For me working for my self usually forfeit's me the right to a summer holiday so I take mine at the beginning of winter. This year we went as far afield from Pitlochry as Dulnain Bridge 7 miles north of Aviemore in the highlands of Scotland. Just my way of helping us out of the economic down turn and spending the holiday pound in Scotland.
On Wednesday before all the snow arrived Frankencrosser (My converted 1993 cadex MTB)convinced me to throw a leg over the old girl and head out into the wildernes for some CX mini epic action in the northern Cairngorms. I started from our holiday let in Dulnain bridge on the tarmac as all good CX rides should heading south from Dulnain Bridge over the River dee thats carves it way west to east across the highlands of Scotland emptying itself in the north sea at its terminus in Aberdeen. From hear I stopped in a Spar convenience store in Nethy bridge having realised I'd forgotten any form of liquid refreshment in my hast to make the most of the ever decreasing daylight at this time year. From here it was all dirt and some really lovely Landrover paths through Abernethy Forest. The path undulates through some lovely natural old wood forest rather than plantation pines the gradually climbing to the highest point of the ride at Rynettin with spectacular views across the Cairngorm Massif.
From Rynettin lodge it was a fast decent down grassy paths and back into the the forest for a few miles then the views and surrounding land opened up into open hill side and the mini pass that is Ryvoan pass that takes you into Glenmore and the trail network that is Rothiemuchus forest.
At the saddle of the Ryvoan pass is Ryvoan Bothy. A small modest Bothy with not a lot of room especially when it is full of Corporate white collared workers team building there way around the bleak winter hills. Although full it was a welcome relief to be out of the cold and wind for a wee bit to enjoy a banana and energy cake whilst try to answer questions about the integrity of my road bike with knobby tires. Even one comment of disbelief that I didn't have rear suspension in these tuff condition they were even more shocked when they realised it didn't have front suspension either and that it was basically a road bike.
From Ryvoan bothy the trail descends down to Glenmore Lodge for some fast hard pack riding heading around Loch Morlich to the head of the Lairig Ghru. Once hear I knew it wasn't far to get to Inverdruie and the Rothiemurchus visitors centre and my waiting wife and son for Coffee and scones. Oh and a Burger and a Coke!!! Yes I'm a large lad who needs to keep the tank full.
Only taking 3 hours to complete this ride it makes for the perfect winter mini epic made all the more pleasurable using the CX bike. If you up that way give it a go.