It was the Easter Long Weekend!
We departed from the east coast of Scotland loading up on food supplies at the local Lidl in Brechin, at bargain prices, including loads of fruit & vegies, tasty dinners planned, beers, wine, dark chocolate & loads of trail snacks. We arrived in Laggan in the afternoon while the sun beamed on the hills which was incredible. We hadn’t expected Scotland to be so beautiful. The rolling hills & numerous lochs are amazing! We met our friends at the Laggan Wolftrax Centre to plan our next day which would include riding the local trails at the Wolftrax Bikepark!
Laggan Wolftrax Bikepark, is located on a Forestry Commission property close to the town of Laggan. The park consists of a network of trails which can be accessed from the carpark the main two trails are the Upper Red & Lower Red. The upper red is where we began, the climb is shared with the black trail & then tappers off with it’s own elements of difficulty & fun.
The bottom sections of the lower red trail is phenomenal with loads of rock obstacles, drops & flowy berms, it makes for a bikers dream. There is one area that they call ‘the slab’ (on the map it’s ‘Air’s Rock’) it’s a large natural granite slab rock feature which you ride down. The end of the lower red trail joins up with the end of the orange bike park flow trail.
Here is the map to all the tracks from the car park at the Laggan Wolftrax Centre; it can be found online here – http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/images/pdf/rec_pdfs/LagganWolftraxMap.pdf
After we had ticked off all the tracks at Laggan, we had the intention to find another spot to ride so we moved north to Aviemore. We stopped in town to find a local bike shop to get a few tips on the best places to ride. The most helpful was the Bothy’s Bikes, located near the Co-op on your way out of the town, the guys there really know there stuff & there is some great gear that you can hire if need be. Here’s a link to their website; http://www.bothybikes.co.uk. By the time we had worked out what we could do we decided to call it a day & venture to a loch or mountain landscape for some brews & dinner with the intention for another big biking adventure the next day.
We initially intended to park our van at the base of the ski slopes in the Coire Cas Car Park & set off on an epic bike adventure from here, however as we arrived up the mountain it was puking snow and -1 degrees celsius. We thought it best to do a track lower in the valley, a much safer option. The ride we decided on was a loop around Loch Morlich which goes through the Chalamain Gap and around Castle Hill. We would only recommend doing this track if you are a technically competent rider, thrive on Hike a Bike action and don’t mind walking through some heavy rocky sections. Once we got to the top of Chalamain’s Gap, and some serious Hike a Bike action, we had a nice break over looking the mountains, some with snow caps & enjoys some tea, scrogin’ (nut mix) & little chocolate to keep us going.
The track onto Chalamain’s Gap
After Chalamain’s Gap the track decends to a stream and then cuts back towards Loch Morlich. The best part of the track starts when you get back to the treeline close to Glenmore lodge. The single track from here is phenomenal and makes all the hike a bike and rock gardens worth it! It was that good that we did another lap of this section by taking the road back to Glenmore Lodge. When we made it back to the Loch, we were officially exhausted and decided to take a dip in the freezing cold Loch.
Just before track gets really good
Close to Glenmore Lodge
The above is a map of the loop that we completed. The GPX file for the loop can be downloaded here –
After our dip, a bit to eat & some chill time by the Loch we ventured further south & parked over night in the car park just outside the town of Innerleithan, at the base of another epic trail centre!
The Scottish Forestry offers car parking at a day rate of £3 which is great. Innerleithan is located in the Scottish Borders in an area known as Tweeddale. As a biking area it’s ‘for thrill seekers’ according to the Scottish Forestry website. It’s one of the famous biking venues in Southern Scotland, it’s well known for some Extreme tracks (orange ones).We didn’t do these we did the cross country trail which is classed as the difficult loop, the red one in the below map. It’s a great loop that’s around 20km in length. For the first half of the trail there are some tough, technical climbs to the summit of Minch Moor & then it goes on to some great descending single track which is good fun. There are a few fire roads linking the track across the country side but coming back into the car park there is an amazing downhill rollercoaster. Throughout the track there are a few options to veer off to complete the black run for the extreme riders & then re-joins the red loop. For the most part it’s a manageable ride with some tricky bits along with some super gnarlly bits!
On the loop
Another mechanical failure
Before the gnarly rollercoaster