5 09 2013

Deeside is the part of the Cairngorm I know least well. After a brief camping trip last week in Tarland, a route around Deeside was on my mind. When the opportunity arose, I decided on a loop around and over Lochnagar from Braemar to scratch the itch.

Heading east along the river Dee to the Old Brig o’ Dee, then into Balmoral, was a welcome start to the ride. The forest here is every bit as beautiful as Rothiemurchas. The long climb to the east of the famous Lochnagar cliffs (site of some of the trickier scottish winter and rock climbing) was easy going. Inevitably, some portage was on the menu. That time arrived after reaching the point where the steep, rough singletrack trail peeled up the bealach between Meikle Pap and Cuidhe Cròm. There was a trail of blood drops all the way up. Someone had clearly had an intimate encounter with one of the sharper rocks on the trail. The view down towards Loch Muick and the Angus Glens was spectacular.

The steep ascent took me into the path of the wind which was blowing a hoolie, but I climbed up the trig point anyway, might as well.

From here, the route circled along the top of the cliffs, before tracking over to Carn an t’ Sagairt mor and the excellent, steep and picky descent down to Loch Callater. Two fast jets flying low down the glen highlighted the glorious, blue sky, but the star of the show was the trail. Not overly difficult, but you have to stay focused and I would happily give up speed for the this type of thought provoking, rock-hopping trail, high above ground level.

With a wistful look back to the mountain top trail, I welcomed the strong tail wind that gave me a speedy return to Braemar. An excellent loop.


This loop appears in Scotland mountain biking: wild trails 2, ISBN 9781906148522. Well worth a look.




3 responses

9 09 2013

Nice route, Jon. Have a look at the Glas Alt descent next time.

Also, check out Ben Avon from Tomontoul. I hear good things…….

9 09 2013

Oh and how rideable was Lochnagar from Deeside? I’ve only ridden it as a loop of the 5 Munros from Glen Clova which was a cracking day out.

28 09 2013

lochnagar from deeside is mostly rideable: there is a stepped climb up to the edge of the corrie from the saddle with meikle pap, but its easy enough. the climb from the estate track up there was rideable, in bits, for me.

do you mean the broad cairn route? id rather go the rocky way (ie via lochnagar) than the rolly/grassy way…unless you’re bagging tops, the trail is mo’ fun. glas allt…yeah…looks like fun…never been down it…ought to at some point.

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