Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Corrour to Dalwhinnie

I'm just about to head out of the door to France, as you do, but thought I'd pen a short blog about a great mountain bike trip over the weekend.

We started by getting the train to a remote station at Corrour near Loch Ossian, the station made famous in Trainspotting. It was pretty wet on arrival so we enjoyed a nice bowl of soup in the station-side cafe. sadly it is closing down at the end of the month due to the estate not renewing their lease.

The estate was bought many years ago by the people who invented the Tetra Pak, but the estate is run by a trust of which all members live in the south of England somewhere! This is another example of Scotland being owned and run by absentees.

Our route takes along a great dirt track to loch Laggan, and though not a fast downhill it was an easy ride. However, due to our late start, around midday, it was getting dark when we reached Loch Laggan and so we picked a spot to camp for the night.

The following morning was much brighter and we were treated to a fantastic autumn view down Loch Laggan complete with rainbow.

Our route runs along
another great track on the east shore of Loch Laggan, past the castle at the end, then turning east toward Ben Alder.

At this point we saw a group of five stag ponies, used in the past for bringing the shot stags down from the mountains. Nowadays that job is done by landrovers and the stag ponies are left to roam wild.
Looking at them though I reckon they are still used to some extent as they can reach into areas that landrovers cannot. It was great to see them again, the last time being over ten years ago further east at Loch Pattack in the shoulder of Ben Alder.

The track deteriorated about five miles in for about a mile. However once past this it was a fast and straightforward run to Dalwhinnie along the shore of Loch Ericht.

As you'll have read in a previous blog, Ben Alder estate was bought by an German Swiss industrialist and he's spent his billions ruining the countryside with a Disney-style castle. At one point he even dynamited a hole in the hillside so he could house his helicopter! But on this trip I learned that he had seen a church in Wester Ross and decided he liked it. So he bought it. Then he shipped it, including the crypt, to the lochside so his daughter could get married in it. However, she wasn't happy that the naive was so short and so he built an extension to the front. Once the service was over the extension was dismantled!

Clearly lot's of money, no taste and no brains! Once again our beautiful country is being raped by these rich outsiders with no respect for Scotland and it's history.

It was dark by 4.30pm and our train was not due until 7.30pm so we spent the time in Dalwhinnie's only restaurant/hotel enjoying soup and baked potatoes.

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