Biking the Lochnagar Five

On Tuesday we headed up to Glen Muick to do the five Munros around Lochnagar. We did the route in a clockwise direction, reaching the summit of Broad Cairn first, and Lochnagar last.

You begin by cycling along the land rover track from the Glen Muick car park, then reach a bridge to cross a burn which marks the start of the push up. The gentle track becomes a steep climb zigzaging the hill for about 150-200m of height gain. It doesn’t take long though and soon you are on the plateau and back in the saddle. From here you can ride right up until the last 200m of height gain up to Broad Cairn, where a section of boulder field must be crossed and a hike-a-bike is required. From the car park to summit of the first munro took us about 3.5 hours including a couple of breaks for food.

View of Loch Muick from Broad Cairn

Riding up towards Broad Cairn, Lochnagar behind

 Theres quite a fun rock slab to have a play about on leading off from the highest point of the hill for about 10 metres or so.

A short descent, plateau bash and climb leads you to the summit of Cairn Bannoch after about 20 minutes. Its another 20 minutes or so from here to the path contouring around Munro number three, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, where a further fairly steep push/carry takes you to the summit (5 hours from car park to here).

Cairn Bannoch Summit

Terrain between Cairn Bannoch and Carn an t-Sagairt Mor

 We just descended back down the way we went up to reach the path marked on the map, and traversed over to the climb up Carn a’ Choire Bhoidheach.

 The climb up Carn a’ Choire Bhoidheach is quite long, about 1km or so, and about 150m of height gain. We had to carry the bikes for some of it, and some of it was rideable. It would probably be fully rideable for those feeling fit! It took us around an hour to get between these two summits.

 Its quite simple to reach Lochnagar from here, a long ride along a flat plateau, followed by a small amount of pushing and plateau riding! We reached the summit of Lochnagar 7.5 hours after setting off.

The crags at Lochnagar
Final summit of the day

And now to the important bit – the big descent! Sadly I think it is over-rated. It may be one of the longest descents around (in Scotland anyway) but certainly not full of quality :( I’m sure many will disagree however. The drainage ditches – lots of them you can Bunny hop, but we had several offs for the ones that were rather massive, at a bad angle or were immediately before or after a step up. Once past the massive drainage ditch path, and down to the steepest part of the descent, a lot of it is unrideable. Not necessarily because its too technically challenging, but purely because our bottom brackets would smash into rocks, pedals get caught, or mech get ripped off!

It was still an awesome day out though despite the numerous rain showers and the torrential down pour, thunder and lightning we experienced on route back to the car park! Our shoes etc are still drying out now, 3 days later!