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Bicycle essential

Bicycle essential

Postby Fife Flyer » Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:24 pm

Route description: An Sgarsoch and Càrn an Fhidhleir

Munros included on this walk: An Sgarsoch, Càrn an Fhìdhleir (Càrn Ealar)

Date walked: 11/07/2015

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 42 km

Ascent: 1059m

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Yes I know the title is a contentious issue and the purists will be screaming and probably not read the rest of the report :roll: But I am one of those folk who prefer to use a bike if the terrain is suitable. I must emphasise that I am not a keen or a good cyclist, I do like cycling but as yesterday demonstrated, my bike handling skills on 'bumpy' terrain do have room for improvement, more of that later.

My original plan was to head west over the weekend to tackle CMD Arete. Another 3 Walk Highlanders were also studying the weather forecast and keeping fingers crossed, you would have thought that at least one of the days would have been half decent - wrong. So CMD will have to wait a bit longer before I pay it a visit :(
My backup plan was the 2 southern Cairngorms via the 'white bridge' and the forecast for the Saturday looked quite favourable. I had posted my intentions via the usual channels and Hugh (Borderhugh) popped up out of the background. I had never met Hugh, but after a few PM's a plan evolved.
We arranged to meet at Linn of Dee and start cycling at 8am. As usual I didn't sleep very well and was up and on the way north well ahead of my planned departure time 8)
Once north of Perth I didn't encounter a single vehicle heading north so I arrived at the car park just before 7.30.
I had just started getting my bike out of the car when Hugh arrived, so after introductions and the usual faffing around making sure we hadn't forgotten anything we set off on our bikes.
I wasn't sure how far we would be able to cycle and as it turned out we made good progress and the track only had a couple of inclines that required dismounting. There were a few puddles and the track in parts was not what I would call ideal cycling terrain. In other words it was rough and bouldery.
Whilst cycling along Hugh and I were attempting to talk to each other, but when you are being shaken and battered there was alot of repeating :( One good thing about our question and answer session was we covered quite a few miles without too much difficulty.

White Bridge?



Hugh was hoping we would be able to leave the bikes near the ruin of Geldie Lodge, however when we reached Geldie Burn we decided that as the Geldie Lodge was on the other side of the burn, there seemed little point in trying to struggle across the burn with bikes :lol: :lol:
The bikes were parked and locked together, just in case there were some passing bicycle thieves :lol:
Now it was time to start walking, but the first task was to cross the burn via the 'steeping stones'. I can imagine this could be a problem after a spell of rain, but our boots only got a slight dunking :wink:

Geldie Burn and the stepping stones

Geldie Lodge ruins taken from the banks of the burn

Path builders?

I was curious to work out how far we had cycled, so using the WH GPS planner I worked out it is 12.4km, which if you are one of the purists is quite a walk :wink:
Once across the burn, it was just a matter of following the path that went in all sorts of directions and eventually came to an abrupt end just to the NW of Scarsoch Bheag.

The path

Hugh posing

We had obviously wandered too far south, but because we could see the shoulder leading to our destination it was just a matter of plodding uphill through the heather. As everyone knows walking downhill through heather is easy, going uphill is a nightmare as you have to lift your feet higher than usual. Just before we reached the shoulder leading to the summit, I could feel my left leg cramping above the knee and that continued all the way to the summit :( I had a bag of crisps to get some salt into my system, but I suffered the same problem on the next ascent :(
The weather had actually been favourable, a couple of very light showers, but it certainly wasn't what you could call a nice warm summers day :lol: I had my jacket on for most of the day and we both put our gloves on just before we reached the summit of Carn an Fhidhleir :shock: I didn't take my usual quantity of photographs, mainly because there wasn't very much that was worth photographing :lol: I know a few walkers will disagree with the previous sentence, but the majority of the landscape is very 'samey', rolling undistinguished hills. The real Cairngorms could be seen in the distance but even when zoomed are barely distinguishable.

Hugh on the summit of Fiddler



Looking across to our next target An Sgarsoch

We didn't hand around too long on the summit and set off across the large plateau, before heading SSE down the shoulder. We knew we had quite a descent down to the peat hags and it turned out to be almost 300m. There was no obvious path so we picked a point across the other side of the hags to aim for. Luckily the peat hags weren't as bad as they could be, the peat was quite firm so it wasn't long before we were heading uphill again. The bad news was that the initial climb was again through heather, which probably explains why I was cramping again, but I soldiered on knowing that the summit wasn't that far :lol:
Half way up the climb we found a path and also saw a chap heading in the opposite direction and looked to be on a mission 8) The summit of An Sgarsoch was a bit more interesting than the previous one, with a large cairn and shelter.

