Glenlivet - From the low country to the highlands and beyond - CycleBlaze

August 31, 2018


Cairngorms national park

Bike Glenlivet is on today's agenda.

The word is that it's another boutique mountain bike park that Scotland does so well. We've been well looked after by our hosts - cooked breakfast, coffee, chats, a stroll around the estate - so it's late morning before we start the 90 minute drive back to the Cairngorms. 

The road slowly climbs as the trappings of civilisation fall away. Also falling away is the opportunity to sample a Scottish specialty. Bruce is totally focussed on getting to Bike Glenlivet - not Taste Glenlivet- so we drive straight past the turnoff to the renowned Glenlivet Distillery. Oh well, another year . . .

At the end of the long, twisty access road, we find a modern lodge containing the usual café and bike shop. The trail route signage shows just two trails - the expert red (22km) and the blue (9km). I'm true blue and Bruce is happy to ride with me today after having solo fun the other day at Comrie Croft. So we both take the blue pill - and have an absolute ball.

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The blue trail is a 9 km loop of undulating mountain biking bliss - fast, with lots of berms and wee jumps to add some Robyn-level thrills. It's so good that, once back at the bottom, we agree to repeat the loop. And the best thing about today's ride? We have the trails to ourselves - there's not another rider in sight. This isn't just an aesthetic concern. I'm slow and cautious on a mountain bike, especially downhill. My greatest bugbear is having to listen out for faster riders behind me, and then to pull over safely in time to let them pass. 

And the views are stunning
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A celebratory coffee-and-cake is called for before we leave late afternoon.  Today has been such a buzz and Bike Glenlivet is officially our favourite bike park ride so far.

Inverness is tonight's destination, where we're planning a three day stay. Our accommodation turns out to be a spotless modern apartment at the end of the owners' house. There's a washing machine and plenty of room to spread our gear across the floor . . .we'll be very comfortable here.

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Today's ride: 18 km (11 miles)
Total: 309 km (192 miles)

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