At the second loch
those scanning for the route ahead will see the most difficult
part of the day's activities looming ahead. The section just
North of Loch na Caillich is steep and requires careful judgement
of when to really push and when to ease just a bit. Again the
less cycle fit will be well advised to walk this bit.
About 1km later the high point of the track at 350m is reached.
A long gentle descent to another lattice bridge at GR003383
brings you back down to 200m and facing another 2km of ascent,
but gentle this time up to Bendronaig Lodge. A convenient tractor
implement provides a suitable bike rack and also a seat to enable
you to recover from your cycling exertions and prepare for the
walking part of the day.
As you set off from the lodge ENE you will not find the path
marked on your map but instead a bulldozed track. This appears
to have been "built" in 2001 all the way through to
Pait lodge. Then in 2002 the northerly section heading to Bhearnais
was also in the process of being ravaged when the MCofS managed
to halt the works. The scars of these tracks are not a pretty
sight compared to the well
constructed paths that used to exist. Anyway this track
is followed to about GR034394 where you can turn off left and
start up hill around the crags of Creag Dubh.
If the sky is clear it will be worth the acsent of Sail Riabhach
for the view down the valley but if it is murky as we had it
you will want to just head for the col at GR039407. From here
it is a more relaxing stroll along the ridge before the final
pull up to the summit of Cheescake (GR049413, 945m) (Ed.
Bidein a' Choire Sheasgaich). It's a fine narrow
summit with great views I'm sure.
You will need to retrace your steps a little way before you
turn off south east down the ridge on your way to Lurg Mhor.
It was peculiar when we were there in that Lurg Mhor was clear
but the slightly lower top just to the east was shrouded in
cloud. There is a reasonably obvious walkers path to follow
down to the col and up some zig zags on the steeper parts of
Lurg Mhor that eventually brings you up to the summit (GR065404,
986m). There is very little to remind you of man's presence
on the planet in the view from the top as you are just about
as far as you can get in Scotland from any road. This is a moment
to savour along with being on the summit of A'Mhaighdean and,
just possibly in terms of remoteness, An Scarsoch. If you have
the time and the weather the top to the east looks to be a fine
vantage point from which to observe your day's two peaks and
the intervening ridge looks interesting but as we didn't have
either we decided to cut and run.
The descent form Lurg Mhor was quite easy. We retraced our
steps for a bit before heading approximately south west towards
the NW end of Loch Calavie using the remaining snow patches
to save our knees. Here we picked up the track and headed back
to our bikes.
After a brief coffee break whilst getting the kit sorted and
the bikes unlocked we set off down the track towards the bridge.
Now comes the most telling part of the day where energy saved
in the morning ride in can be put to good use.