It is hard to believe after the last fortnights rains that just a short time ago we were enjoying the driest April i can remember. When you have the opportunity, you'd best use it. I decided to try and do a Cairngorm loop that would give me some pointers for a future planned ride.
The idea was to rough camp in Glen Feshie, get up at the arse crack of dawn and ride round Loch Gamhna, to Picadilly, round Loch Morlich, into the Ryvoan pass, hang an east and head up the Lairig an Laoigh, past Bynack Mor, drop down to the Fords of Avon, keep heading down into Glen Derry, then head west along the Dee before following the Geldie Burn up into Feshie and back.
Yep, quite a beefy route, but i was hoping all the dry weather would make the notoriously boggy Glen Feshie at the far end of the loop rideable, at least in part.
The other thing i wasnt sure about was how rideable the Lairig would be. The Lairig Ghru isnt, so i guess optimism was key here.
As i pulled myself out of my tent, the warm evening had given way to a frosty start. It was minus 5. By the time i hit dirt, the temp had only reached minus 4 and i was shivering. The stable weather system meant that temps well into the 20's were for sure, so i was relatively minimally dressed. Keep calm. Carry on.
By the time i was in sight of Bynack Mor, i was well warmed up. The views were spectacular, but the brisk breeze kept speeds low.
The trail improvements are a ways off, so there was a little pushing on this section. With gears, i reckon its 100% rideable. As i passed under the Barns of Bynack (huge granite tors that overlook the glen) the trail became almost a trials problem. I spent a significant amount of time here before i finally dropped down to the Avon refuge.
After a quick dip to ford the river, where i was careful not to lose my socks, i headed down the sweet Glen Derry descent. Awesome times.
The area around the base of Derry Cairngorm is beautiful: it was a pleasure to ride out of this bowl with classic Caledonian pine and high mountain scenery.
The weather conditions meant the tracks west from the Linn of Dee were dry until i was close to Glen Feshie, and even here, it was partly rideable. Some land slides and a shonky old bridge over a cascading waterfall, then i was into Feshie proper - always a beautiful place to be.
11 or so hours later i was back at the car. Desiccated, as it was 25 degrees now, but what a route. Am i any closer to knowing how to connect the dots for the future. Some...we'll see....