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Bike Hiking from the Spittal of Glenshee

Bike Hiking from the Spittal of Glenshee


Postby timmunro86 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 12:40 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Iutharn Mhor, Carn an Righ, Glas Tulaichean

Date walked: 10/09/2016

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 32.5 km

Ascent: 1337m

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Through the week at work I'd been dreaming about the weekend and the opportunity to get out in the mountains again. Thursday had come and I'd had a chance to check out the MWIS forecast for Saturday, 40% chance of cloud free munros, some showers and relatively low winds - I was well up for it! So needless to say, when I double checked the forecast again on Friday evening and it had changed to 80% cloud free munros, no rain and low winds I was already packing the car ready to set off early morning.

The plan was to take in Glas Tulaichean and Carn an Righ as described on WH but to add in Beinn Lutharn Mhor as well. I was keen to take the mountain bike as I'd read that there was the dismantled railway line and then a landy track all the way up GT. I'd also thought that having the bike for the long slog out of the beautiful Gleann Taitneach would be very useful at the end of the day.

So after driving to Spittal of Glenshee I was ready to set off at 10am on my mission. The weather was dry and patches of sun were appearing higher up but the wind was still making it quite chilly in the valley. I hopped on the bike and powered up the entrance road to Dalmunzie House Hotel to get my body warmed up as quick as possible.

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Making my way up out of the farm and onto the land rover track I passed a few walkers who had set out before me. The route then took me off the landy track and up onto the dismantled railway track which was initially pretty good for cycling on, however, it wasn't long before sections of the path became very wet and muddy and I found myself having to jump off the bike and carry it over the bog traps! As I neared the ruin of Glenlochsie Lodge I had a wee glance over my shoulder and saw one of the gents I had cycled past earlier powering up the track behind me... At this point I started to reconsider whether or not taking the bike had been a smart decision as I then had to make a rather hairy crossing of the reasonably deep and fast flowing Glen Lochsie Burn. Back on the landy track and the nice chap I'd passed earlier came storming past me as I took a break on the other side, we exchanged a few words about the path ahead and off he went into the distance up toward GT. I then headed up the steep land rover track up GT hiking my bike up the sections that were just too steep to cycle on. The track soon became less steep and I was able to cycle again for a while as the views opened up to Beinn a Ghlo.

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The path soon steepened again to the summit of GT and I was forced to hike the bike again, all the while cursing to myself that I'd bothered to take the bike with me. Never mind I thought, once I was over GT and down to the valley I could drop the bike off and be on foot from then on. I soon reached the summit and stopped for a quick pic before jumping on the bike and riding down the NE ridge to lose height before turning north and dropping straight down to the main path that runs along below Mam nan Carn.

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The sun was out and it was beautiful as there was very little wind down in the valley. I stashed my bike and started a trail run/hike toward Carn an Righ feeling super light without hauling an extra 12kg bike along the path. My plan was to tackle Carn an Righ and Beinn Lutharn Mhor and then pick up the bike to head homeward via Loch nan Eun.

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I passed another nice couple and we chatted about our routes and what we were planning for the rest of the day. After a wee chat I headed off up to Carn an Righ following the main path up to the lovely stony summit cairn where I took a short rest in the sun and had a wee drink, took a few photos and admired the views all around. The views were awesome, especially toward An Sgarsoch and the Lhairig Ghru.

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After a brief stop I hit the trail and ran back down to the valley at 771m where I stopped for some of my lunch and a good drink. Once again I had not taken enough water, I had 3 litres with me with one on the bike and two in my pack but I had clearly not had enough to drink in the time before I set off because I'd gone through my water at quite a rate. Note to self, make sure to down a good amount of water in the 12hrs before setting off.

I then picked up a trail that contoured around the end of Mam nan Carn and headed up to the bealach between it and Beinn Lutharn Mhor. Before I knew it I was up onto the rocky top of BLM and heading toward the summit cairn which I could see in the distance. I reached it around 3pm and stopped to take a few photos toward the Devils Point and to check my co-ordinates to make sure I was in fact at the correct summit.

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Feeling a little tired and in need of some sustenance I stopped a minute to have a cereal bar and some water before I headed off again to retrace my steps to the valley and pick up the path back along to where my bike was stashed. The weather was still lovely but it was pretty windy on top and the chill was really biting through me, so I wasted no time and set a good pace to make it back down to the main path.

I got back to my bike, had some water and then started hiking the bike in the direction of Loch nan Eun. This turned out to be not too bad as the peaty marsh section was quite solid and the bike could be easily run over it without it sinking in. I got to the beautiful and serene Loch nan Eun about 4pm and stopped for a photo.

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Probably the trickiest section with the bike was hiking it down the steep path that descends from Loch nan Eun down Gleinn Taitneach, this was not easy and I had to be careful not to drop it down the steep grassy slopes into the outflow waterfalls. The view here was just incredible, it took my breath away and I stopped to admire the view down the glen while I ate some more food.

