This is the Old Road to the Isles and part of an ancient right of way from central Scotland to Fort William and beyond. I can confirm that the "path" by the Uisge Laibhair isn't worth doing, all but unrideable. Most of Scotland’s bothies could be described as remote, but at 8.5 miles from the nearest public road, you could say Ben Alder Cottage is one of the loneliest you’ll find. Getting onto the Lochside trail involves a diversion away from the Lodge. At one point there is a highly dubious looking suspension bridge which takes you over the Allt Chaoil Rheide (more of this river later), (2020 Edit - there was a sign near Culra indicating this bridge was 'Out of Order'. 01540 670000. 01796 481568 With Scotland’s 10th largest loch, Loch Ericht, five Munros and some of Scotland’s most pristine scenery, Ben Alder Estate’s luxury lodges are an ideal setting for truly memorable holidays. Turn right, 3 miles to Kinloch Rannoch. There is a wee patch of woodland alongside the second of the lochs which is a good stopping point. In 2018 I did it as an evening / morning overnighter which was equally entertaining. From here its fairly good going down to the start of the onward route. Follow the double track north west until you leave the forestry and climb up to nigh on 450m. You've then got 2k of bog trotting. Ben Alder - Routes If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. The beach looked tempting but I had a quicksand incident here previously so stayed clear..... From Ben Alder Cottage you start on 10 miles of divine single track. South to north is probably marginally better as the climb is all rideable and the descent seems longer (its not, in fact Culra bothy is about 50m higher than BA cottage). The descent to Culra Bothy seemed to go on for ever. From here the gradient eases although its rough going. Avoid the track heading up the hill heading for the Munros as you really want the one down by the river. We've done most of those tracks and circuits, just the Loch Ericht shoreline and the Allt Cam tracks to get the full set. Around Loch Ericht. It should still be possible, but so far has defeated me! You haven't climbed Carn Dearg (Corrour) yet. Looking north east along Loch Ericht, Ben Alder with its head in the clouds. Water is, however, in plentiful supply. If you want food there is a good cafe at Rannoch Station as well as a Hotel. I'm not about to bang on about safety or navigation or kit choice as per normal guides because as far as I'm concerned its up to you to sort this out. Above was the most snow recorded in a generation but only a skier or mountaineer would have realised this. I bivvied here in 2018 doing this circuit as an overnighter. Confession time, I've not actually done this despite several attempts all foiled by rubbish weather. Not all of this is a walk, especially if your on a fat bike, so its worth it if things are reasonably dry. In August it was very damp and I've done it since when its been nigh on bone dry. I did this in October '15 starting at Rannoch and it was dryer than when I did it on the above mentioned tour in the August. It was actually drier than when I passed through here in August and presented no problems for the ICT. With Scotland’s 10th largest loch, Loch Ericht, five Munros and some of Scotland’s most pristine scenery, Ben Alder Estate’s luxury lodges are an ideal setting for truly memorable holidays. This was one of those fat bike 'moments' as a normal bike would have been hopelessly bogged down through this stuff whereas the fatty rolled through the lot. Overlooking the 20-mile long narrow stretch of Loch Ericht in the Scottish Highlands, it enjoys a remoteness today which makes it a The top after about 3/4rs of an hour of steady climbing - its a great piece of landscape here with the path going through a double pass, Ben Alder on the right. The old lodge is also a top bivvy spot, I'm here on a tour north. The track runs out at the end of the loch and the marked path is another vague boggy none line. Head up on the Loch Pattack track and look for a left turn (signed to Loch Ericht) about 100 metres past the lodge. Next up is the Bealach dubh trail, then roll out alongside Loch Ericht to Dalwhinnie. The trail starts right at the bothy and its immediately good - a narrow gravel path winding up alongside the Allt Chaoil Rheide. You are now in the middle of the area and able to contemplate all of the views around you. It’s a remote bothy by the standards of the Central Highlands, concealed beneath the bulk of Ben Alder on the shores of Loch Ericht. Stage 16, Tuesday 25 May 2010: Rannoch to Ben Alder Cottage, 12 miles (10 on route) My long-time walking partner Dave Travers journeyed up to Rannoch … This is a bit overgrown in places so keep an eye on your GPS as I managed