Rocks and roots

The Ciaran Path

Readers of MBR will be familiar with the descent of the Ciaran Path into Kinlochleven, regualarly named their "Trail of the Year". We accessed the top by climbing the access road on the south side of the River Leven to Blackwater Reservoir. Eventually we realised that the flat concreted pipes made for easier ascending than the loose undulating track - we were clearly not the first bikes to do so! Crossing the dam was easier than we imagined as although there is a fence to stop you doing it is low and not spiky. From the dam's northern end you follow singletrack alongside more pipeline until the start of the Ciaran Path. The first part is ok - neither spectacular nor unpleasant. Then it gets loose - really loose, and massive rocks than you need speed to pass over. Think Chapel Gate (as was...) or Cavedale, but much longer. Occasionally it lets up, but not for long. There are two steep bedrock corners into river crossings, but these have massive exposure. There are two other worthwhile bits of bedrock riding. Then it starts going up! Fianlly the valley opens out and the last couple of kilometres were probably pleasant but by that stage we were too p*ssed off to enjoy it properly. P*ssed off with ourselves - for not being good enough riders to conquer the trail, p*ssed off with MBR for going on and on about how amazing this trail is, and p*ssed off with ourselves (again) for thinking that confidence on trail centres equated to an ability to ride natural trails. It took us as long to descend as it did to climb, at one stage I got caught up by some walkers. In summary, I cannot recommend this trail unless you are much much better than me! (And still, Scotland must have better hard trails to offer?)

Rating: 1, "Terrible route - avoid!".
Added: 2014-03-15 , Last updated: 2014-03-15
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