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The High Mountains of Britain & Ireland The Munros - Scotland's Highest Mountains The Munros and Tops Magic of the Munros Wilderness Walks The Munros - Scotland's highest mountains Scottish Mountains - 100 Best Routes Hamish's Mountain Walk

"Get on your bike to collect Munros"

A second-hand, single-speed push-bike, cannibalized from other old wrecks, proved well worth its 10 purchase price in the time and effort saved in accessing some of the remote Munros embedded in the eastern Highlands. Although starting points for ascents lie close to estate roads or farm tracks these are generally unsuitable for access by private car, either being too rough or barred with locked gates, but perfectly feasible by bicycle - not necessarily of the expensive and complex, multi-geared, mountain-type variety. Local hiring is an option - take a test spin, ensure the tyres are fully inflated and that the saddle is the correct height before setting off into the wilderness - a repair kit is a wise precaution.

The slight uphill gradients on the way in can be somewhat laborious, not to say uncomfortable, for an unaccustomed pedaller however this is more than compensated by extensive, exhilarating, albeit bone-shaking, free-wheeling stretches on the return downhill - strong wrists and good brakes are essential.

Bicycle at roadhead

From the wooded Linn of Dee at the bend of the dog-leg road from Royal Braemar a lengthy, gently-rising track leads alongside the river to White Bridge at the confluence of the Dee and the Allt an t-Seilich. Turning off to the south to the Red House before resuming westwards it is possible to continue on two wheels to reach the ruins of Geldie Lodge for the start of the climb to An Sgarsoch deep in the heart of vast, desolate moorland. Descending from the neighbouring Carn an Fhidhleir ( also known as Carn Ealar ) I was relieved to find my bike undisturbed in its hiding place in the heather - it would have been a long and tedious 10 miles foot-slogging back to the roadhead.

Cairngorms from Carn an Fhidhleir ( Carn Ealar )

On another outing I retraced the route to White Bridge but then headed on into Glen Dee to make a ski ascent of the isolated Beinn Bhrotain - one of several combined, bike-and-ski assaults on Munros enabling day trips to remote peaks even in the shorter days of the Scottish winter.

Bicycle and Skis

Further along the scenic road from Linn of Dee, towards Mar Lodge, a level pathway provides a fast cycle route to Derry Lodge ensconced at the foot of a high-level circuit of Derry Cairngorm, Ben Macdui and Carn a' Mhaim - a mere fraction of the great cairngorm massif fringed with rugged crags and corries.

Snowbound summit cairn on the Cairngorm plateau

Proceeding beyond Derry Lodge it is a harder, steeper ride to continue through the pine forests into Glen Derry to gain access to the twin-topped Beinn Bhreac - another of the many far flung summits amenable to ski ascents.

The finest and most picturesque of the plentiful runs in the area begins at the end of the road from Braemar to Linn of Quoich along the estate track meandering through the woods of Glen Quoich beside the tranquil Quoich Waters to reach the starting point for the grind up to the spacious plateau of Beinn a Bhuird and on to its nearby companion Ben Avon - a prolonged and strenuous outing.

Getting on my bike also contributed to the collection of my final set of Munros on a two day excursion from Dalwhinnie when the long estate road on the banks of Loch Ericht was used to attain the slopes of a superb chain of secluded peaks - Carn Dearg, Geal Charn, Aenoch Beag and Beinn Eibhinn. The effort of the protracted but gratifying traverse of the undulating crest was compounded by a heavy backpack of spare clothes, food and cooking gear - the only time in my round of the Munros this had been found necessary - to enable an overnight stay in the reputedly haunted Ben Alder Cottage - conveniently located as a base for my last two Munros.

Despite being the sole occupant I was thankfully undisturbed by any ghosts or strange noises and refreshed from a sound night's sleep it was easy going next morning to the bealach above the cottage and along the broad, rounded ridge to claim Beinn Bheoil and a spectacular view of Loch Ericht.

Ben Alder from Beinn Bheoil

Retracing the route to the col I climbed the steep, broken escarpment above the deep void of Garbh Choire and the dark waters of Loch a' Bhealaich Bheithe to the trig point surmounting the stone-strewn summit-plateau of Ben Alder - one of Scotland's major peaks and, with its commanding outlooks over the magnificent, mountainous landscape, worth saving and savouring as a splendid culmination of my round of the Munros.

Exerting undue pressure on the pedals on an incline on the return to Dalwhinnie a cotter pin snapped and the bike became more of a liability than an asset - perversely there then seemed to be no downhill stretches. It was pressed back into service however on my tour of the Munros furth of Scotland in England, Wales and Ireland.

