Destination: Moray, Monster Trails, Aberdeenshire
Three trail centres for the price of one with plenty of variety and the opportunity to pick and mix trails to create your ideal ride. Cross-country riders with a liking for technical trails might be a little underwhelmed but, on the whole, there’s something for most types and levels of riders and about 30km of marked trails to explore.
How to get there
Fochabers and Elgin both lie on the A96 Inverness – Aberdeen road. Craigellachie is on the A95 to the south.
Ordiequish: Turn south off the A96 by the chip shop in the middle of Fochabers (look for the blue sign). Stay on this road for around 1km, going through Ordiequish and Upper Ordiequish until you reach the car park.
Whiteash (Winding Walks):Follow the A98 out of Fochabers towards Buckie for around 1km. The Winding Walks car park is on the right (south) side of the road.
Ben Aigan: Turn off the A95 Keith to Craigellachie road near Mulben. Coming from Mulbin, the car park is on the right; from Craigellachie it’s on the left.
Sat Nav: Fochabers
Each of the three trailheads is just a car park but there are full facilities at Fochabers.
Starting off from the Ordiequish car park, you’ve got the three blue grade trails, Soup Dragon, Godzilla and The Haggis. Of the three, The Haggis is probably the pick and you can link off it Ben Aigan. Unfortunately, at the time of writing (31/10/12), both The Haggis and the link trail were closed for harvesting.
Also at Ordiequish lurks the infamous black grade Gully Monster. Only 2km but steep, twisting, committing, vertiginous and with a heart fluttering drop. There’s also a skills area to play on.
From the Winding Walks car park you’ve got the 8km red grade Forchabers Ring trail. There’s a lot of variety packed in and the fun sections later on make the massive early forest road climb worthwhile.
From the high point of the Ring, there’s the 0.75km Forchabers Freeride. Wide but occasionally high north shore opens its account and then the bottom is jumpy and bermy. Enjoyable and spits you out halfway down the Ring descent.
From Ben Aigan you again earn your height on forest roads before picking up the 8km red grade Ben Aigan Hammer. Once on the singletrack, it’s an unbroken loop and although rocky and including some boardwalk, is never too demanding.
You can leave the Hammer and choose to hurtle down either the fast and fun black graded Mast Blast (closed until December 2012) or the testing Bunny downhill run which includes some wicked rock gardens and some sizeable jumps.
Nearest bike shop
Rafford Cycles, Forres Tel: 01309 672 811
Parking is free. You can link up and ride all the trails for a truly epic day but, before making plans, check the Forestry Commission site for closures.