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Off-road fun on mountain bike trail from Inverness, taking in Daviot, Tomfat and south Loch Ness tracks

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Off-road enjoyable on mountain bike path from Inverness, taking in Daviot, Tomfat and south Loch Ness tracks

John heading in the direction of Tomfat woods.

Generally you’re in want of just a little little bit of inspiration, to not point out motivation. An informal scroll by means of my Strava feed sparked the thought for this journey, a mountain bike journey I may do from my doorstep.

My good friend’s Sandy’s mountain biking is normally a tad extra superior than mine, however this route regarded effectively inside my capabilities, sticking largely to easy forest tracks on the outskirts of Inverness.

I sketched the route roughly onto the OS map after which, the following day, dusted off the mountain bike. I’ve been neglecting the off-road biking just lately so wished to get some respectable rides in earlier than the final throes of summer time fade right into a distant reminiscence.

The primary few miles have been an excellent warm-up, following tarmac on the Southern Distributor Highway cycle path to the Wade’s roundabout. From right here you briefly comply with Stevenson Highway then take a proper flip to take the outdated army street which is signed as a public footpath to Moy.

At first this can be a surfaced street that climbs steeply up previous Druid Temple Farm in the direction of Milton of Leys. I dropped right into a low gear and took my time spinning as much as the tip of the street, the place the Wade’s street continues forward on a path.

I used to be planning to take the better route into Daviot Woods, although, so headed left into the housing property. The way in which from right here is to proceed straight forward alongside just a little path then comply with the street to a T-junction. Flip proper, away from the close by most important street, and comply with the street as much as Castletown, the place you flip proper to go away from the homes and previous a gate onto a observe.

Cycle path sign to Daviot.
Cycle path signal to Daviot.

Quickly, take a proper flip at a wood footpath/cycleway signal pointing to Daviot, and comply with this wonderful hyperlink into the woods, going proper whenever you attain the primary forest observe. Comply with the observe left at a nook and proceed to nearly the excessive level of the observe earlier than following an indication proper to Wade’s street.

It felt a bit like this was the beginning of the route correct, as a stunning however straightforward little bit of singletrack winds down to satisfy the historic route at a muddy intersection, the place I went left then instantly proper onto a greater forest observe.

One way or the other, I’ve by no means explored these tracks by means of Tomfat Wooden, so I used to be guided by Sandy’s twists and turns, which appeared easy to comply with. On the first T-junction, I went proper, then took the primary left to comply with an extended straight observe which at one level goes previous a gate through a flooded stretch of path that was nearly avoidable.

Ultimately you drop right down to a T-junction, the place once more I adopted the path left onto a phenomenal little part that rises and twists by means of a barely narrower part earlier than becoming a member of a large observe that quickly drops properly down the hill.

I used to be conscious I wanted to show proper in some unspecified time in the future so needed to be on the brakes to make the flip after I noticed it, a transparent observe at first that then narrowed to little greater than a easy path. The route ought to have taken me again as much as the precise not that far forward, however for some motive I hesitated at a fork within the path and stored straight forward on the extra apparent route.

John enjoying the beautiful singletrack which was an unexpected find on this route.
John having fun with the gorgeous singletrack which was an sudden discover on this route.

It proved to be a pleasant detour, as a fantastic path wound its approach alongside earlier than bending proper and out of the timber, climbing on a stunning open observe. I used to be having fun with being out among the many blooming purple heather, even figuring out I’d gone off the road of Sandy’s route.

Coming to a junction with a greater path heading off to the precise, I figured {that a} extra direct path to the street might lie straight forward. I investigated behind a gorse bush that blocking the way in which forward and, positive sufficient, a slim path continued between the pine timber.

The singletrack regarded tempting, so I made a decision to see the place it led me. Following the slim path was nice enjoyable, because it meandered between tree trunks on a gentle mattress of pine needles, with roots and rocks to barter right here and there.

I seen there have been occasional waymarkers – pointing alongside the route in the wrong way to the way in which I used to be going – presumably for some native woodland stroll, although I didn’t see anyone else within the woods right here.

