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

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

John heading towards Tomfat woods.
John heading in 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 my Strava feed sparked the thought for this journey, a mountain bike journey I may do from my doorstep.

My pal’s Sandy’s mountain biking is often 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 subsequent 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 season fade right into a distant reminiscence.

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

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

I used to be planning to take the simpler 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 monitor.

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 if you attain the primary forest monitor. Observe the monitor left at a nook and proceed to virtually the excessive level of the monitor 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 beautiful however simple 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 monitor.

Someway, I’ve by no means explored these tracks by 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 monitor which at one level goes previous a gate by way of a flooded stretch of path that was nearly avoidable.

Finally you drop right down to a T-junction, the place once more I adopted the path left onto a good looking little part that rises and twists by a barely narrower part earlier than becoming a member of a large monitor 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 once I noticed it, a transparent monitor at first that then narrowed to little greater than a easy path. The route ought to have taken me again as much as the best not that far forward, however for some purpose I hesitated at a fork within the path and saved 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 attractive singletrack which was an surprising discover on this route.

It proved to be a pleasant detour, as a terrific path wound its means alongside earlier than bending proper and out of the bushes, climbing on a beautiful open monitor. 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 best, I figured {that a} extra direct path to the street might lie straight forward. I investigated behind a gorse bush that appeared to be blocking the best way forward and, certain sufficient, a slim path continued between the pine bushes.

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 comfortable mattress of pine needles, with roots and rocks to barter right here and there.

I observed there have been occasional waymarkers – pointing alongside the route in the other way to the best way 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 could ultimately 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 direction of the street. There’s a faint monitor resulting in a gap within the fence, however it’s not that simple 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 huge automobile monitor 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 monitor alongside the pylon route then very quickly go proper once more onto an previous monitor, marked by a blue Path of the Seven Lochs (T7L) put up.

It’s so good to take pleasure in 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 monitor headed off to the left. Some heavy forestry work had been happening right here however it was all quiet right now, so I adopted the route which heads in direction of Easterton on the map.

Once more, this monitor 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 monitor bends left after simply over a kilometre to climb up a ridge, you’ll want to go straight forward onto a slim, grass path that appears insignificant after the motorway-style forest street you’ve been using on.

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

Again on that previous route, it’s a enjoyable downhill on a generally moist and slim path. In direction of the underside it goes by a beautiful little avenue of birch bushes 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 monitor, 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 last 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 monitor intersects the street above the memorial park.

Take a proper flip onto the monitor, quickly passing by a gate that warns of livestock on the hill. Fortunately there weren’t any cows about right now as I loved what could be a significantly moist stretch in moderately dry situations, reaching one other gate earlier than persevering with alongside an bettering monitor 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 monitor bends sharply left to go the farm buildings. Take a pointy proper earlier than the top of this monitor, 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 Street, from the place you’ll be able to comply with Route 78 again into town centre.

Through a lovely tunnel of birch trees on the way to Duntelchaig.
By way of a beautiful tunnel of birch bushes on the best way 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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