• Macdui Bike Adventures

Ben Avon, Tour of the Tors

Updated: Feb 10

This is the northern half of a longer route from Glen Quoich, over Ben A'Bhuird and Ben Avon. However, that is a really big day out so for another day.

Today, I rode in from Corgarff Castle to Inchrory Lodge at the junction of Glen Avon and Glen Builg. The rolling landrover track gives you just a glimpse of the rows of grassy aretes running northwards from the Cairngorm massive. Bynack Mor is visible in the far west. The route today takes the closest of those ridges with its toothy rock tors.

The landrover track continues south along the narrow Glen Builg. I have seen a golden eagle in this area every time I've been, so keep a look out in the crags near the track. The trail runs up past the loch to the Culardoch Shieling. This modern bothy is an outpost of the Fife Arms Hotel in Braemar. I had a quick chat with the chef preparing for a summer solstice party. Then I took a 500m hike-a-bike, short cut up a stalkers track on to the plateau.

As the burn cut I was following opened on to the plateau, I became aware of the tors like sentries on the ridge line. The heather, slowly gave way to grass and boulders, and then eventually to a carpet of Wooly Fringe Moss and Creeping Azalea. All the plants were still showing effects of snow lie from the weight of snow that only thawed a few weeks ago.

A path, only 3 tyres wide, follows along the ridge line from tor to tor. Sometimes this is close up to the corrie-edge, where the tors are the crests of rocky spines running down to the corrie floor. This is great riding, with a view of open sky right over to the Moray coast.

A short break in the path, as it crosses a gravelly surface, may require careful navigation when the visibility is bad, but today I could see the line of shooting butts that the path follows to the valley floor back at Inchrory.