Bikemagic Trail Guide: Fort William, Inverness-shire

Destination: Fort William, Inverness-shire

World class riding in the shadow of Britain’s highest mountain that offers brilliant and ever changing ross-country trails. Plus, if you’re a gravity junkie, there’s the chance to see how your skills stack up against the world’s best on the renowned downhill course.

The Fort Bill four-cross course tests pro riders and deserves your respect. Image by Douglas Cook via Flickr

For a mountain biking destination, it’s probably the best the UK has to offer.

How to get there

Head north from Fort William on the A82 towards Inverness. The Nevis Range is clearly signposted on your right after three miles.

Fort William from Ben Nevis. Image by Odd Bod via Flickr

All the trails start from the Forestry Commission Car Park. You are directed to the car park by green Forestry Commission signs along the Aonach Mor access road.

The Aonach Mor access road is signposted off the A82 with brown tourist signs for cable car / Nevis Range gondola.

Sat Nav: PH33 6SW

Facilities

There are public toilets available at the Nevis Range during opening hours and at nearby Spean Bridge.

Cross country racing at Fort Bill. Image by Peter Guthrie via Flickr

There’s a cafe at the Nevis Range base station and local services and shops at Spean Bridge. For details of the Gondola service see the Nevis Range website.

Trails

The 7km blue grade Broomstick Blue can be a pleasant little leg loosener after a long drive. It has plenty of flowing singletrack and great views but it won’t be long before you’re itching for something a bit more tasty.

Riding Ten Under the Ben. Image by nineonesix via Flickr

Devised for the 2007 World Championships, the 8.5km red-with-black-options Witch’s World Champs trail is a tough nut to crack and, if ridden hard with 270m of ascent and descent, you’ll be blowing hard. It’s not massively technical, is well surfaced and, thankfully considering the climbing, every last drop is squeezed out of the downhill.

The second red-with-black-options is the 16.5km (10 miles) 10 Under The Ben. Used for the endurance race of the same name, it’s a trail of split personality. Large proportions of it are untechnical and suited to riders of all abilities but certain sections, the Nessie descent especially, are brutal.

Steve Peat on the Fort Bill downhill. Image by Douglas Cook via Flickr

It’s then on to the downhill and four-cross trails. These are World Cup standard runs and need to be treated with respect.

You might get an easy ride up in the gondola but the downhill kicks off rocky, goes rooty and muddy in the middle and is blisteringly fast and jumpy at the end.

There are some massive jumps on the four-cross course and we’d definitely advise looking before you leap and being very honest with yourself about your ability and equipment.

Nearest bike shops

Alpine bikes
Nevis Cycles, Fort William

Other info

If you fancy taking on the 10 Under the Ben race held in June each year, check out the No Fuss Events website.

Leanachan Forest. Image by coda via Flickr

Useful sites

Ride Fort William
Nevis Range gondola
Fort William mountain bike world cup
Forestry Commission guide to the Witch’s Trails
No Fuss Events

Location map


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  1. Jon

    Hi,

    Did you not forget the new red dowmhill with miles of boardwalk?

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