The Quick Lairig Ghru
Updated: Jan 3
My most loved descent in the whole of the UK, it's an absolute belter that you must ride.
I run this ride every year but as part of a bigger day trip. Take this loop and incorporate it into your own big adventure or just do it in the morning and be back in time for lunch.
Starting from Loch Morlich, follow the gravel road all the way up to Rothiemurchus Lodge. It's a sustained climb that gets gradually steeper the closer you get to the Lodge, but is achievable by most riders with a little effort. Once at the Lodge, you'll see a wooden sign for Lairig Ghru and the fire bell on your right. Head this way and have a wee rest on the bench - beware the midges here in summer though. From here, it's a short but tricky rocky climb up to the dam. Put the power down, hold your line and you'll be well chuffed with yourself at the top. The terrain from the dam is a mix of flat rock gardens to pick your line through, front wheel catching bog and sharp, loose rocky climbs - certainly interesting and varied. This section is boggy year round but considerably drier in summer. Do consider your impact on the environment by riding this in the wetter months. Try to avoid riding around boggy bits as this leads to trail erosion.
Eventually you'll join the Lairig Ghru where the real fun starts! Surrounded by the awesome Scots Pine, this trail has that perfect mix of just about everything you could ask for. There are a few water bars to deal with at the start of the descent. If you're not confident hopping over them, it's best to get off and lift your bike over. There's really not many and you definitely don't want a pinch flat by riding into their square edges. Soon enough though, the trail opens up to perfect singletrack. Stay off the brakes and you're rewarded with natural drops, rooty off-camber sections and fast corners that will leave you grinning from ear to ear. Whilst the gradient is never steep, you've got a good line of sight down most of the trail to see what's coming up so there's plenty opportunity to have fun. This descent can get busy with other trail users heading in the other direction so be cautious and courteous.
From the end of the descent, it's an easy gravel ride back to Loch Morlich for ice cream and sandcastles!
Whilst this loop isn't particularly long or remote, do always have enough spare clothing, food & drink, spares & tools and emergency equipment to be able to deal with a nasty situation. Navigation is straightforward but have a map and compass, and the skills to use them, should you need them for navigation or to change your plan. Always let someone know your route and expected time back. Don't rely on the timings or difficulty gradings given on Komoot. All times, distances, elevations, terrain types, difficulties and descriptions on Komoot are provided by Komoot and not necessarily approved by Highland Bike Academy. The route has only been provided here to give you a map based overview of the route as inspiration for your own planning and preparations.