( The Commentator, The Glasgow HERALD, Saturday November 4, 2000 )


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Gairloch, Ullapool & Loch Maree OS Map Aviemore, Granton & Cairngorm Mountains OS Map

Torridon Map Kintail, Glen Shiel - Map Cairngorm - Map Arrochar Alps - Map Glasgow Popular Hills - Map Lochnagar & Glenshee - Map Skye, Storr & Trotternish - Map Skye - THe Cuillin The Munros Map Ben Nevis Map West Highland Way - Map Ben Nevis & Glencoe OS Landranger Map

Travel & Guide Books - Scotland:


The High Mountains of Britain & Ireland  Munros Tables SMC  The Munros - Scotland's Highest Mountains  Scotland - Lonely Planet  NW Highlands - SMC Guide  Exploring the Far NW of Scotland  Guide to Walks in NW Highlands

Walking in Scotland - Lonely Planet Mountain: Exploring Britain's High Places  National 3 Peaks Walk Scottish Highlands Hillwalking Guide The Scottish Islands Bouldering in Scotland

Scotland - Lonely PlanetScotland's Highlands & Islands - Lonley Planet Scotland's Highlands & Islands - Rough Guide Highlands & Islands of Scotland - Hidden Places Rough Guide ScotlandScottish Highlands & Islands - Rough Guide Rough Guide: Scotland Lonely Planet, Walking in Scotland Lonely Planet - Walking in Britain

50 Walks in Glasgow & SW Scotland 50 Walks in the Scottish Highlands & Islands 50 Walks in Edinburgh & Eastern Scotland 100 Walks in ScotlandVisit Scotland - Touring Guide Scotland: Where to Stay - Hotels & Guest Houses Scotland: Where to Stay - Bed & Breakfast Hillwalker: The MunrosHillwalker: The Corbetts

The Munros: Scottish Mountaineering Club The Munros and Tops The Corbetts - SMC Call of the Corbetts Munros & Corbetts Chart The High Mountains of Britain and Ireland Magic of the Munros The Munros - Scotland's highest mountains

Munro Almanac The Munros: Scottish Mountaineering Club Hamish's Mountain WalkThe Munros in WinterMy Scotland by Hamish MacInnes 50 More Routes on Scottish Mountains Scottish Mountains - 50 Classic Routes

The High Mountains of Britain and Ireland Scotlands 100 Best Walks Scottish Mountains - 100 Best Routes Big Walks of Great Britain Classic Walks in Britain & IrelandScottish Hill & Mountain Names Classic Mountain Scrambles in Scotland Classic Climbs - Central & Southern Highlands

Mountaineering in Scotland and Undiscovered Scotland by W.H.MurrayMore Wilderness Walks Wilderness Walks Wilderness Walks 2 - Video Ski Mountaineering in Scotland Ski Touring in Scotland Skye Scrambles The Cuillin

Skye - W.A.PoucherA Long Walk on the Isle of Skye 50 Best Routes on Skye and RaasayScrambles in Skye The CuillinsThe Isle of Skye

50 Best Routes on Skye and Raasay - Chris Townsend Pathfinder Guide: Skye and NW Highlands Walks Pathfinder Guide: Fort William and Glen Coe Walks Rambler's Guide: Ben Nevis and Glen CoeGlencoe Rock & Ice Climbing Scrambles in Lochaber Rock Climbing in Scotland Rock Climbing SkillsThe FACE: Six Great Climbing Adventures

Ben Nevis: Rock & Ice Climbs Great Snow & Ice Climbs of the British IslesTorridon: A Walkers Guide 100 Best Routes on Scottish Mountains From the Himalaya to Skye One Man's Mountains - Tom Patey A Mountaineer's Tale - W.H.MurrayDougal Haston: Philosophy of Risk

The Glens of Rannoch Cairngorm Glens Glens of Trossach Knoydart to Morven Scottish Glens: The Atholl GlensThe Isle of Arran The Isle of Arran Walking in the Hebrides

  Southern Highlands - MapNorthern Highlands Central Highlands West Highlands The Islands Central Highlands SMCNW Highlands SMC Central Highlands: Six Long Distance Walks

The Cairngorms Cairngorms, Lochnagar, Mounth - SMC Walks in the Cairngorms The Cairngorms of Scotland Cairngorms Walks Winter Climbs in the CaingormsCairngorms - Mountain Bike Guide

West Highland Way: Official Guide West Highland Way: Rucksac ReadersWest Highland Way: TrailblazerThe West Highland WayWest Highland Way: Footprint MapWest Highland Way - Map West Highland Way - Map 100 Hillwalks around Glasgow

Weather for Hillwakers & Climbers Mountain Weather Guide to the Weather Weather: Collins Gem Hillwalking Handbook for Mountain Leaders Hillwalkers Manual Hillwalkers Guide to Mountaineering First Aid on Mountains

All Mountain Skier Off Piste Mountain Travellers HandbookMountaineering: Freedom of the Hills Mountaineering: The Freedom of the HillsHistory of Mountain ClimbingWorld's most significant ClimbsClimbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World

Mountain Leadership Handbook of Climbing - Hamish MacInnes Rope Techniques: The complete guideMountains of the Mind - A history..Mountains of the Mind - ExperiencesMaps and guides from Maps Worldwide

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