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All things biking

Glenlivet Mountain Bike Centre

A visit to Glenlivet Mountain Bike Centre will take at least half a day, especially if you treat yourself to a bite to eat at the Coffee Still. Let the kids loose on the practice track while you wait for your food as then you can relax and they’ll be happy whizzing round and round.

Distance from Fraoch Lodge: 30 minutes drive

Routes: Red (22km) and Blue (9km)

Cafe: Yes

Toilets: Yes

Showers: No

Bike Wash: Free

Bike hire available: yes

MTB Glenlivet

 

MTB Glenlivet

Blue route is ideal for families and even has the unusual feature of starting on a downhill section, followed by a zig-zag climb which is not too difficult to manage before more free flowing downhill track which seems to go on forever. There is one wee steep climbing section in the middle, but you know you’ll be rewarded with even more great cross country downhill track afterwards.

MTB Glenlivet

Photo caption: Blue trail, Glenlivet: free flowing downhill on very well made tracks area  delight for younger riders. Very few roots to negotiate and few if any areas prone to sticky mud.

P1020066.JPG

 Photo caption: The uphill section on the zig zag section of the blue route which offers spectacular views over the wider Glenlivet area.

 

MTB Glenlivet

Photo caption: the Coffee Still is a purpose built cafe and wee store supplying a small selection of emergency biking products. You can purchase coffee, cake and a small selection of very good hot food snacks and light meals from chicken fillet buns to pizzas. The menu is not hugely extensive but what is on offer is extremely well-done and very high quality, using as much local produce as possible.

Practice track

A trail map is available to download or you can purchase an A3 foldable version from the cafe when you are on site.

Afterwards:

Treat yourself to a stop in Tomintoul which is a stone’s throw from the bridge where you turn to head over to the bike tracks.

In Tomintoul you can:

 

Review: Mountain biking centre – Laggan Wolftrax

As with all forestry commission mountain biking centre, you may need to be careful with your timing. If there is logging taking place, some of the trails may be out of bounds. Also, if you visit out of season (i.e. during the winter – as I did) the café may not be open. However, not to worry. There is a café close by at Laggan Pottery which comes very highly recommended.

mountain biking centre

Riding on a red trail at Laggan Wolftrax

Mountain biking centre: Trails:

When I visited there was logging taking place so the green and orange trails were out of bounds. Unfortunately this means that this instantly made the centre unfriendly to family biking as only red and black trails were accessible.

The climb up to the red trails requires some fitness, out of season as there is no uplift available then. There used to be uplift available but there’s no mention of it on their website now so you’d need to check with them directly if it is available.

Trailmap:

Find the trail map here

Facilities

There is no bike hire available on site any more. A new bike hire shop is due to open in Laggan soon.

If you are staying at Fraoch Lodge, and you are wanting to hire bikes, you can’t go wrong with the hire bikes at Ride Cairngorms in Boat of Garten. The bikes Nash has available for hire are suitable for all the trails at Laggan, though you may want to bring your own bike is you are keen on riding black runs. Few if any of the bike shops in the area offer full-sus bike hire due to the cost of maintaining &/or replacing the bikes.

Family friendly or not?

At the time I visited, the mountain biking centre at Laggan was not as friendly as we would have hoped. They have discontinued the uplift for the red runs and at that point both the cafe and the easier green/orange runs we closed. If the lower tracks are open, there would at least be some trails for the younger kids to ride, but they are quite short. It wouldn’t give a huge amount for the kids to do and in the summer you’d need to be on the lookout for midges. Glenlivet mountain biking centre was much more child friendly when we went there.

Events

Watch out for events taking place at Laggan as the centre may not be open to the general public while the event is on or alternatively you may want to take part in the event. Don’t forget it’s not far to Fort William from Laggan and you can ride on the World Cup Downhill course there. The World cup in Fort William usually takes place in June.

Laggan hosts the following events:

Full details here

How to find Laggan Wolftrax mountain biking centre

Distance from Fraoch Lodge: 31 miles (44 minutes driving time)

From Fraoch Lodge, turn left out of the drive and head out of Boat of Garten to the A95.

Follow the A95 towards Aviemore but turn right on to the A9 heading south.

Continue on the A9 until the turn off for Kingussie.

Turn right and go through Kingussie and into Newtonmore.

Drive through Newtonmore until you see Newtonmore hostel on the right. Turn right here onto the A86.

Follow the A86 past Ardverikie castle and along Loch Laggan until you see signs for Laggan Wolftrax on your left.

Alternatives

Natural trails in the area

Glenlivet Trail Centre

10 Cycling events for 2016

In and around the Cairngorms National Park

The number of cycling events in the Cairngorms have multiplied exponentially over the past few years. The popularity of such events has also grown incredibly. Often for an event like the Loch Ness Etape, you have to book your place for the next year almost as soon as the event finishes.

cycling events in the Cairngorms

Road biking etapes and long-distance races are becoming very popular

 

Bike events are becoming more prolific. Seems like following the success of the British Olympic team, everyone is investing in lycra and heading out on a bike. Certainly here in the Cairngorms, it’s rare not to see at least one cyclist when you’re out and about. In fact, these days Aviemore almost seems to have a cycling culture. Every second shop hires bikes. Almost all the cars around seem to have bikes attached to them somehow. It’s a “healthy” activity supported by the government with investment in cycle paths, cycle lanes and cycle to work schemes.

 

Of course, you don’t have to travel all the way to the north of Scotland to participate in a cycling event. There are events happening all over the country. The advantage of coming up to the Cairngorms though is that you can enjoy your favourite sport in some of the world’s most spectacular scenery.