to lose it at one point and stumbled around for a bit to find it again. As it was we were too knackered to contemplate a big climb over a trail of unknown provenance so rode out to Ardvericke and followed the road to Newtonmore instead. Covering some 68000 acres stretching from Loch Rannoch to Dalwhinnie. Hopefully this will serve to help people get out there and enjoy the great outdoors as seen from a bike seat. Down we raced to Loch Rannoch then at Bridge of Ericht we cheated and took the hydro road up to Loch Ericht. At this point I'd not much idea what I'd be in for other than what a mate had said i.e. The bridge is a significant technical challenge but the Author feels that if you can't manage this, you shouldn't be here. There are a couple of bits that have washed into the loch and have been re-aligned but a couple of bits haven't. This is a top view point and should be enjoyed! It will also help me remember where I've been over the years! As well as the above there are two through routes (well one and a half as they both start at the same point) either on the Highland Trail 550 route to Lagan or else as a means of getting into the Cairngorms via Dalwhinnie. Ben Alder Estate Dalwhinnie Inverness-shire PH19 1AE. There is a small island in the river perfect for a pitch up. OS50: 042 (Glen Garry & Loch Rannoch) OS25: 050 (Ben Alder, Loch Ericht & Loch Laggan) OS25: 385E (Rannoch Moor & Ben Alder) OS25: 393 (Ben Alder, Loch Ericht & Loch Laggan) Notes & comments. AbeBooks.com: Rannoch Moor and Ben Alder: Loch Rannoch (Explorer Maps) (9780319133620) by Ordnance Survey and a great selection of similar New, Used and … For that reason I'm not going to try to post up maps or detailed route finding notes. Track at the end of Lochan Earba under water. Hear pronunciation Press to hear pronunciation Carn Dearg is a remote peak between Rannoch Moor and the Ben Alder range, above Loch Ossian. At the end of the loch just opposite the YH turn left on a new (in 2017) track which climbs back eastwards away from the loch. There is a new cafe in the closed hotel which provided toasties, scone and coffee (sat outside in the sun!) Her first foal Maddy was born in February 2019 and is one of the best young fillies we have ever bred. OS maps show the end of the double track here but it continues to 494655. So that's all for lecturing, onto the riding! After a leisurely drive to Loch Rannoch I abandoned the car and headed north through the woods near the head of the loch towards Loch Ericht, Top of the climb out of Loch Rannoch looking West towards Blackwater res and the arse end of the Aonach Eagach. The trail then improves and you descend down to loch Beithe where the trail improves again, finally descending back down to culra on another fab built path. The views are fab and there is plenty of scope for bivvies. Ben Alder Weather (Days 0-3): The weather forecast for Ben Alder is: A light covering of new snow mostly falling on Wed afternoonFreeze-thaw conditions (max 2°C on Wed afternoon, min -6°C on Tue morning)Wind will be generally light. Just before the pass summit I decided to turn left on a path shown on the map. Lower section of the trail. Above 500m seems to be the point that you go from wet slushy crappy snow to full on mountain winter conditions. I'd trudged along there when you rescued me near Corrour.The only one you haven't mentioned is the one to the NW of Loch Pattack, might be the only option if the dodgy bridge goes and the river is high.What's the track like on the south shore of Loch Ericht? The last 2k as shown on the map is a lot rougher and not really worth it unless you want to push right through the missing bit to link up with a track that takes you round to the Lochan Earba track. Only do this if its been dry for a bit would be my advice. The route starts out easy - down Loch Ericht over and across to Culra, over the Bealach Dubh / Cumhain to Ben Alder Cottage. The other main approach to Ben Alder - though it lacks the drama of the Leachas ridges - is … The descent to the bridge is a free for all, see a line, ride the line. Its an absolute cracker of a circuit and best of all, you pass almost no civilisation (barring the odd remote house) on the whole route. Over small bridge, 300m Camusericht Lodge is on your right up a short drive. In front of you is one of many Scottish geological marvels - a wide strath at 400m altitude running pretty much bang on 90 degrees to the main Glen Garry / Drumochter Strath. The main path keeps climbing until it passes below a crag at its high point of just over 750m. