Summer Adventure Ride!
Ah summer time, those long days, a great chance to get out for a big biking adventure and not worry about the light fading or getting chilly. Well actually in Scotland it’ll still be a bit cold, but hey it’s still great to make the most of the longer days.
We love sharing our adventures with you so below we have detailed one of our favourite long summer bike rides which includes a fantastic lunch spot in quite literally the middle of nowhere – the Corrour Station House Cafe.
About 45 minutes by car from Aviemore you will find the Ardverikie Estate, the starting point for the ride to the Corrour Station House Cafe through the stunning Ardverikie and Corrour Estates. The ride is around 75 Kilometers in length depending on whether you choose to add the loop around Lochan Na h-Earba on your way back.
You are best to park in the lay by on the side of the A86 opposite the entrance to ‘Gallovie Farm’, once you have faffed about and got your bike/s ready start by riding a couple of Kilometers to the shore of Loch Laggan. I had only ever seen Loch Laggan from the car but it looked even more epic from the shores! The Loch looks as if it goes on for miles and miles and is surrounded by rugged hills and landscape.
Once at the Loch you follow a private Tarmac Road that sweeps through the Ardverikie Estate, it feels very ‘posh’ and lands you up at the Monarch of the Glen House properly known as Ardverikie House. It’s nestled in the trees on the edge of the Loch, it’s just as grand as it looks on TV!
Once at the end of Loch Laggan you can enjoy a quick blast downhill before entering Corrour Estate.
Upon entering Corrour you have a long sweeping climb up for about 30 minutes however look to your right and there is a stunning view of Laggan Dam and Craig Medagaigh – it makes the climb worth it!
Keep following the wide estate track for around 10 Kilometers through the forest and then suddenly the forest opens up and you are faced with stunning views of Strath Ossian – it’s truly epic as they say! Look behind you and you will also be able to see down the valley towards Laggan, where you started the ride.
Keep grinding along the fire road through the estate alongside the River Ossian and you will enter the forest again at Corrour Shooting Lodge, look through the trees and you will see the stunning Loch Ossian glistening at the foot of the mountains.
By now you will have clocked up about 35 Kilometers and your legs will probably be tiring but fear not, you’ve only got about 10 Kilometers to go before you reach the Cafe!
The ride along Loch Ossian was one of my favourite sections of the ride, the road follows the loch side surrounded by hills and if you look closely through the trees at the top of the loch you will see the spectacle that is Corrour Lodge – it looks like something from grand designs!
(Image taken from Google)
At the end of the Loch you pass the SYA Loch Ossian Hostel, look further ahead and you see the back of Scotlands Highest Mountain – Ben Nevis – simply stunning!
A couple of small hills and finally you will see the Corrour Station House, Scotlands Remotest Restaurant and Highest Mainline Railway Station.
A warm welcome awaits in the cafe, they have a great selection of lunches, meals, drinks and snacks and some comfy sofas to rest your tired legs! The Cafe is open 7 Days a week from 0830 – 2100, we would recommend that you try to time your arrival at the cafe where there is a not a train due, the only way to the cafe is bike, hike or train, so you may find it’s busier nearer to train arrivals and departures. Or if you are cycling out with a big group you can book ahead to ensure a table.
It took us around 3 hours to reach the cafe and after refuelling for about 2 hours we decided we best get on the bikes and get on our way again!
The ride is an ‘out and back’ style loop where you ride back the way you rode in, the best thing about this is that you will soon realise how high you climbed on the way in when you find yourself freewheeling most of the way back to Loch Laggan.
On arrival at Loch Laggan depending on how your legs feel you can either blast back along Loch Laggan or take a more ‘rugged’ route back past Lochan Na h-Earba. It doesn’t add much extra distance to the loop just the chance to check out some more great views. The track is slightly bumpier but still fairly wide, we crossed a little rickety bridge to the other side of the Lochan and followed a fun, fast singletrack along the Lochans – a lovely way to finish a long day!
The whole route is around 75 Kilometers give or take depending on which exact route you take past Loch Laggan. Allow yourself a full day for the ride, as mentioned, it took around 3 hours to get to the Cafe and there is about 900 meters total elevation for the day.
A hardtail bike or gravel bike would be the ideal bike for the ride, as the fire roads are mainly smooth and fast, so there is no need to slog along on a heavy full suspension bike. Remember that although there’s a cafe on ride you are really in the middle of nowhere, take plenty of bike spares, there are no bike shops out there that’s for sure.
A small map of the route is below, but remember this is only a guide, we always recommend that you plan your route in advance and are familiarise yourself with it. Always check the weather and take plenty of hydration, snacks and bike spares.