Singletrack: Munro bagging up Ben Macdui

Ride level Experienced cyclist
Distance 22 mi / 35 km
Type of bicycle Mountain bike
Traffic free
Circular route

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!