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. Ben Alder Circuit from Loch Rannoch I had to cash in on the unseasonably good weather so decided to head for my latest playground - the Ben Alder area. The last time I tried it was sunny but a late fall of snow would have made it a schlep. Head west along the road to the obvious right turn into the forestry at 507577. They also get annual maintenance! After a leisurely drive to Loch Rannoch I abandoned the car and headed north through the woods near the head of the loch towards Loch Ericht So your next move is to reverse this. One last climb followed by a gentle descent back to Loch Rannoch overlooked by Schiehallion. First up is the path shown on the OS that goes up the Allt Cam. Rannoch Station is connected by road to Kinloch Rannoch. It would also make a good camp spot although annoyingly there is a fire site here. For the adventurous there are a number of biking opportunities in this area and some truly classic through routes. Don't quite reach the road but turn left back on yourself on the smooth motorway standard track which takes you into the forest. Thereafter its a good doubletrack descent back to the road and your start point. The descent is a bit marginal but a hoot on a fatbike in 6" of freshies. The summit, looking down to Loch Ossian (This was taken on a trip I did in May 2016). The path on the west side of Loch Pattack does go but its pretty overgrown. You could use the bridge if the burn was up and then walk down stream to pick up this track (which follows the line of the path shown on 1:25k maps) with dry feet. There are a few that have bigger gaps but my view is that as we are in the mountains, get over it and get that front (and back) wheel airborne. Just be sure of your river levels though! Blair Trekking Centre Set in the grounds of Atholl Castle. Below 500m we did. Keep right for maximum chance of dry feet. Follow the above route but instead of descending to the river to cross, keep along the excellent path. If your planning on doing this circuit as a 2 dayer and want to stop here, best book in advance. Its a quick descent but not steep. Take either of two left turns to take you all the way up Strath Ossian to Corrour Shooting Lodge (this is all obvious on the map). The view northeast showed just how far I had travelled: The view southwest looked out across Rannoch to the distant hills beyond. The trail dumps you on the main Lochan Earba track. If I'm going to carry my bike up to 840m I want to have a view off the top. Its not too bad and I did once do this on a Salsa Fargo so don't be put off as its only 1.5k. Approaching Loch Ossian, with the huge bulk of Ben Alder in the distance: At the back of the Lodge take the path (NN413697) along the Uisge Labhair. Theoretically you can avoid this burn crossing and stick to the north side of the loch but this is a very rough and little used path, so will likely be a push. As above there is a through route option if you are willing to risk a rather drastic hike-a-bike section. The following morning the rain had gone and the sun was looking like making an appearance. My first close encounter with these hills was in 2003 when me and two pals rode from Fort William to Newtonmore in one (for those days) long day. Typical trail shot looking back towards Culra. Cheers BobThe path along the south shore is very boggy apparently - a mate has taken a D of E group along here and won't do it again. Follow the obvious singletrack through the woods above the lodge, its sundry buildings and the underground heli pad (I kid you not!). This long (9km) thin loch usually gives the opportunity to sail along and conserve energy for a truly stunning river lies at the end. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Rannoch Moor and Ben Alder (OS Explorer Map Series): Loch Rannoch A1 Edition by Ordnance Surve published by Ordnance Survey (2007) at Amazon.com. Instead, go downstream a bit and look for the track on the far bank, not shown on the map. Get on this as its the best route to the bridge. If you are doing it as a there and back again stop just before the burn when you can see the kissing gate into the dodgy section. In other words follow the now familiar (and as used in the Highland Trail) track up and over to Loch Ericht, bog hop to Ben Alder Cottage, over the pass to Culra and then back out to Dalwhinnie. If you do decide to push through, its around 4k of difficult going. Watch your nav through the missing bit, I followed my nose from the end of the marked path and this seems to be where most people are going as when you join a wee side burn there is a path of sorts. Top of the climb looking west over to Blackwater Reservoir (the furthest away one) and the Glencoe hills. the trail was a good one. I'm not sure who did the work across the Ben Alder estate but clearly they got a different brief from what the NTS provide. And looking back the way you've just come. This is pleasantly rough after the main access track