55 miles
Distance
4,880 ft
Climb
-4,870 ft
Descent
2,966 ft
High Point

A great adventurous route for people who are fit, reasonably good technically and who can navigate accross open moorland with a bike computer. Its also a fraction under Munro height so weather can have a huge impact both hot and cold, and its in the middle of nowhere really.

From the car park north of Achlean, follow road the road south to its end and drop down a small dip to Achlean croft. You'll see a path heading south on the left hand edge of the croft, follow it over a lovely bit of heather moor until you have to ford a small stream. Keep heading south parallel to woodland on your left and after about 400m follow the path to the bridge near Achleum. Cross the bridge and pick up the private eatate road (tarmac) to Feshie Lodge. At the Feshie Lodge you head straight on down the glen on the landrover track. After about 2.5Km you get to a ruin, take the right hand turn and start on the big ascent of the day.

The track gets steeper and rougher until after about 3Km there's a short 30m stretch that I can never quite ride, too scrabbly for me my climbing technique. Thereafter its an easier grade of track up to the landrover junction beyond Loch an t-Sluic. At the junction take a left and keep climbing to the 847m spot height. Again there is short section I can never quite manage, this time its the legs going a bit. At the top look for the small singletrack heading south west and drop down to a rentrant where you'll see an old deer watchers bothy. Now a bit of portage/hike a bike takes you up a small track to the next peak with a trig point on it, you're just below Munro height here.

Here it becomes genuinely adventurous, particularly in misty weather. If you can't read use a map and compass competently just don't bother going or else hire a MBL for the day!!!!! There is no path for the next 1.5Km, but you can ride it quite easily. The trick is to head south west for about 500m to a col and then trending south west in the short heather on the south side of the Leathad an Taobhain for about 700m.You'll pick up the broad ridge of the peak and then follow that for about 500m towards the Minigaig trail. If its misty I tend to head to the col as above and then go direct throught the rougher heather to the re-entrant on the Minigaig track at (812 847 ). Having a bike computer is essential for the distance and make sure its set on Km too as its a poain having to work out miles into Km's like i did once! Once in the re-entrant you'll have to find the path so stay on the edge to keep your height to give you a better chance. As a friend once said whilst we did this section, "this is real mountainbiking" and she was right! You get a great sense of space.

Enjoy the descent south along the Minigaig track on lovely singletrack, a few wetter bits admittedly, and then after 4Km there is a steep descent to the valley floor. Its great fun, but just remember its remote here. After 6.5Km of landrover track riding you get to Bruar Lodge. Follow the landrover track over the bridge and keep heading down Glen Bruar to the bridge at Cuilltemhuic. Ford the River Bruar and head south east for 7Km on mainly good track to the first bridge over the banvie Burn, its at the treeline. Follow good forest track to Gilberts Bridge in Glen Tilt and then head up north east up Glen Tilt. The estate track is good all the way up to the Falls of Tarf and the Bedford Memorial Bridge.

From the bridge keep follwing the track north east into the gorge like section where there are one or two tricky spots to negotiate. Its good fun riding and is the harder end of a moderate technical route withe the odd, very short section of hard technical. Personally I don't think it warrants a hard grade because its not consistenly hard enough in my opinion, but at the same time don't get complacent.

About 3Km from the bridge you leave the gorge behind and you're heading to Mar Estate. Stay on the track past Bynack Lodge and onto the forrds accross teh Geldie Burn. These have been known to be impassable, you've been warned!!

Once accross the burn head west on a good landrover track for about 6.5Km towards Geldie Lodge, but at this point take the sinlgetrack that keeps heading west.For the next 5.5Km you have some good singletrack mixed in with a few wet boggier patches, but overall I like it. Cross the River Eidart by the bridge on go bush whacking to its confluence with eth River Feshie. Either way you'll get to the fishermans bothy (906 885).

From the hut head west over grass for about 50m and then look really hard for a lovely bit of singletrack. you mkay find a roughish estate track made by an all terrain vehicle, the single track cuts accross this several times. Follow the singletrack all the way to Ruighe nan Leum and then try your best to pick it up to the southside of the landrover track. From this pont in keep heading west on the tracks into Glen Feshie.

Genberally speaking its pretty easy from here though there is a short section (5 to 10m) of awkward and exposed washed out track to negotiate (863 901). This area of Glen Fehsie appears to be suscepatable to washed out track and I last did this in 2011, so it may have worsened since then.

About 5Km from the washed out track you'll be riding past the bothy, head to the bridge (ruined) a further 1.5Km on and then take the nearby ford just downstream of it to the private etsate road you were on earlier. If in spate or a purist, stay on the east side orf the R. Feshie and takethe track back to Achlean.

I would be keen to hear how people view this route, particularly regards the technical grade, which I out at moderate. Sometimes I wonder whether the technical grade should go up, because with a long route there is a tendancy for a rider's technical ability to drop a bit as they become tired.

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Details

  • Riding area
  • Difficulty rating
    Black
  • Route Type
    Loop
  • Bikepacking
    Yes
  • Bike type
    AM, XC
  • Direction
    Both Directions
  • Physical rating
    Hard
More Stats for South Cairngorms Loop mountain bike route
  • Altitude min
    722 ft
  • Altitude start
    1,076 ft
  • Altitude end
    1,086 ft
  • Grade
    0.003%
  • Grade max
    -24.53%
  • Grade min
    26.655%
  • Distance climb
    25 miles
  • Distance down
    28 miles
  • Distance flat
    2 miles
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Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
Trail transparency
  • flag
  • login to download gpx or kml files.