Moy, Roy, Spean and Spey


The explosion almost threw Magda into Loch Lagan

I came up with a plan for a weekend of cycling using tracks as far as possible and staying overnight in the Melgarve Bothy. We made a late start as I needed 3 new tyres fitted to the car, so at 4pm on Saturday we parked at Moy and cycled south across the River Spean. We then contoured around Beinnen Shuas and followed Lochan na h-Earba to the the forest and then down hill to Ardverikie House (where Monarch of the Glen was filmed).
We then followed the drive way along the banks of Loch Laggan past a sandy beach and the pretty gate house (Magda likes this better than the big house). Crossing the A86 we took a track by Aberarder Lodge that climbed steeply into Glen Shirra and then coasted down to Loch Crunachdan. We followed a quiet road all the way to Melgarve where there were some ruins, one of General Wade's bridges, and the bothy.
Wooding on wheels

We left all our gear in the bothy and cycled back to the woods to pick up some fire wood. Back at the bothy I cooked pasta which we had to eat with tiny fish and chip shop forks because we forgot to pack the normal ones. Meanwhile, Magda got a roaring fire going in the open fireplace. It was so hot we were forced to sit on the opposite side of the room. After a few games of cards we hit the sack.Playing cards as far as humanly possible from the centre-of-the-sun hot fire

We woke up a bit cold and were keen to get moving. We packed up and set off into drizzle. I had my doubts about the path we were going to follow parallel with the River Spey to Luib-Chonnal. At first my apprehensions were proved unfounded as we followed a well made land-rover track as far as Shesgnan. But then, the path dissapeared and was replaced by a boggy slog.
Magda bravely attempts to cycle on the bog after Shesgnan (the stone hut in the distance)

On a flatish bit we found some ruins and then had to cross Shesgnan Burn (more about river crossing later). We found the path again on the side of Meall Clach a Cheannaiche but only short sections were ridable before a pile of rocks or a bog forced us to push. Despite the physical challenges, the views of the Creag Meagaidh massif, the open moorland and Loch Spey were great.
We got to Luib Chonnal, a nice bothy beside a non-existent forest, just before a rain shower. We got a fire going in a wood burning stove to dry out my wet boot and cooked some savory rice. My boot got soggy during one of the 5 times I had to cross Allt Chonnal. I have to cross each river 5 times because Magda is a bit nervous of crossing them. So I have to:-
1) First cross myself with my bike,
2) then cross back,
3) help Magda across,
4) then cross back,
5) before finally crossing with Magda's bike.
I don't hold a grudge because Magda had packed a spare pair of socks for me.
The homely Luib Chonnal Bothy

From Luib Chonnal we followed a good track beside the River Roy. The undulating route is surrounded by attractive peaks and we got a good look at the Falls of Roy. At Brae Roy Lodge we picked up a paved road and continued along Glen Roy. At a car park/viewpoint on the road there is an explaination of the Parallel Roads of Glen Roy. These look like tracks that run along contour lines along the steep sides of the valley. The Gaelic explaination is that they were built by Fingal a mythic giant hunter. Science unromantically puts them down to shorelines of ancient ice-dammed lochs that flooded the entire glen whilst an ice-sheet decayed at the end of the last ice age.
From Roybridge back to the car was rather unpleasant cycling along a fast A-road in the rain.

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