3 - 4
FATMAP difficulty grade
This iconic route heads west out of the mountain sports hot spot of Aviemore in the Cairngorms.
While it heads away from the National Park, don’t think this means the scenery suffers.
This ride is about the views, highland culture, the physical challenge, and sheer remoteness of the central Highlands. Aviemore is the obvious start point so you can stop for food post ride and pick up supplies beforehand.
From the start you follow a short section of road before the first big climb of the day starts.
As you gain height on what is about a 700m climb, the name hopefully rings true: the red granite surface is unusual in Scotland and mirrors in a rather loose kind of way the red earth of Burma’s (Myanmar) tropical interior.
There are no jungles here, but the closest comparison is ancient Caledonian pine forest, and in late summer, the heather comes to life on this first section with a rich purple blanketing the moors.
The startled grouse fly out and cackle as you ride deeper into the moors.
In the distance.
a stag or herd of red deer are frequently silhouetted on the horizon.
After an impressive descent, the Dulnain glen running north contains ancient Caledonian pine forest, and there are sections of singletrack along the valley floor.
If you keep your eyes open, a small stone monument stands to Iain Beag Macandra, a fabled archer from the 17th century who almost singlehandedly defended Strathspey from cattle raiders with his Robin Hood-style accuracy. As you follow and then cross the river, the route can be detoured 500m further north to cross the stunning ancient stone arch of Sluggan Bridge rebuilt in the early 1800s.
The riding follows forests and a mix of tracks and singletrack back to Aviemore. Although you follow rough and rocky 4x4 tracks, it’s good in almost all conditions.
This ride is epic for the experience—not the swooping singletrack.
An epic Scottish day out.