Tour of Ben Nevis – Day 2

A true wild ride, with a stiff 2.5km climb/push out of the bothy, then a technical descent into Lairig Leacach, followed by a seemingly never-ending descent towards Spean Bridge in alpine conditions (sun, track stretching away into the distance, grassy alps, and more sun!)

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Leaving Meanach Bothy

After the early departure of the other occupant, we organized ourselves and got cooking bacon butties to fuel the first hard stage of the day. The morning light was amazing, making the panorama spectacular.

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But eventually we committed to the climb. Firstly this was sketchy, with multiple options and no real path; but as we gained height, we found the steep, rocky path and got on with it.

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Down to Lairig Leacach Bothy

With the climb over, there was a promise that the rest of the day would be essentially downhill (more-or-less). Helmet and gloves on, point the bike downhill and enjoy! Amazing scenery!

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We take the chance for another (short) bothy stop.

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However, as architect of this expedition, the entry in the bothy book makes for frightening reading…

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Descent to the Forest

After a short pull over the watershed, we’re on an easier and enormous descent down to the forest below. It feels like being in the alps with the weather and scale of the mountains.

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Leanachan Forest

We take the shortest route through the Leanachan Forest, including a bit of guesswork for some of the new forest tracks not on the OS map (but that ended well for us). We finish along the old tramway, before descending via a blue trail centre route to the gondola station.

Back in “Civilisation”

From the gondola, and the first people we have seen all day, we head down to Torlundy, and the cycle path to Fort William. The last few kilometers back to the campsite are on the road, which is in total contrast to the wilderness riding of the rest of the trip. We’re all tired and dusty, but I’m still out in the road to prevent overtakes when we’re constrained by traffic islands!

Back at the campsite, it’s coke, ice cream and crisps all round, just to get some liquid, sugar and salt into our bodies. Then it’s time for a well-earned shower!

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