kenny, Scott, Me and Joss. Photo by a stranger.
Pic by Tam.
Arthur overshadowed by Lancet Edge.