Chase The Wild Goose Hostel

Information on Great Glen Cycle Route

The Great Glen Cycle Route is fantastic! It might not be the toughest ride or the most technical or have the most single track but put the scenery, the location, the people, the villages and towns, the climbs and the descents together and that is one hell of a ride. Its difficult to pick out the highlights as its all so memorable, but here are a few of the best bits

The start at Neptunes Staircase,
Banavie is just a great place to be on or off a bike. Riding along side the Caledonian Canal on the path is a great warm-up and the views of Ben Nevis and Aonoch Mor are superb

Great Glen Cycle Route

Just after Laggan swingbridge theres a steep climb (we'd just had lunch so it felt a whole lot steeper!) which rewards you with a great view along Loch Oich. We arrived there to be able to save a couple of walkers from the horrors of self-timers on cameras. They returned the favour!

 The short steep climb from Invergarry consists of a loose surfaced man-made path consisting of a series of short switchbacks. Its not long but you struggle to the top, lungs bursting and crawl out onto the forest track from which there is one hell of a view and gives you a great excuse to rest and take it all in ( and get your lungs and legs back to some sort of working order!). This section ends with short but great piece of single track which spits you out at Oich Bridge.

The long road climb from Invermoriston to Achnaconeran was the only section that we all just pushed up. There was just no point in attempting to ride it. Added to that we were all a bit wet as the previous section had see our first proper rainfall. Spirits were flagging a little but then out of the blue we came across another sweet piece of steep single track descent which had me whooping for joy. I remember thinking that somewhere someone had had a great big grin on their face as they planned the route and thought - "About now should be enough climbing. Lets cheer them up!"
 From Alltsigh there is a 2 mile climb which for me was the hardest of the trip. Loose under wheel, it was one of those climbs where you look ahead and think that the top is just at the corner you can see. So you push on thinking you can rest when you get there only only to see the track carrying on into the distance. So on go (not daring not stop) and get to the next corner to see yet another distant corner! And someone put a bench half way up that hill - that just made it worse! But eventually I got there - a little after the other two (but I didn't need as long to rest of course.) But what goes up must come down and soon we we

dropping down the side of the mountain on a loose track that was clinging to the side of the hill. To the right was the steep wooded drop to Loch Ness below and I did briefly contemplate the inadequacies of my education in not equipping me with the ability to calculate how far I would travel outwards before being skewered by a Scots Pine!

We had great weather and that upped the enjoyment factor. It did rain a little on the 2nd morning but we were in the Highlands in April so were bound to get a wee bit wet!

As I've said the whole route was superb. I understand that the the cycle way is no longer being promoted or maintained as a route, due to concerns over mtb-ers simply passing through and a desire to promote the growing number of trail centres in the area. In my view that's a mistake. We went specifically to do the through route. We spent our money in several of the villages and towns we passed through. Would we have spent three nights and four days in the region on a centre based trip? I doubt it.

A quick word about our accommodation. I've not stayed in a hostel before, but was very impressed with both the Chase the Wild Goose Hostel at
Banavie, just outside Fort William and especially Morag's Lodge in Fort Augustus. Morag's has a bar - but double check the closing time to make sure you don't go disappointed as we did. Recommended in Inverness is Ardross House guest house which did a great breakfast too.

Recommended pubs for food and beer include the Lochy in Caol, across the road from Banavie, the Castle Tavern in Inverness (opposite the approach to the castle - and what was it about the young 'uns and their large exhausted cars that meant they kept driving in and out of the castle grounds?). The Great Glen Water Park restaurant did the business for lunch between Forts William and Augustus.

And when in Inverness make sure you visit Hootenanny. Downstairs wasn't our cup of tea but try upstairs for something a bit wilder. The organic lager from Skye went down very well. A great way to finish off the trip!"

(ManMonkey April 2007)




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CHASE THE WILD GOOSE HOSTEL Banavie, Fort William, PH33 7LZ, Scotland Telephone: 07563 049068 © Copyright Amica Web Design 2020