An Afternoon Spin
A quick ride up and down Glas Tulaichean is the perfect autumnal outing… though shoes do help
IFORGOT my shoes! Unbelievable. I was an hour from home at the Spittal of Glenshee, away for a trip up and down the Munro Glas Tulaichean, so nipping home and back again wasn’t an option.
It’s not the first time I’ve forgotten something vital, but it’s getting worse as the years go by and I pack lighter and lighter. Bikes are so reliable these days that a bag of spares is no longer a necessity so at times all I need is a water bottle. Unless I’m wearing my shoes, I forget them.
It’s a bit of a disaster with clipless pedals, which refuse any attempt from an uncleated shoe to get grip. I love being clipped in, but forgotten shoes are often the end of a day out before it’s begun.
It was the second time in a fortnight. The previous time, riding pal Mike offered to split time on his with me. But I have a thing about wearing other people’s shoes. The trainers would have to do.
Climbing south up into the woods felt fine, and it was easier to jump off for gates along the track through the plantation. I felt vindicated by my choice to carry on when I emerged above the Dalmunzie House Hotel and the views opened up into Glen Lochsie and Glen Taitneach.
This was one of the first routes I’d done that I didn’t pluck from a guide book. Poring over Ordnance Survey maps I’d seen this wide track almost to the summit, with contours a respectable distance apart.
Not many Munros entertain the notion of cycling to the top, and of those that do the majority are in the Cairngorms. Rounded like huge pebbles, they’re more accessible than their west coast kin.
The vibrant colours and long shadows make autumn the best time for a go at it. It’s only around three hours to the summit and back so no worries about daylight.
The ruins of Glenlochsie Lodge mark the start of the long pull to the summit, with a loose climb that rises sharply above the glen. The altitude gain is quick and painful. When you finally crest the end of this section, there’s a long, long ridgeline curving away to the distance, but the gradient lends itself to relaxed riding and taking in the view for the rest of the way.
With Beinn a’ Ghlo to the left, the Cairnwell hills to the right, more summits
“Gravity tugged the bike up to a speed” brisk
Worth it for the views!