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Derry Lodge MTB recce

Derry Lodge MTB recce


Postby Alastair S » Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:02 am

Date walked: 13/11/2010

Time taken: 2.5 hours

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Distance: 22km
Ascent: 365m


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Derry Lodge recce profile.jpg


With an iffy forecast and a free[ish] weekend decided that a MTB recce up to Derry Lodge and beyond was in order. Weather here in Deeside was fairly good in the morning but by the time I got past Braemar a slight drizzle had started. So in full cycling kit it was off in the drizzle. After a short path from the Linn of Dee car park through woodland & some duck walk it was onto a nice wide track up Glen Lui to Derry Lodge. Only took 25min for the 5km. Noticed half a dozen bikes behind the hut there. Next it was up the path to the East of the Derry Burn. This was a pretty decent path too but with quite a few deep water channels across it. Managed to ride over most of them but needed to use my feet for some. Going was not nearly as fast as up to the lodge as the path now climbed the side of the glen. Meet a party of half a dozen walkers heading to the Hutchinson hut who had just hidden their bikes off the path - one of them had punctured and they didn't have a spare tube between them :lol: (I'd didn't offer them my sole spare tube).

Soon after crossed a more substantial stream - nearly managed to cycle through the 7-8ft ford without having to use my feet but at the last minute had to put my foot down to keep balance. But was very pleased with the performance of the Sealskinz socks I was wearing. Although now totally wet they still kept my feet warm - recommended. I may now get the gloves too.

Looking up Glen Derry (with Derry Cairngom)
IMG_1680 20pct.jpg


Some decent path
IMG_1682 20pct.jpg


The path now got even steeper and more rocky and as a consequence a couple of slow sideways topples. The path then came out of the woodland and back down to the flood plain of the burn and became a lot flatter, if still narrow, muddy & rocky. The drizzle had stopped for now so stopped for some hot chocolate. While I did so the walkers I'd passed earlier caught me up - so my progress since passing them hadn't been that astonishing. The path ahead didn't look too bad, certainly better than the last half k I'd done so it is definitely feasible to do another couple of k on your bike.


Glen Derry flood plain
IMG_1683 20pct.jpg


I wanted to look at Glen Luibeg as well so turned round at this point, crossed the metal footbridge to the other side of the glen and headed back to Derry Lodge. This side of the glen was not nearly so cycle friendly - narrower, muddier and with lots of very slippery tree roots. And it was here that I achieved my first face plant :lol: Not sure what I hit but I must have taken my eyes of the path for a second and blam. Luckily nothing hurt that much (although one knee is now a bit sore) and the bike was fine too. As I was about to continue my way another group of six walkers strolled into sight - so dignity just preserved :D Looked like it was going to be fairly cosy in the hut.

So, back to Derry Lodge and off up Glen Luibeg. The first half k was a total bogfest (which I walked). The path then wasn't too bad. Again lots of drainage channels across the path but most were easy enough to negotiate. There is then some deer fencing where the path splits. Meet a couple of walkers who had done Carn a' Mhaim and were just collecting their bikes. Beyond this fence the path isn't cycleable. I walked a bit further on to where the map shows a path across the Luibeg Burn. I couldn't see a way across the river here - hardly worth risking it given there is a footbridge a few 100 metres further on.


Luibeg Burn with Carn a' Mhaim behind
IMG_1685 20pct.jpg


Turned back as the drizzle was now turning to sleet. Thought I could avoid the quagmire at Derry Lodge by taking the track by the burn. What I hadn't realized was that it was a ford point to get across the burn here. Rather than waste 10 minutes and bog I just strode across - hell, I was wet enough already. Water didn't reach my knees so a decent result in my book.

Blasted back to the car park as the sleet turned to snow, passing lots of folk on the way. When I had arrive the temperature was 4C. Now it was zero and the snow was pretty heavy, though it wasn't settling. But by the time I got to Braemar it was back to drizzle.

And sorry for the poor quality of photos - I'd left the white balance for indoor and given the conditions didn't spend much time on getting decent shots.
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Re: Derry Lodge MTB recce

Postby mountain coward » Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:44 am

Ah one of my favourite glens... Glen Derry... Personally, I think riding those draining ditches is more trouble than it's worth and it can't do your front wheel and spokes any good either... I just find it quicker to walk up the glen after the Lodge. But it's all personal preference I know.
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Re: Derry Lodge MTB recce

Postby LeithySuburbs » Sun Nov 14, 2010 12:31 pm

Cloud cover / snow / dark heather makes for awkward photographic conditions even when you do remember to set the WH. Good to hear about the bike-ability of these routes as I still have to do many hills from this side :) .
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Re: Derry Lodge MTB recce

Postby kinley » Sun Nov 14, 2010 12:38 pm

Looks a decent day out of the house.

Was wondering what'd happened to your pics.

I've walked that road so many times - it's one of my "wish I had a bike places" :lol:
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Re: Derry Lodge MTB recce

Postby malky_c » Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:49 pm

Good effort getting as far as you did - like MC, I've never bothered cycling beyond the lodge. The Luibeg can be interesting to cross even by the bridge - the path up to it becomes very indistinct. I remember walking into Corrour Bothy in a howling gale with loads of drifting snow one January night - getting to the bridge was one of the hardest parts of the walk-in. On the way back out the next day (in the dark again), we just ploughed straight through the Luibeg to avoid the hassle!

I have some sympathy with the cyclists you met. I was off to Strathpeffer earlier today and got a puncture about 10 miles outside Inverness. Fixed it but it blew again - inner tube completely split :?
Had to get my wife to pick me up. May well start carrying a spare tube as well as a repair kit in future :lol:
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Re: Derry Lodge MTB recce

Postby mountain coward » Sun Nov 14, 2010 4:14 pm

I quite often carry a spare inner tube... Which crossing of the Luibeg do you mean Malky? The one before Carn a' Mhaim had a bridge last time we were there...
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Re: Derry Lodge MTB recce

Postby malky_c » Sun Nov 14, 2010 4:32 pm

The one at the limit of Alastair's route in that direction. The bridge is there, but it is a bit of a way upstream of the main path. I've been up that way 3 or 4 times now (admittely not in about 4 years) and I've never found much of a path to the bridge - just a load of bog.
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Re: Derry Lodge MTB recce

Postby mountain coward » Sun Nov 14, 2010 4:43 pm

Oh yeah - I see what you mean - when we were there it was pretty dry so we were okay... in fact, you could really have just crossed the river at that time
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Re: Derry Lodge MTB recce

Postby pysifr » Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:24 pm

Please don't waste your time with Sealskinz gloves: they are useless. I bought a pair two years ago for walking/biking, and returned them after an afternoon in the rain - hands soaked and cold. They sent me a different type of replacement - intended for biking - equally useless, then they sent a third pair - also useless - but I still have them. I have heard others say the same about the gloves. The socks - the jury is still out - it is suggested that it is really your boots protecting the socks that keep your feet dry. Because I thought the water might be running off my jacket onto my skin and down inside the gloves, I made sure my jacket was well pulled down and velcored tight around the cuffs - it made not a whit of difference - 30 mins in the rain and hands are soakedI
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