but still level and easy to the YH. Top tip - keep to the right until a short plank bridge, its dryer and smoother. If your familiar with the principals of Upland path management you'll know these terms and what they mean. Its a great train journey so whilst your up here, do it! Covering some 68000 acres stretching from Loch Rannoch to Dalwhinnie. and should be on anyone's Scottish mountain biking to do list. If you look at an OS 1:50k map of the area you'll figure it all out easy enough. The track rolls out to the road and then you turn left and head east to the start of the track described in the previous section. If you are doing this circuit as an overnighter then this is an obvious choice for a stopping point and there are plenty of good camping spots nearby if the bothy is busy. Over the last few years I’ve come to love this area. BEN ALDER is a particularly beautiful and attractive mountain. The bottom section steepens somewhat with a few pitched sections but it all goes right to the Bothy. It can be climbed either from either Corrour or Rannoch stations on the West Highland line. More luxury accommodation - Duinish bothy. Loch Eighaech and snow-capped mountains south of Rannoch Forest Camusericht Lodge is situated in an elevated and private position off the main road, with southerly views over Loch Rannoch and beyond to Glen Lyon. Also remember to smirk at all the suckers driving on the A9..... At Dalnaspidal lodge turn right down a double track to Loch Garry. The next challenge was to cross the Allt Cam which was a shoes and socks off job. In about three hours time you'll be at the notch at the top of this glen looking back down to your present location. Another section of vague path / bog lead to my third bothy of the day at Duinish. Anyway your now on a long, long climb to Corrour old lodge. I've never actually stayed here but its a belter. All the trails are on Open Street maps too. Beyond this the track deteriorates somewhat and about 1k of it is rather boggy. You can miss this bit out by way of the single track to Culra Bothy and the track back from this. After the deer fence on the left stops is the boggiest bit. If you are determined to push through then be warned the next two hundred metres are tricky. The reason I say magic relates to my skiing expeditions. I was heading through this area on the way back to where I'd left my car from Aviemore. We rode out of Corrour estate and along Lochan Earba, the Ben Alder hills to our right. I’d long wanted to visit Ben Alder Cottage. This is a good one so well worth a visit. Approaches are long from any direction; Corrour Station gives the nearest access from the west, whilst it is possible to approach from Loch Rannoch in the south. After a short while I passed through wet snow then deeper and dryer snow overlaying some seriously wet ground. Its shown on OS maps as a single track and used to be hard going in all but the driest of weather but was upgraded in 2016/17 as part of one of many micro hydro schemes that the estate has implemented hereabouts. From Rannoch station, he set off on the 10-mile trek to Ben Alder, at 4,000ft one of the highest mountains in the central Highlands. I've not actually got many pics of this route, simply because I'm usually enjoying myself too much to take photos! For a bit more adventure there are two trails that are effectively dead ends (unless you are feeling really adventurous!) The plan had been to ride over Bealach Leamhain to Loch Pattack, then out to Dalwhinnie, thence to Newtonmore by NCN 7. Rannoch Moor and Ben Alder (OS Explorer Map Series): Loch Rannoch by Ordnance Surve A1 edition (2007) The item Rannoch Moor & Ben Alder : Loch Rannoch : the essential map for outdoor activities represents a specific, individual, material embodiment of a distinct intellectual or artistic creation found in Rannoch Moor & Ben Alder : Loch Rannoch : the essential map for outdoor activities represents a specific, individual, material embodiment of a Follow road through the village and along the north shore of Loch Rannoch then 9 miles along the loch side to Bridge of Ericht. I'd plotted a route starting and finishing at Dalwhinnie (inspired by reading other accounts on the net) and taking in Loch Garry, Loch Rannoch and Loch Ericht. Ben Alder Cottage - one of Scotlands top bothies. In clear weather the views to Ben Alder and Loch Rannoch are worth every pedal stroke. My only comment is that you pass the magic 500m mark a few times on the routes described here. This one is 78 miles and when I did it in a oner in 2016 took me 9 hours. Steep rock slabs, big steps and two annoying kissing gates are the challenge. However its a popular spot for D of E groups and trekkers so don't get too carried away. They are short though. