An undiluted mountain bike experience - if your body can take it
Lairig Ghru can give you an undiluted mountain bike experience that won’t be forgotten – so long as your body can take it!
This route is a full-on hike-a-bike route and will take ages and it won’t be an experience enjoyed by everyone. It is a ‘classic’ route but very much in the old skool pipe-lagging on top tube bike-carrying epic sense.
Please only attempt it if you’re experienced in big mountains and have plenty of fitness – and strength for all the bike carrying involved. DO NOT ATTEMPT in poor weather or in times of year with insufficient daylight hours. Also make sure you take plenty of spare clothing, full spares, first aid kit, toolkit, food and drink.
There is loads of bike-shouldering involved – we’d say at least a third of the route is a hike/carry – and the whole thing will take several hours.
Wide doubletrack allows the first few miles to fly by, punctuated only by gates. Then you cross the footbridge and ride into a clearing, where you’ll see the true height of the Cairngorms for the first time. Entering the older parts of Rothiemurcus Forest gives a hint of what the Highlands were once like, as you climb gently with the delicate crunch of pine needles under your tyres.
The singletrack descent is a rare delight, and its rocky, ridable terrain and low altitude combine to create an all-weather, all-year treat.
Rarely does a descent offer the same level of enjoyment to all skill levels of rider — two or three sections might see less experienced riders needing to take a look and have another go, but in all, this trail can be ridden as fast as you see fit. Sauntering downhill, stylishly carving the turns, and hitting your lines brings as much of a smile to your face as going at it full gas.