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20 September 2014: Ben Avon Mountain Biking Summer 2014

Saturday saw an opportunity to have a go at a route with the mountain bike I have been keen on trying for some time.  It's been 2 years since a proper mountain day with the bike, so it was good to be doing it again.  Pete and Alan were keen to join in with one of my join the paths plans.    It was strange cycling up the Slugain without a heavy rucksack on (carrying skis or climbing kit), but in a good way.  On arrival at the point where I normally dump the bike, we opted for a 450m ascent of steep heather to the flat top of Carn Eas.  This required a sense of humour.  With the bike off the back, it didn't take long to get to the main summit, Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe.

Pete had to be back early, so he headed off aheaded of us.  Alan and I set off along the plateau northeast, sitting out a shower before riding down Mullach Lochan nan Gabhar and onto Big Brae.   We then joined the obvious path that snakes its way through the tors down to Inchrory.  The tors on this ridge are well worth a visit, with Clach Bhan and the large one on Meall Gaineimh particularly interesting.  As the path degenerated below Carn Fiaclach, we took a little detour down steep heather (mostly ridable), crossing the Builg Burn easliy after a long 850m vertical descent.  From there we headed south via Loch Builg, then up the land rover track over the West shoulder of Culardoch for a much faster descent down the well maintained track.   A great day out!

Hillwalking with bikes.  We could have gone further to the Sneck, but this meant more time higher up, so it was worth the hassle.
I eventually worked out a suitable system for attaching the bike to my rucksack, after I got fed up with the over the shoulder approach.
Looking into one of my favourite ski haunts, the Eastern corries of Beinn a'Bhuird.
Pick a tor, any tor.
Pete heading for Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe
Pete (in red) on the final climb to the summit tor.
Alan descending Mullach Lochan nan Gabhar.  The locals weren't too impressed, and ran away.
East Meur Gorm Craig, from Big Brae.
Spot the wee purple dot?
Leaving your rucksack (and waterproof) at home becomes more of a problem during the rain showers, but you can always get by with a bit of improvisation.
On the col below Meall Gaineimh
Inchrory in the distance.
The optional off-piste shortcut, that got a lot steeper than this.
The Southern end of Loch Builg.
Helmet head back at the car park.
02 July 2014: Great Glen Way, and back again. Mountain Biking Summer 2014
21 June 2014: Tower Gully Skiing Summer 2014
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