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. This is a bit harder than the Allt Cam path but its well worth it for the views alone. This is the first iffy bit. Technical challenges come in the form of various burn crossings and assorted random rock features. A rougher but dryer path is to the right. A fine evening in 2018 looking west to the Glencoe hills. From there, Loch Ericht can be seen almost in its entirety. Thereafter is a similarly steady but long descent down to the Allt Eigheach. Eventually the path coalesces out of the tussocks and climbs steeply up towards loch Leamhain. As well as great scenery there are some fabulous trails offering the full range of riding experiences. I wasn't able to check it out so be-warned, you may have to go via Culra for this route) The worst bit of the track is just after this, thereafter it climbs away from the loch and over to the Allt Cam. Alighting at Rannoch, we will navigate a network of trails and paths through the estates of Corrour and Ben Alder to reach another train station at Dalwhinnie, on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park. On the climb into Strath Ossian, looking east. From Dalnaspidal I left the A9 behind and headed south by Loch Garrry in the late afternoon sun. I figured the Allt Cam would be epic given the rain we'd had so this seemed a better prospect. You descend a bit on a super narrow line then climb again for a short section to the Bealach Cumhann. As a starter for ten herewith is the basic description of a 50 miler start-able from either Dalwhinnie or the west end of Loch Rannoch..... Do this clockwise and ideally start at Rannoch but it works fine from Dalwhinnie. However doing it as a there and back again would be an excellent use of about 3 - 4 hours or so. The magnificent Ben Alder Estate is located in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Bear right again heading for the Coille Doir-ath. Mostly wide, firm but uneven gravel surface. If you look at a large scale OS road map of Northern Scotland your eye maybe drawn to a large area of wilderness bounded by the A9, A86, A82 A85 and A827 with only a couple of C roads and the B road alongside Loch Rannoch intruding into the southern area. I had a wee diversion at the lodge to the loch shore via another fine piece of singletrack and then back tracked to follow the easy track to Dalwhinnie. The area is rich in natural and cultural history on top of the rather gorgeous scenery and offers a lifetime of exploration! The hot tip is to stick to the middle as although this looks the worst, there is a firm base under the gloop whereas either side its bottomless. In 2014 most people thought we had a mild and snow free winter. That said incorporating it into a circuit is tricky. I got to Culra Bothy around 7 and it was raining torrentially, hence me ignoring the closed signs and spending the night in the main room. You've either got to do the above, do the equally hard Ben Alder tour or include it in one of two epic circuits (more later!) Nice one Phil! Technically its harder this way but all good stuff and there are no significant challenges. Supplies are available at Dalwhinnie from the petrol station and a small cafe that operates out of the old hotel. At one point the argo track crosses the marked line up a steep bank. It typically takes 20 to 30 minutes from here to the bothy so don't sweat it. As the slope you are crossing steepens things get more interesting but its all rideable with a modest amount of technical skill. Its then a case of fighting your way up the bank on any likely looking line. Best of all, waterbars (those lines of rocks across the trail to divert surface water) are few and far between, a sure sign of a designer who knew their shit. From here take the track on the east side of Loch Ossian. Newtonmore Riding Centre Riding, trekking and instruction available. And why would you go that way when the main trail is such a joy. The total length of this single track (Ben Alder Cottage to the double track above Pattack) is 16k, if you want more you have to go to Fisherfield..... One of the appeals of this area is the scope for short circuits, easy ride in / ride out trips (a perfect break from the drudgery of the A9 if you are heading north) but there are also a couple of classic big day rides. Many parts of the WLA are of high scenic valueiii, recognised by being within the Ben Nevis and Glen Coe National Scenic Area (NSA), the northern edge of the Loch Rannoch and Glen Lyon NSA, the Ben Alder, Laggan and Glen Banchor Special Landscape Area (SLA), and overlapping with the Cairngorms National Park in the far east. This is worth a miss as its not really on the ground and the terrain is rough boulder strewn peat hags. This (roughish) track goes for about 2k before