Details of the events

In no particular order, we’ve created a list of 10 cycling events we’ve managed to find online. Hopefully this list will make it easier for others to find cycling events and schedule them in to their calendar in future. It wasn’t easy to find all these details and sometimes event details are released quite late in the day. However, once the event has taken place a few times it tends to reoccur at approximately the same time each year. If you can’t make it this year, perhaps because you didn’t know early enough, take note for next year!

 

 

1. Rock and Road Festival

The Rock and Road festival is held in conjunction with the Glenlivet Mountain Bike trails. Details for 2016 are still limited but judging by the 2015 programme there is something for every cyclist to participate in:

 

 

Even if you don’t ride a bike, the party atmosphere could still be one to enjoy.

 

 

2. Etape Caledonia

Takes place out of Pitlochry. It is an 81 mile circuit on closed roads, climbing over 1000m along the route. It has attracted over 5000 riders per annum. 2016 will be the 10th anniversary. The event is a charity fundraiser for Marie Curie, but is a fixture in the calendars for many Scottish bike enthusiasts as it is very accessible from the central belt.

The Etape Caledonia is a popular event. Places disappear quickly. It is also a one day only event so does not necessariy mean that you need to book accommodation in the area, but you could use it as an excuse to book a few days off work afterwards and spend some time enjoying the area.

 

3. Ride Like a Grrl – September

 

Advance notice for Ride Like a Grrl, a women only mountain biking event which takes place at a slightly different venue in theCairngormsNational parkeach year. Event will run in September but details are still to be finalised.

Keep an eye on the Facebook page for details as they are being finalised now.

Cycling in the Cairngorms

On and off road cycling in the Cairngorms

 

 

4. King of the Mountains Sportive

A sportive for the fit and dedicated. There are 2 routes: 110 miles and 100km. The longer route has 3700m of ascent and passed through some of the most amazing scenery of whisky distilleries and the southern part of the Cairngorms National Park, including the Cockbridge to Tomintoul road, often closed in winter due to snow. Average finish time is 7 1/2 hours! A stunning route but not for the faint-hearted.

Starts and finishes at Aboyne.

For full details check the website

 

5. The Bikeathon

The annual Bikeathon event is a 25 mile family friendly cycling event that starts and finishes in Kingussie. Once again it’s a charity event raising funds for Chest, Heart and StrokeScotland. It’s designed as a fun day out for the family and definitely not a race. At the same time you’ll be able to enjoy the events taking place during Bikefest in Cycle Friendly Kingussie.

MTB family routes

Family mountain biking in the Cairngorms

 

6. Etape Royale

The Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale is the first and only 100 mile Closed Road Cycle Sportive inScotland. (Shorter routes are available as an introduction or for those not quite as dedicated.)

 

The Etape received TV fame when Mark Beaumont tested the entire 100mile route on a penny farthing. Amazing scenery and you’ll be jet propelled when passing through Moray’s whisky country on the fumes from the numerous distilleries you pass.

 

Put the date in your diary.

 

7 Cairn O’Mount Challenge

The two routes are very different: the shorter route is on the gentle minor roads of rural Angus with just one significant climb which is over the famous Cathertuns road and into Glen Lethnot. With a refreshment stop at the half way point, this is an ideal starter event for beginners or younger people or simply a change of scenery for more experienced riders.

The 80 mile route is a different proposition! Leaving from Edzell Muir we make our way to Fettercairn and prepare for the big climb up the steep side of the Cairn o’Mount. It’s the end of May so the snow gates shouldn’t (!) be closed.

Check out the website

 

8 Cream o the Croft Bike Festival

Not only is there an enduro mtb racing event but there’s a festival at the same time. From live music to beer tents and tasting, camping and mtb training. Racing at all levels from age 6 to competitive men plus a carnival atmosphere and loads of other events to keep the party atmosphere live and exciting.

For full details of the event go to the festival website 

 

9. International Mountain Biking Conference

The conference returns to Scotland in 2016, but will this time be taking place in the Highlands of Scotland. The events around the conference will probably focus on the area around Aviemore and Inverness. Full details have not yet been announced but it is hoped that the conference will form the climax of a week of active events. So far there has been little more than a press release from Developing Montain Biking in Scotland to set the date.

For more details read the article published in the Press and Journal

 

10. Mountain Bike Orienteering Challenge

Test out your biking and navigation skills, can you improve your times, be better than your friends and family. Try out the course designed by pupils from Kingussie High School. Drop in anytime. Bike hire available on site. Smart phone to download orienteering app

Full details here.

 

Please feel free to contact us if you are organising a biking event which takes place in or near the Cairngorms National Park, we will be happy to add it to our list of events which we hope will be the most complete list of cycling events in the area. We have chosen not to add race events and have concentrated instead on Sportives, charity challenges and family friendly events/festivals.

If you would like to extend your stay in the area or to explore more of the off-road tracks and trails around Aviemore and the surrounding villages, please feel free to contact Scot Mountain Holidays or stay at Fraoch Lodge for more input. We have developped some top facilities for cycle enthusiasts including a lockable bike store, an outside washdown area, a purpose-built drying room, good hot showers and the space to relax in front of an open fire. You can also join us for a meal in the evening if you wish. We produce good quality, home cooked food with local ingredients and are used to catering for healthy appetites.

For details of mountain biking packages with Scot Mountain Holidays.

Keep an eye on our website for details of a supported road biking package available from Fraoch Lodge, summer 2018.

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