Monday, 18 July 2016

Speyside - The Burma Road

The Burma Road is a name to capture your imagination,  if ever there was one. Rob and I biked it a few weekends back. Unsurprisingly it doesn't lead to Burma but acquired its name due to having been laid by prisoners of war. Today it's a rough track over the hills above Aviemore and a big  climb by bike.

We started our ride at Kincraig and headed north towards Aviemore on a new stretch of the Speyside Way, a delightful undulating track through summer birch woods that dovetails with the railway.

The climb then started at Lynwilg, easy to begin with but quickly steepening.  The midges made us not want to stop to rest or take advantage of the goodies in the trackside honesty box.

The road topped out above the grey hills of the Monadhliath and was flat briefly before the long descent on its north side.

At the bottom of the descent, we followed the River Dulnain downriver and made a beautiful wild camp in the pine woods. The eyecatching black and white of oystercatchers flying by contrasted with the rich greens of the forest.

Next day we biked on along empty tracks through the summer woods and down quiet winding back roads to the forests of Abernethy for a second night out in the tent. There were detours to the old Sluggan Bridge, part of General Wade's military road north, and the nesting ospreys at Loch Garten.

From Abernethy we biked over Ryvoan Pass with the high tops of the Cairngorms to our left and paused in the bothy to escape a rain shower. We made a fast descent to Aviemore on the fabulous Old Logging Way before returning to our start at Kincraig.

Fact File
Start/finish: Kincraig
Route: In Kincraig take the Speyside Way track to Aviemore - you can pick it up on the right as you climb up through the village passed the shop. Follow this to its end when it crosses the B9152. Turn left on this road and cycle south for approx 1.5km, taking the right turn signed for the A9. Cross the A9 to Lynwilg and follow the wee road through the hamlet to the right. The Burma Road is signed from here after the bridge. It's a stiff climb, steep in places, but the long decsent is more gradual. At the bottom, cross the wooden bridge over the River Dulnain and turn right. Follow this track until it emerges at the hamlet of Inverlaidnan and swing to the right, cross the bridge and follow the track right where it soon joins the tarmac road into Carrbridge. A little way down here is the worthwhile short detour to the Sluggan Bridge, signed for the national cycle network. From Carrbridge (nice cafe a few doors down from shop) we followed the national cycle network offroad route to Boat of Garten which was really nice through the woods. After Boat of Garten we truned left on the B970 and then took a right to the RSPB centre at Loch Garten to see the ospreys. We retraced our tire tracks a little way back down the Loch Garten road and picked up the Speyside Way in the direction of Nethy Bridge. When it crossed the C class road south out of Nethybridge we followed that road, took the next left hand split and then the forest track up to Forest Lodge. We crossed the bridge over the River Nethy a few hundred metres northeast of the lodge and followed this track a long way out to camp. Next morning we returned to Forest Lodge and then took the signed track west for Ryvoan Pass. At Glen More we took the Old Logging Way down to Aviemore and picked up the Speyside Way back to Kincraig.