Singletrack: Munro bagging up Ben Macdui
This route features in Singletrack magazine issue 150 as part of its Classic Rides series which Cycling UK supports. Cycling UK members can enjoy 50% off a print and digital Singletrack subscription.
Each year my friends and I take a trip to Scotland for a week during May bank holiday to enjoy the freedom of wild camping, the right to roam and Empire Biscuits. The tradition is to visit new places and our list was a healthy one this year. With plenty of safe choices (safe, meaning ‘built for bikes’) such as Glassie Bike Park in Aberfeldy, Tarland Trails in Aberdeenshire, and a good dose of technical woodlands in Dunkeld, we decided to tick off a Munro. It’s not a successful Scottish road trip if we haven’t enjoyed some large glacial formations and marvelled at the grip that granite offers.
Our chosen Munro is Ben Macdui, the second-highest mountain in Britain standing tall at 1,309 metres, a mere 36 metres shorter than Ben Nevis. We’ve got a loop that a local friend has confirmed is the best route for mountain bikes, though she did warn us that there’s still snow at the top of the mountain. The route is actually a lollipop with a bit of the stick poking out the top – that being the point at which we choose whether to touch the summit or decide the snow isn’t worth the 1 kilometre yomp to the cairn.
In choosing Ben Macdui we get a bonus Munro: Carn a’ Mhaim. This will be our summit around one-third of the way into our ride, and it peaks at 1,013 metres, followed by a ridgeline down the saddle towards our climb to Ben Macdui. Two Munros, a ridgeline, a granite playground and the promise of spectacular views in only 35 kilometres? Bargain!