The trail clearly wasn’t taking me in a direct line to the B861 Inverarnie street, which I used to be finally aiming for, however it might finally come out someplace I knew, so I simply went with it – and it turned out to be an actual spotlight of the route.

Quickly sufficient, I may see the street, however it was the opposite aspect of some overgrown bushes and a wire fence. I adopted the road of the trail just a little additional then headed left in the direction of the street. There’s a faint observe resulting in a gap within the fence, however it’s not that straightforward to find.

A standing stone beside the singletrack trail.
A standing stone beside the singletrack path.

My thrilling detour truly meant much less time on the tarmac than the deliberate route, so I went left down the street for simply 200 metres or so earlier than turning proper again onto a forest path.

After passing a gate, this large car observe takes you uphill for some time earlier than dropping properly to the shore of Loch Bunachton, which it skirts to the left to proceed away from the water.

A line of latest pylons close to right here makes following the map just a little complicated, however to take the required proper flip to succeed in the Bunachton street, you go proper onto the brand new observe alongside the pylon route then very quickly go proper once more onto an outdated observe, marked by a blue Path of the Seven Lochs (T7L) publish.

It’s so good to get pleasure from all this off-road freedom only a stone’s throw from the Highland capital, and there was nonetheless extra to return. On the street, I turned proper to comply with it half a kilometre or so to a nook, the place one other observe headed off to the left. Some heavy forestry work had been occurring right here however it was all quiet immediately, so I adopted the route which heads in the direction of Easterton on the map.

Once more, this observe has been massively bulldozed, with new unmarked routes added to trigger potential confusion to the avid map reader! The factor to look out for right here is the place the brand new observe bends left after simply over a kilometre to climb up a ridge, it’s essential to go straight forward onto a slim, grass path that appears insignificant after the motorway-style forest street you’ve been driving on.

Heading down the track to Loch Bunachton.
Heading down the observe to Loch Bunachton.

Again on that outdated route, it’s a enjoyable downhill on a typically moist and slim path. In direction of the underside it goes by means of a stunning little avenue of birch timber above the homes, then skirts spherical to a gate to bypass the final of them.

Undergo the gate and previous a rusty older gate to succeed in the entry observe, going proper right here to drop right down to the street with magnificent views over Loch Duntelchaig and the crags on its south-eastern shore.

There was a spell of tarmac to return now earlier than a closing flurry of off-road on the return to Inverness, so I turned proper onto the street and adopted it previous Loch Ashie to the crossroads. Going straight on right here, I dropped down the zigzags of the MacBain hill, watching out for the spot the place a observe intersects the street above the memorial park.

Take a proper flip onto the observe, quickly passing by means of a gate that warns of livestock on the hill. Fortunately there weren’t any cows about immediately as I loved what is usually a notably moist stretch in fairly dry circumstances, reaching one other gate earlier than persevering with alongside an enhancing observe which additional on has views again to town and the Kessock Bridge.

Preserve following the little squirrel markers on the blue posts for the South Loch Ness Path as you proceed to Cullaird, the place the observe bends sharply left to cross the farm buildings. Take a pointy proper earlier than the tip of this observe, going into the woods at Cullaird and following the paths which emerge at a small parking space on the Torbreck street exterior Inverness.

Go proper onto the street then take a left on the T-junction to succeed in the Essich roundabout on the Southern Distributor Highway, from the place you may comply with Route 78 again into town centre.

Through a lovely tunnel of birch trees on the way to Duntelchaig.
By means of a stunning tunnel of birch timber on the way in which to Duntelchaig.

Route particulars

Daviot and Dunlichity

Distance 25 miles / 40km

Terrain Off-road forest tracks, paths and simple singletrack, with stretches on surfaced cycle route and minor roads

Begin/end Inverness

Maps OS Landranger 26 & 27; OS Explorer 416

A mountain bike route exploring forest trails close to the Highland capital

Gate on the route back from Macbain to Cullaird.
Gate on the route again from Macbain to Cullaird.


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