it climbs up into the hills. This post is meant as a guide to this area by way of describing some of the rides I've done there in the last few years. Yet another blog about someones biking adventures. I'll not bother describing them as the above covers all of the bits and a GPX of the HT550 is freely available. Glaciers, we salute you. The approach to the Bothy, Ben Alder Cottage involved a 14km cycle ride, from the lonely Loch Rannoch, then a few KMs hiking across a bog. Cairn 15m E at NN 49633 71847 may be as high Be warned, you need all your food with you. the reverse of the first route described in this post) and then down along the lochs to their end. Today it was pretty easy. Map #385 has two sides. So be warned and take the right kit. Marina, Loch Rannoch Hotel Boat Hire, white rafting and canoeing. It will also help me remember where I've been over the years! Its all pretty easy excepting the crossing of the Alllt Chamhlain. When you get there look to the North East up the narrow glen. Despite the rain the previous evening (and a generally wet summer) it was dry and stony. (this bit is my favourite section on the descent) Its one of those trails that you expect to peter out round every bend but just keeps going. Anyway following the path is well worth it and it makes for a very nice easy descent on the way back. This was my first time south to north of the Bealach dubh trail. And then there’s Ben Alder Cottage, the haunted one. Keep straight on what is now a nice made single track. It was being signed as a Diversion during the Pattack hydro scheme works but no-one was using it. I first did this trail as part of a lengthy tour which actually included the Western Isles. Its all rideable until the last bit of the climb where the gradient will likely defeat you unless your running a 20/50 granny gear. Not exactly fat bike terrain but I've become quite proficient at dealing with headwind pavement climbs on the beast - just sit back and relax and don't try to pedal too hard. Where the glen widens out there is a good camp / bivvy spot. Other than that its a peach. Ben Alder and Glen Garry As a starter for ten herewith is the basic description of a 50 miler start-able from either Dalwhinnie or the west end of Loch Rannoch..... Do this clockwise and ideally start at Rannoch but it works fine from Dalwhinnie. I'd thought about just doing a lap of the Lochan Earba / Loch Lagan double track but on reaching the bottom of the Bealach Leamhain trail decided to give it a go. I've done it on a fat bike and its fine so relax and enjoy the views ready for the next great trail. Rannoch Moor and Ben Alder (OS Explorer Map Series): Loch Rannoch by Ordnance Surve A1 edition (2007) on Amazon.com. The magnificent Ben Alder Estate is located in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. So that's about it. Being a path nerd I know more than is good for me but its always interesting to compare construction styles across Scotland. Ossian Youth hostel - a very lonely place but accessible by train so quite popular. Camusericht Lodge is situated in an elevated and private position off the main road, with southerly views over Loch Rannoch and beyond to Glen Lyon. Most of the rest, by accident or the design of a mountain biking upland path designer, have enough of a kick from the rocks either side of the gap to enable an easy jump over them. Dry and narrow with only the odd burn crossing to interupt progress and provide a wee technical challenge. 2014 had been dry all the way through Autumn so this day it was fine. Another good there and back again ride is the trail alongside Loch Ericht beyond Ben Alder Lodge. As usual the last mile to Ben Alder Cottage was the hardest as we struggled through the black quagmire with bikes over the shoulder. If the above looks a bit drastic but you want to explore the area, then just ride up the various bits of double track and back again. Some grassy sections with exposed tree roots and … Nav is simple - start at Dalwhinnie, head down Loch Ericht, Over to Loch Pattack, down the river and cut round west to Lochan Earba (i.e. Before this you have to cross a small burn which this day was more iffy than the Allt Cam:-. Then comes the exciting bit. This is one of the biggest areas of wilderness in the British Isles and only loses out to the Cairngorms due to it being bisected by the West Highland Rail line and a few remote lodges. Keep going down to the end of Loch Laggan. So its now an easy surface which (yes) you. Hopefully this will serve to help people get out there and enjoy the great outdoors as seen from a bike seat. Basically you carry straight up the hillside behind the cottage (there is a path marked but no single clear line on the ground) until you top out on the Bealach Breabag at 840m.