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Whilst stopped I caught a glimpse of a number of deer silhouetted on the top of Creag Easgaidh and within a few minutes a massive herd of probably 100-150 deer came pouring down the slopes, no doubt evading the gunshots from hunters further north. I tried to get a photo but my iphone didn't really do it justice so I'll spare you the rubbish image, but what a sight it was to behold.

Soon my hard work bike/hiking was rewarded as the path turned to a single grassy track and then onto a fantastic land rover track snaking all the way down the glen back to the Spittal. Oh how relieved I was to not have to walk out all that way. The gradual downhill track was a mountain bikers dream and I pretty much coasted for miles right back down to the main road again stopping to grab a couple of photos along the way. If you are thinking about doing this route, take a bike, it is so worth it for this fast and flowing descent.

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I was glad to get back to the car at the end of it all but had thoroughly enjoyed the route and the calm sunny evening was just beautiful to take a slow cruise back up the A93 through Glenshee and Glen Clunie on my way home. I made a brief 'emergency stop' on my way to pre-order an Indian takeaway which I picked up on my arrival in my hometown of Inverurie - some much needed calories to refuel my body after the adventure. What a day! I always feel so lucky to have this stunning countryside right on our doorstep. Love Scotland!

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timmunro86
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Re: Bike Hiking from the Spittal of Glenshee

Postby Phil the Hill » Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:20 pm

Useful info re bikeability of the tracks. thanks. Looks like it would be worth biking up Gleinn Taitneach for a wild camp at Loch nan Eun, abandoning the bikes at the foot of that slope.
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Phil the Hill
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Re: Bike Hiking from the Spittal of Glenshee

Postby timmunro86 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:47 pm

Phil the Hill wrote:Useful info re bikeability of the tracks. thanks. Looks like it would be worth biking up Gleinn Taitneach for a wild camp at Loch nan Eun, abandoning the bikes at the foot of that slope.


Definitely worth a wild camp up there, it's a beautiful place! And the downhill return would be good fun too :)
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timmunro86
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Re: Bike Hiking from the Spittal of Glenshee

Postby miami mike » Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:28 pm

I did only Glas Tuaichean today. Your wheel tracks are still there!
Sounds like a good days biking but it's only possible at weekends as I found today that the estate closes all routes past the hotel on weekdays for shooting parties. :?
Your descent is the only route available on weekdays for Spital of Glenshee starts until December, I also used a bike until the end of the Landie track but wouldnt have enjoyed carrying a bike up the steep narrow and slippy upper path to that atmospheric lochside. I'm saving the other 2 you did for a big day from Glenshee to Inveray next year.
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Re: Bike Hiking from the Spittal of Glenshee

Postby Msp1987 » Wed Sep 21, 2016 10:50 pm

Looks like a great day. When I did these three I cycled up Gleann Taitneach (your return route) and left my bike at the end of the track this gave easy access to the three hills and a briliant cycle back. Works out a bit quicker.
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Re: Bike Hiking from the Spittal of Glenshee

Postby Alteknacker » Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:40 am

Great stuff! I've not tried the mountain biking angle yet, and I must say that the shot of the path on the descent from GT looks - well - interesting! (I first met someone doing this kind of thing on Carn Eighe when doing the Mullardoch Round - when he told me it took 90 minutes to ascend, and 7 minutes to descend I wasn't convinced it was quite for me!!!).

But the way you describe the descent from GT, it doesn't sound too bad; and the ride back must be, as you say, really wonderful. I need to get my mountain bike fettled....

Boy do I envy you having this stuff on your doorstep!
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Re: Bike Hiking from the Spittal of Glenshee

Postby timmunro86 » Thu Sep 29, 2016 3:01 pm

Msp1987 wrote:Looks like a great day. When I did these three I cycled up Gleann Taitneach (your return route) and left my bike at the end of the track this gave easy access to the three hills and a briliant cycle back. Works out a bit quicker.


Yeah that's good thinking. When I head back up that way I think I'll try that route, it would certainly be easier to cycle up Gleann Taitneach than the route I chose! :lol: :D
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Re: Bike Hiking from the Spittal of Glenshee

Postby timmunro86 » Thu Sep 29, 2016 3:15 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Great stuff! I've not tried the mountain biking angle yet, and I must say that the shot of the path on the descent from GT looks - well - interesting! (I first met someone doing this kind of thing on Carn Eighe when doing the Mullardoch Round - when he told me it took 90 minutes to ascend, and 7 minutes to descend I wasn't convinced it was quite for me!!!).

But the way you describe the descent from GT, it doesn't sound too bad; and the ride back must be, as you say, really wonderful. I need to get my mountain bike fettled....

Boy do I envy you having this stuff on your doorstep!


I try to employ a bike/hike mentality which is cycle when I can and when it's too sketchy on the downhill I just hop off and jog down with the bike in hand. The descent of GT was pretty much like this, if you follow the ridge line to the NE then N most of it is bike-able but there are a couple of steeper sections where it's worth jumping off to avoid going head over handlebars rolling down the hill :lol: :lol:
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