Friday, 6 September 2013

East Highland Way from Spean Bridge to Inverlair and back by mountain bike


I have walked part of the East Highland Way before from Spean Bridge to Chlinaig (a settlement before Monessie) but I was keen to see the rest of the route out to Inverlair.

As I was a bit short of time I decided to cycle the way and taking the bike did not give me any great issues.

I first cycled out the A86 from Spean Bridge to Inverlair which being on the road was the least interesting part of the day. This picture is taken from near Tulloch Farm looking across to the EHW.

It did not take long from Tulloch Farm to Inverlair and striaght away I had to climb quite a steep forestry road. If you are travelling West to East and you see this house then you may be glad to know that you are almost at Inverlair!

I did think the upward road would go on and on but suddenly it plateaus. At the top there are great views East including the Laggan dam

From the top its downhill all the way ( I would not like to cycle up this hill from West to East) and with the logging that has taken place and is still ongoing its really opened up the views.
Some walkers have been a little confused in areas where there are lots of little new roads for the timber lorries and in particular this junction
Just carry on straight up the hill as the roads veers slightly to the right. The forestry guys or Kevin Langan have kindly placed yellow tape on sticks all the way along this section to guide you.

Across the glen there is a church on a hill and you may be interested to know that this was a location used a few times when Monarch of The Glen was filmed here.  You can just see it and the graveyard as a thin grey line on the hill face.
After this it was down hill again to the infamous hidden gate into the forest which is now a lot more obvious I think with the trees down and you can certainly see the track climbing the hill back up behind me. The river/stream/burn which is mentioned in the guide book is very low at the moment and nothing to worry about. Bike and I scrambled over without getting wet.

The way is now a bit vague but there are pieces of track and its obvious that you carry on between the river and the fence on the higher ground. I skirted past a substantial ruin of a croft or township and it makes you wonder why this was abandoned. Once you enter a green field the farm track that exits the other side carries you from the Monessie area all the way to Spean Bridge. The Monessie gorge is worth a wee detour.

On the final leg now and I should mention that the path you see up above you on the hill side is the old puggy line which was a narrow gauge railway created to aid in the construction and maintenance of the British Alcan hydro power pipelines from Loch Treig to Fort William.
On the opposite side of the glen is another track like mark. This is a glacial lake mark and more of these can be seen in Glen Roy.

The photo below is looking West towards Spean Bridge and you can see the lovely bright blue sky.
The River Spean is interesting on this stretch as it varies in depth and speed.

It took me about 3.5 hours to do this loop with a few photo stops thrown in. A really good mix of countryside and river bank to take in.

If you have any questions about the route I would be happy to answer them for you.

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