Tour of Ben Nevis – Day 1

A trip south down the West Highland Way, before heading north east above Kinlochleven into the wilderness to spend a night in Meanach Bothy.

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Climbing out of Glen Nevis

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Forest Singletrack

Once the climb was done, it was time for leaving the forest road and hitting the singletrack. This meant some ups-and-downs, some water bars (but not the too fierce puncture-inducing kind), and eventually steps and ladders!

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Along Lairig Moire

At the end of the singletrack section, we joined the old military road through Lairig Moire. Big skies and a long view of where we were headed led us to understand we were on a big adventure.

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Beyond the trees, and roughly 25% of the way into the day, we had run out of water. Finding a reasonably fast-flowing stream, we stopped for a rest, a drink, a brew and to refill our water bottles.

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Above Kinlochleven

Having been in the company of plenty of walkers on the West Highland Way, now was time to leave the company of people and venture out alone. As the WHW headed downhill to Kinlochleven, we continue on a high level, by the transmitter, on to Mamore Lodge and ultimately over the pass to Loch Eilde Mor, all the while with beautiful views back over Loch Leven and the hills of Glen Coe.

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Along Loch Eilde Mor and Loch Eilde Beag

The profile promised that after the steep climb, a short descent would lead to over 10km of flat riding alongside two lochs. The descent path, however, was pretty rough, and the prospect of similar ground on the flat would mean more hard work. Luckily, the ground improved (at least for the two of us on full suspension bikes), and the going wasn’t too bad at all.



Arriving at Meanach

After leaving Loch Eilde Beag, there was some increasingly rough and undulating track to follow, but the end was is sight, eventually literally. Meanach Bothy was in sight.


Before being able to get to the bothy, a river crossing was required. Luckily the hot and dry weather meant the Abhain Rath was very low, so we found a place to get into the river, and waded across. The ride had been so long and hot that once the bike had been safely put on the opposite river bank, it was back into the middle to fill and pour a couple of water bottle fulls over my head, drink a bottle and then fill the bottle to take to the bothy.

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The guys were looking weary…


Time for dinner, then early to bed.


We had one other occupant in the bothy: a guy who’d been there for a few days doing some walking. He didn’t seem to appreciate we were shattered, and wanted to know everything about everyone. Even later on, as two of the guys were trying to get some sleep, he was still trying to quiz them. To make matters worse, he was up at 3am to spend a couple of hours noisily packing for his early departure.


One thought on “Tour of Ben Nevis – Day 1

  1. It would be nice to do that route at a more sedate pace, I’ve only ridden the whole loop as a race before. That bothy is usually used as a BBQ feed station 🙂

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