I have not spent much time riding in Wester Ross. Mainly due to a lack of proximity. To my mind, the dramatically juxtaposed lochs and sheer, jagged mountains of the region showcase the very best scenery in Scotland. Of course, just because a place looks cool, doesn’t mean it has cool trails. However, in this regard, Wester Ross delivers in spades.
A couple of days off allowed enough time to get there, with a three or four route smörgåsbord of possibilities. Weather and energy levels would define the riding to be done.
The first route was the Torridon classic: Achnashellach/Annat via Coire Lair. Despite leaden legs, it was very enjoyable and the descents delivered a stiff test for the new B.A set up – wide 710mm Jones bars and the X-fusion Trace up front. All good.
The plan was to bivi at the base of Liathach, but the midge and mosquitos were ferocious to say the least, so the moby was deployed and Trina managed to square me away with a last minute room at the Old Inn, round in Gairloch. Not quite as rugged as I’d intended, but my histamine levels were redlining from spending 30 minutes at the proposed base camp. When planning mtb trips in Scotland, it is best to keep things fluid.
Staying in Gairloch meant that the second ride I had planned was a goer: the ride out from Poolewe to Fisherfield Forest. Riding in this pristine wilderness is a little contentious. My feeling is that if I stick to man made trails, it is no more of an issue than hiking. The scenery, including a view of An Teallach, was otherworldly. The mostly singletrack trail through the Letterewe estate was superb: it was a shame I was riding sub-par and had to turn back when I did. Next time a through-ride via Dundonnell is the plan.