Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Weather systems were favourable. Time and light were on my side. I slipped through the speed barrier to Blair Atholl and started climbing. The aim was 3 munros arranged conveniently in a ridge. There was a slight drop between each one, and then off the last on to the shoulder of a smaller hill, before a rapid descent to a glen i know very well.

The climb up Carn Liath was like one of those Escher prints...i kept moving, but slipped down seemingly as far as i climbed. Eventually i made the top, and enjoyed the breathtaking view over to the Cairngorm.

As i snaked down the ridge, i saw Braigh Coire Chruinn-Bhalgain rear up in front. The trail looked wicked as it dropped to the bealach, then ascended the ridge onto the top.

It seemed to take mere minutes to summit and hit cloud level, but soon enough i dropped below the cloud again and was afforded excellent views.

Body and bike were working well together, and with the steep drop off the Braigh behind me, i grappled with Carn Ban Gabhar. If you look at the next photo closely. you'll see the trail drop steeply by my left shoulder in the back ground.

Energy restocked, the summit again came quickly, but with a pang of anxiety this time. I had no real knowledge of the route down i intended to take. No matter, soak up the majesty. Breathe. Witness Mother Nature in all her splendour.

The way ahead seemed clear. A slight parting in the heather. But the gradient was intimidating. Perhaps the steepest i have ever ridden for a sustained time. Oddly, as i levelled out a little a gyrocopter thrummed overhead.

Too soon, i was poised above Glen Tilt. The ground fell so steeply that leaves of soil, rock and heather were literally peeling off, At times, these fissures were being used to route the trail.

Steep switchbacks and some heart-in-the-mouth rear wheel hop turns, brought me back down to ground level. To be back on flat ground so soon after tasting the sky was harsh, but the exhilaration will be with me long after i'm back in the city.


Dean said...

Hell of the Yes!

Anonymous said...

Great pictures.