Traversing the Gaick (Take 1)

An attempt to traverse the whole of the Gaick Pass (it won’t be the last) after two previous visits on foot and by ski. This time mountain bike was the means of travel, and linking the full route from Dalnacardoch Lodge on the A9 with Kingussie to the north would take us through about 40km of relatively remote country.

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A dry but grey start with low cloud – the reason we opted for this low option over a day on the hills – had us setting off north into the Gaick with Kingussie our intended turning point. We would return south either by cycling parallel to the A9 on the cycle route (NCN 7), or ideally by train if there was space for the bikes.

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We made good progress on 4×4 tracks before meeting the main technical section of the whole route, which runs the length of Loch an Duin. It isn’t that bad, but resulted in a few falls and gear snags, one of which, led to an irreparable problem, and our decision (wise) to retreat rather than carry on. A mix of free wheelin’ and walking got us back the twelve kilometres to our start within a couple of hours, albeit wet, muddy and bloody.

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Ironically, given this was an attempt to go all the way through the pass, our turning point was at my previous limit on foot, so what remains around the corner is still a bit of a mystery and is pulling me back for another go.

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