I remember mountain biking in from Victoria Bridge 24 years ago to climb Beinn nan Aighenan for the second time and going over the handlebars at the start of the steep rough 600 feet descent from the watershed at Coire Baithe above Glen Kinglass. Fortunately my helmet and rucksack on my back saved any nasty injury and, as It was pointless taking it further down because it would require being pushed up, the bike was left there.
For Beinn Suidhe my Freego Martin Sport e-bike would whiz me along to the start of the climb . There would be 100m ascent in total by bike with 550m climbing by foot. At 1.5 miles just after Clashgour climbing hut and crossing Allt Toaig a muddy footpath forks left to follow the north bank of Abhainn Shira whilst the track veers right uphill to the former Clashgour Farm at 2.75 miles where dismounting is required as one of the stalker's dogs has an aversion to bikes being ridden but is more amenable to bikes being pushed! Downhill towards the river but at 3.1 miles progress is arrested by a padlocked forestry deer gate . A biker arrived from the opposite direction from Inverawe, having camped overnight at Coire Beithe, unloaded his bike and lifted it over the fence and climbed over the gate. My companion and I had decided to leave our bikes there and traipse the remaining half mile to the climb start when the young stalker arrived in his landrover and trailer with 6 wheel ATV. He just smiled as he unhitched the unlinked chain from the nail on the gate post ! As it turned out this was my misfortune as it allowed us to take the bikes through.
The 1:50,000 map is erroneous here as it shows the path along Abhainn Shira going through the forest before crossing Allt Ghabhar whereas the 1:25,000 map has it correctly going through the forest after crossing Allt Ghabhar to the George Cheyne memorial suspension footbridge . This path did not appear bikeable and would involve two deer fence stiles. The alternative following the track would involve 2 or 3 river fordings as the Clashgour footbridge is no longer in existence. The first ford over Allt Gabhar about 4 inches deep seemed bikeable but I hit a rounded stone and came off and landed in the river getting pretty wet . Fortunately it was a good drying day and I did bike it successfully on return. In 200m the next Abhainn Shira ford was wider and deeper, about 6 inches, with large irregular boulder stepping stones. It was difficult manhandling the heavy e-bike across and trying to keep the electrics out of the water and I fell in on return for another soaking !. The next shallow ford over Allt Suil na Curra was near enough our climb start point so we left our bikes just before it.
In 200m the forestry plantation starts. We ignored a stile at the corner and just followed deer paths beside the fence up and round to the right below Tom Liath and up left between it and the craggy NE face of Beinn Suidhe following ATV track coming up from a gate in forestry fence for a short distance then rising traverse ondeer paths to a steep shallow gully reaching the ridge just a short distance NE of point 636m. From there along 750m SW to 676m Beinn Suidhe summit. Great views all around. An hour to bike and 2 and 1/4 hour climb.
Returned by descending traverse from 641m point to join upward route but tried the stiles in upper and lower deer fences marked as a path on 1:25,000 map but this was non-existent with long clumpy grass and hidden ankle breaking trenches and holes. Better to stick with upward route outside fence.
Moral of story - an ordinary mountain bike is OK and e-bike is OK but only as far as "locked" forestry gate
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