This year I should have been off for two weeks in May walking coast to coast on the Great Outdoors Challenge but problems with my Achillies Tendons put a stop to that. I withdrew my entry and was gutted. My physio said I was allowed to cycle as much as I wanted- so I did and have been!
Next plan was to cycle the Hebridean way- the planning halted rather abruptly with the unforseen Covid 19 virus, so I canceled my two weeks holiday in May- I didn’t see the point spending two weeks at home with the odd bike ride here and there local from the house.
Recently I thought that perhaps taking using my holidays should be done before the busy time at my work from late August to Mid October, so I’ve had this week off just for a break and have booked a week off beginning of August.
Yesterday I headed inland and cycled to the top of a local hill called Ben Aigan at 471 meters above sea level.
I had done variations of this before, and there is quite a large amount of ascent starting from sea level with a fair number of ups and downs on the way.
I loaded up the bike with all the usual requirements for a day out and left the house at a half decent time of 9am.
From the house I cycled along the sea front for a couple of miles on a section of the Speyside Way. I had a welcoming light breeze to keep me cool. Plenty of wildlife on the coast- seals up on the rocks, a heron looking for it’s next meal not to mention plenty of Gulls.
I soon started heading inland and briefly onto the old railway line before joining a short section of road heading south inland.
Next up was a cycle along the quiet back roads by the Farm land at Enzie and Tynet. Hardly and traffice for a couple of miles and some flat roads before the first big climb up the hill through Fochabers woods.
The first major climb of the day wasn’t really steep or anything, but it does go on for some time, but rather a forestry track than a road. No wildlife count today- I sometimes see the odd Deer here, but nothing today apart from bird song.
The temperature was warming up and I was glad I decided to wear my light short sleeve top and lightweight cycling shorts. I never saw anyone during the whole climb up through the woods until I reached the car park at the other end- the way I like it, nice and quiet!
The next part of the ride was a short section of road to link my ride into the next forest. Again this was quiet- meeting only one car. At one side of the road the forest has been felled a couple of years back and there are large swathes of abundant Cotton Grass.
Shortly I was back in the forest- this time it was Ordiequish Woods. To get south through this forest, I had to link up some forest tracks and a short section of easy mountain bike trail which is great to ride on.
Shortly later I emerged on the small road between Mulben and Cairnty- this next section was less than a couple of miles long with a short steep drop and of course a short steep climb back up!
The next section was a gradual climb up a delightful single track path which links the tracks to the hill of Knockmore and Ben Aigen.
The big climbs were to follow after this- firstly was the inital climb to the summit of Knockmore which house the old T.V Mast and is now used for telecommunications.
Knockmore is an ajoining hill to Ben Aigan, so a short brief descent before one last grind up to the top of Ben Aigan. I passed quite a number of walkers heading up the hill.
There was still a welcome breeze, but it was warmer inland and on the final push on the climb to the summit of Ben Aigan, sweat was dripping into my eye and it was stinging, but I made it all the way up the final path without pushing.
First thing I though when I had reached the top was to put my windproof top on as I was intending on taking a fine long break. I did put my top on, but this didn’t last long as it was very warm- even with a breeze!
I unpacked my lightweight stove and proceeded to get a brew on the go. Whilst I was waiting for the stove to boil the water, I walked around the summit area taking pictures and looking for a suitable camping spot for my next return visit.
Water boiling, I poured my first cup of coffee. Such a fine a day- i sat at the summit taking in the views and speaking to a few walkers arriving at the top. such a fine day in fact, I decided to have another brew shortly afterwards!
Eventually I decided to pack the stove and hit the trail. From the summit I headed north down the steep path which joins the Speyside Way high above the river Spey. This track countours all the way round the side of the hill with good views where recent forest works have been taking place.
All too soon, I was back at the link up path which I had joined the forestry track previously and it was a case of retracing my steps for the first couple of miles or so.
I took a slightly different way back from here and took tracks through Ordiequish forest before descending to the town of Fochabers, where I stopped for a well deserved Ice Cream!
After that was the seven mile fairly flat run home through some more forest track and the final few miles along the coast road.
A fine day out was had and i was taking it slightly easier than usual, due to the fact that I knew there was a fair amount of ascent involved. All in all it was around 42 miles.
- Backpacking in SCotland
- Genesis Longitude
- Long Distance Walking
- mld trailstar
- outdoor gear
- revelate desings
- Scarp Tent
- TGO Challenge
- tgoc 2017
- The Dava Way
- The Great Outdoors Challenge
- The Great Outdoors Challenge 2017
- wild Camping