Touring Scotland

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  • Cool, I have taken on board all of the valuable comments above and tweaked the route accordingly, I think.

    Then I added a totally stupid part over the Lakes.. Will come back to it to assess how stupid it actually is

  • that last photo is from the carrick forest drive road ( between the nic o' balloch and loch doon castle - it is on the faultline trail route. it's quite a detour from your current route though. maybe save it for another trip... can def recommend the riding down in this part of scotland to others though

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  • I’m sure you’re well aware but just in case: the section from Fort Augustus to Killin has nowhere to source food unless you stop in Corrour Station House. You’ll also be doing the Corrieyairack Pass (the hard way) so be sure to stock up on snacks!

  • I knew none of that. This trip only materialised itself a week ago!
    I usually carry 2/3 days of emergency food with me regardless, just in case I change route on the fly or want to wander off/stop somewhere, but I will add those considerations! Keep em coming!

    Actually, if anyone based up north wants to join me for a few legs of the route I wouldn't mind company!

  • Also, how likely are Bothys to be still closed at the beginning of June?

  • Very likely to be open but you should always carry a bivvy/tent in case they are full when you arrive!

  • Very likely to be open

    This is a fantastic news, I was getting the opposite vibe.

    always carry a bivvy/tent

    That was always going to be the plan, but if Bothys are open I might ditch the tent in favour of a bivvy to stay lighter

  • I rode the Second City Divide back in 2018. It's a great route and as referenced up-thread there are some quiet tarmac sections but definitely worth it for the trails they link. One spot to look out for is the "infamous cut through" which makes it look like the trail runs through impassable forest - but persevere and trust the GPX as there is a way through (­?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link)­r-2018-beta-edition

  • For Lakes, you can ride up the mine track from Mosedale (little cafe here in a barn, which is probably gonna be open, its good and they will happily fill water/tea flasks up if asked nicely), straight over to the former youth hostel at Skiddaw house (you ride past it after doing a circuit to the north). Either TBH, the road around it is nice, (used to live on it) and the scenary quite different from the lakes that most people know, much more rugged and harsh in winter, then you've got a short steep loose gravel ramp up toward the hostel, but its a wide track, always busy, you'll have done much much harder bits of riding in Sutherland and Assyant areas.

    The bit south of Keswick past the stone circle and then on the tourist track (can never remember what its called, but its super busy in summer always) is fine, and ascent of Helveylln is not to be missed, you'll be pushing and carrying a fair bit as its reinforced steps a lot of of the way, and strenched out the rest (thousands per weekend in summer do it). Its a crazy nice bit of hill to try and get up/ride down though. High street the same, think your going up the steep carry/step section, then riding down the shallower grade which is mostly fast, loose and fun.

  • Both last two posts are invaluable knowledge, thanks heaps!

    "infamous cut through"

    Will make note of that

    ascent of Helveylln
    High street

    It sounds like both ridges should be douable on a drop bar with 45c tyres then. I am fully aware it is MTB territory but I am glad to be going up the hard way and come down the fun way. If the weather sucks I can always stay in the valleys.

  • Someone I know who's quite involved in the MBA has been saying not until Scottish guidance allows multiple households to mix inside with no social distancing etc. Keep an eye on the MBA website for updates.

    I have a feeling that when they do open there will be a busy period with all the "beers in front of the fire" brigade desperate to get back into bothies ASAP.

  • "beers in front of the fire" brigade desperate to get back into bothies ASAP.

    I'm curious about this slight and the connotation around it

  • I feel rather attacked!

  • I mean, it seems pretty good...

  • I guess if the inference is that folk are using the bothies for fires and beers (maybe driving out with this as express purpose) rather than a rest-stop on walks etc that would be annoying for those trying to rely on a place to sleep over a multi-day hike. But don't blame the fireside beers....

  • The MBA says not to visit bothies, however none of the ones that I have visited in the last few months have been locked (as was suggested they would have been on the MBA website).

    But as @gillies days, best take a bivvy.

  • To be fair some of the "beers round the fire" types are the very people who volunteer their time and effort to maintain bothies (I know a few maintenance organisers and have attended a few work parties myself) and bothy culture has always included the social nights, not just using them on multi day hikes.
    But those which are more easily accessible are more likely to be busy with the "walk in just to stay the night and walk out again" brigade, especially at weekends and judging by the constant posts on facebook asking if they're open yet I can see some of the more popular huts being busy once the MBA give the go-ahead.
    I've spent around 50 nights in around 30 different bothies and so far have only had one experience soured by tossers, this was in a bothy that was less than an hour's walk from the road.

  • The vast majority of users are sound, like with anything. Only ever had one un-easy night, maybe used around 15-20 of them for around 50 nights over 10 years, was two central Scottish guys who had effectively driven 5 miles up a forestry track in order to transport an entire VW golf's worth of beer and fishing gear to have a multi-day bender. Gave the impression they were going to knife you in your sleep, but were actually totally sound, just don't feel any single female travelers would have stayed inside with the way they were going on.
    Haven't used any in past 18 months, but been past a few and they've been open, though a firm notice on the door that basically says 'don't use unless its an emergency'.

    You can get most places on a bike like that, just on the dry but looser stuff you'll be cooking your brakes and getting arm/hand spasm's from all the braking and holding on rather than full gas mtb type enjoyment. Quite a few places where you'll have to stop and clamber down a small drop off, so long as you don't do it at night and have solid brakes/sense of self saving, you'll be fine!
    Defo pack a few spare brake pads though

  • Defo pack a few spare brake pads though

    Always! Two sets this time I guess

  • Scotland (above and beyond what you'd need in rest of UK) camping must haves, missing anything? Cheers
    -midge net (for tent)
    -midge repellent
    -waterproof trousers/trousers (ticks)

  • Tick removal tool.

  • I'd also add: colder weather gear if you're going high up. On a day in spring or early summer when it's 20 degrees at sea level it can easily be freezing above 500m or so. Today it's light jacket weather in Glasgow but Cairngorm looks like this:­1389522742077186048

  • I am convinced that while the weather may be anything from blazing sunshine to sideways rain, Scotland will in fact, never be warm again. Just ain't happening.

  • We had our fill of sun and now it's back to winter just in time for outdoor things to open up again

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Touring Scotland

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