Summit of An Sgarsoch


After a photo's we started our descent, once again there didn't appear to be a path so we surveyed the ground ahead of us and we decided to head to the east of Scarsoch Bheag. We knew that if we continued heading north we would eventually pick up the path.
As before, the terrain was the same - heather, peat hags and damp squidgy areas :lol:
We made good progress and it didn't take us too long to reach the path, after that it was plain sailing back to the burn. We were reunited with our bikes and noticed another bike parked next to ours.
The ride back to Linn of Dee was ever so slightly downhill and hardly any pedalling was required, that was the good news, the bad news was that the track seemed even bumpier going back. Both Hugh & I caught our pedals on the side of the track. Luckily Hugh was in front when my pedal caught the grassy edge of the track so he missed me coming a cropper, which was almost in slow motion. I came off the bike but fell on the grass, no problem, so I got back on my bike only to find my chain had come off ggrrr :lol: So after a minute or two faffing about, getting fingers rather oily, I got the chain back on and set off trying to catch Hugh up :lol:
The rest of the cycle back was uneventful, not what I would call enjoyable, maybe if my bike had suspension it may have been a bit more pleasureable :lol: The last bit of the ride was on tarmac and what a treat 8)
A big thanks to Hugh for his great company and patience glad you managed to tag on An Socach later :o
Next Glenfinnan, hopefully this week :wink:
Last edited by Fife Flyer on Sun Jul 16, 2023 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bicycle essential

Postby ancancha » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:31 pm

No contension from me Mr Flyer, I wouldn't be doing these remote Munros without my mobility allowance :lol:
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Re: Bicycle essential

Postby old danensian » Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:51 am

Nothing wrong with a bike on that one Martin - in fact it was on my list as a possible last week - but, in a strange coincidence, I did the CMD instead

Thanks for the info and timings - really useful

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Re: Bicycle essential

Postby simon-b » Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:07 am

Nothing wrong with the bike, Martin - said by a ' purist' who enjoyed these two in warm July sun two years ago. There's a great feel to the location of these hills when you get to them.
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Re: Bicycle essential

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:32 am

This route looks good and we will probably use bikes, too, as soon as we fix our bike carrier (or get a new one). Unless Kevin insists on doing them from Glen Feshie! :lol:

I'm just about to post a biking report, too. We cycled almost to the summit of a Corbett, so purists would probably crucify us :lol: :lol:

You were right to stay away from Nevis range, we were in Glen Roy yesterday, bagging Carn Deargs. Nevis stayed cloudy all day. Showers kept passing over, one per hour or so. It wasn't so bad on grassy Corbetts, just wet and squelchy, but I imagine the arete wouldn't be a pleasant experience in such conditions.
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Re: Bicycle essential

Postby Nigels3011 » Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:50 am

I remember this one. It was one of the reasons I bought a bike. When I did it though, I wild camped just beyond the Geldie Lodge ruin and had a horrible evening being harassed by swarms of hungry midges. I was greeted the next morning by a fantastic temp inversion though. In the end, I never did use the bike on any walk-ins.
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Re: Bicycle essential

Postby PeteR » Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:19 pm

Good report Martin.................but like I've said elsewhere, what's with the push bike :lol: I remember walking this one and being passed on the walk back out by a mother and her daughter as they sped past me on their bikes. Was I jealous :mrgreen: Well, maybe for a spit second........ :lol:
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Re: Bicycle essential

Postby basscadet » Mon Jul 13, 2015 2:21 pm

Looked great Martin - I don't know why anyone would object to a bike really.. Still doing it all under your own steam :) I keep on thinking that I should get myself a argocat - would be a lot of fun, but think of all those frowns I would get :lol:
Agree with you about the gorms too - not very photogenic, as all the interesting stuff is always so far off, and the summit views much restricted by the roundedness of it all.. Canny beat the view down the dee from devils point though :wink:
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Re: Bicycle essential

Postby Graeme D » Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:33 pm

C'mon the PURISTS!!!!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Seriously though, when I was leading a Gold training group recently, I was just beyond the ford over to Geldie Lodge when I saw a bloke coming down off these two towards the river. Having popped down to check out the river level at the ford, I stopped to see how the chap fared with the crossing. He proceeded to wade right through without even breaking his stride and then seeing me, started waving his arms and hollering. Eventually I made out "Do you have a map I could borrow?". Oh Christ, here we go! Anyway, he had biked in from Linn of Dee that morning, left his bike somewhere, and done the two Munros by what sounded like a weird and wonderful route before becoming completely befuddled and failing to remember where he had left his bike. I offered what help I could before making myself scarce and going in search of my group! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Bicycle essential

Postby The Rodmiester » Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:08 pm

Hi there Martin, I walked these in June 1994 for Water Aid, a bloody long day and the only thing that kept me going latterly was meeting up with friends at te Fife Arms for a Pint. Remember cooling off the feet in the water at White Bridge on the way back :lol: :lol:
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Re: Bicycle essential

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:43 pm


Must admit, I walked these two last summer and took advantage of the long daylight hours - it was a fair old trek but felt good to have done them. It was a Saturday afternoon in August so I stuck the earphones in to listen to the Inverness v Celtic match on the radio and then when dropping down in to the bealach between the two hills I thought I could hear something - turns out there were shooters walking through the bealach and I nearly wandered in to them - valuable lesson learned!!

Looks like you got decent weather.

PS I'm in the purist camp, do you get blue flags if you use the bike (maybe they should introduce a different colour of flag for Munros completed with the aid of two wheels :wink: )???
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