Glenmore and Abernethy Forest ride

Munros climbed by year and month

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00002323
201022
2016781142
2017242724443334
201810131132321
20192633115188531

You have climbed 92/282 munros.

I've been meaning to write up my bike rides for a while and this one is a suitable first as any. Whilst I've been to Rothiemurchus and Glenmore for a ride a number of times previously I wanted more of complete circular. Looking at the map I spotted a suitable route of forest track, a little road, and then more forest track to get back. Even more so it meant climbing through Glen More, past An Lochan Uaine (the green lochan to most people) to Ryvoan bothy which is my favourite low level stroll.

Date started:02/02/18
Distance:23.7 miles
Ascent:458m
Descent:459m
Time taken:5:31
Moving time:3:59
Average speed:5.95mph
Maximum speed:18.56mph

Glenmore and Abernethy Forest

The weather forecast was suggesting a cold light breeze day, maybe the odd shower or flurry of snow, and progressively clearing through the morning. I parked the van on the road opposite the Reindeer Centre at Glenmore - there was no point in trying to park at the dead end just past Glenmore Lodge at just before lunch. It was snowing lightly. Took a while getting ready, quietly hoping the rainy/sleety/snow would go away. Eventually I set off up the 'Old Logging Track' to Glenmore Lodge.

Continuing on the track to Ryvoan was fairly quiet, I pottered by a guy with about 4 or 5 dogs, who said "thanks for slowing down". Guess he's had too many thoughtless MTB'ers blast past. The usual bit of track was partially flooded but not really joined up so I was able to weave past the deeper bits without getting wet. Beyond, the track gets steeper and is covered with small rocks rather than stones. I managed to stay on for a while but had to jump off and walk eventually. It was just too rough and steep for me. Reaching the junction where straight on is Ryvoan and Abernethy, and right is to Strath Nethy, Bynack More, and of course the Lairig an Laoigh the track becomes more pleasant again.

An Lochan Uaine, Glenmore
An Lochan Uaine, Glenmore

Ryvoan Bothy
Ryvoan Bothy


After a breather at the bothy, during which it was still snowing, saying hello to a number of passing doggies and humans, I set off for pastures new. I'd never been into Abernethy Forest from this direction before. The track having obviously been surfaced relatively recently I made good progress into the woods.

Bynack More in the clag
Bynack More in the clag

Abernethy Forest
Abernethy Forest


There it went downhill a little, as it were. Rocks reappeared, as did roots, this bit was rough. I dragged the back brake to keep my speed reasonable. I'd already decided to visit the buildings at Rynettin, although I didn't know at that point it was where a group of Norwegians were trained to be 'commandos' during WW2. I turned off left towards it. Negotiated a gate, and ended up walking up the steepest bit of the field which truthfully wasn't that steep but I'd run out of puff.

Barn at Rynettin
Barn at Rynettin

Rynettin Lodge
Rynettin Lodge


It's a shame to see these old buildings shuttered especially with so much history behind them. Hopefully it's just for the winter. I carried on along the track which started descending. Easy at first, it become rough and a lot steeper. I was dragging my brakes. Stopping to wipe mud off my cycle glasses I wondered what was making the 'hot smell'. Of course, it was my back brake that had got 'ouch burny hot' hot. I resolved to use a bit more front brake as well.

Marked on the map is Forest Lodge which is the RSPB Abernethy Forest Nature Reserve headquarters. I veered off before reaching it to head roughly west. Pottering along tracks and minor roads was fine, virtually no traffic about, and I made good progress. Well, until I came to a flooded section of track just before reaching the Coylumbridge to Nethy Bridge road. I tried to pass the flood either side. It was boggy as hell in places it was hard just to drag the bike through. I gave up. Taking stock I decided to try walking up the middle of the track. Both feet were already wet so I had nothing to lose. Initially I could see the track under the water but it was getting deeper quickly and then I couldn't see a thing. The bike was in a rut up to the bottom bracket. That too I gave up on. I considered the options. I didn't fancy going back the way I'd come, this was going to be a circular tour dammit. The alternative was to retrace a little and head up to Boat of Garten to join the Coylumbridge road there. A 13km detour or so and I was aware of the day wearing on rapidly. Soon as I was rolling I put the chain on the big front chainring and put some effort into it. It didn't take too long before I was passing the end of the road again, on the other side of the flood! And found my turn off back into the woods shortly after.

Flooded track
Flooded track

It was good to be back in the woods even if I was climbing. I didn't have much power left so I walked odd sections where it was steepest or awkward. Quietly I thanked myself for not taking the Fenix bike light off the handlebars. On a little bit of down slope a red deer shot across in front of me. Nearing the Badaguish Outdoor Centre I spotted a steep singletrack coming down to join the track, probably part of their activities. Looked beyond my skills grade. I consulted the map for the last time, and turned onto the track for Glenmore hoping it would be all downhill. I turned the front light on as under the trees it was getting a bit too dark to see much detail. Reaching Glenmore was a big relief, I'd made it.

Tags: fatbike, glenmore lodge, outdoor, scotland Written 02/02/18 

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