MOUNTAIN BIKING in East Scotland
All photographs on this site copyright Chris Stamp, except where otherwise indicated
Green Route: 32 kms approx. Orange Route: 48 kms approx
Glen Fearnach offers a route deep into the wilderness. A herd of red deer numbering several hundred comes down off the hills to spend the night on the banks of tranquil Loch Loch (yes that's its name!) in the shadow of the truly spectacular peaks of Beinn A' Ghlo. It is possible to extend the green route via Loch Moraig to Blair Atholl (missing out the diversion to Loch Loch if you like), if you have transport arranged at the other end.
The orange route takes you to the highest permanently occupied building in Scotland (apparently) - the garishly painted Fealar Lodge. If the route is not epic enough for you as it is, it's also possible to extend it to Blair Atholl via Glen Tilt. The going is rough, and probably not bikeable for up to three miles, until you reach the landrover track in Glen Tilt itself, from where it is straightforward again.
There is an informal layby with plenty of space next to the bridge, just east of Straloch.
The green route as far as Daldhu is relatively easy, consisting of undulating tarmac road.Beyond that, it starts to undulate steeply in places and the track is rougher, so unless you are very fit you'll probably have a couple of short uphill pushes to do. The last stretch, to the loch, is on a narrow track and finally on rough grass. It's ten miles each way to the loch, and the route back is not significantly easier than the way out, so the main danger is not to allow enough time or energy for the return in your eagerness to see the loch.
The orange route is a different proposition. It shares the easy section with the green route, but then ascends a significant mountain pass, for which you'll need to be fit or have plenty of time for a long walk. The route takes you into remote territory, and should only be attempted if you know what you are doing. The actual track itself is a good quality land rover track, so offers no major technical challenge other than the ability to know your limits on long downhill stretches.
Both routes take place in glorious mountain country, close to some of Perthshire's highest peaks. Navigation is straightforward, which only one or two choices to be made.