A long circular mountain bike route with great views.
The Pass of Ryvoan runs between Glen More near Aviemore, and Nethybridge. It climbs to 380m, passing through natural Caledonian pine woods. There are good views of the Cairngorm Mountains and Abernethy Forest. Experienced mountain bikers will be able to cycle the whole thing; anyone inexperienced, or with another type of bike might have to walk in places.
Description is circular starting from Nethybridge. There is a tea room and a hotel doing bar lunches at Nethybridge and a cafe in the shop at Glenmore. It is possible to do this route all the year round provided it is not snow covered. Waterproof clothing is advisable, in winter you should have extra warm clothing.
Abernethy Forest, like Rothiemurchus further south, is a remnant of the native Scots pine forest that once covered the highlands; habitat of red squirrel, wildcat, pine marten and red deer. Ospreys were re-established near Loch Garten in the 1950s.
Pass of Ryvoan (10 miles)
In Nethybridge take the minor road between the post office and the River Nethy, travelling west. This climbs gently, then turns south to the forest becoming a track.
Keep straight on, ignoring any left turns, to a T junction where you can go no further. Turn left here to travel east, then take the second turning to the right (south). This turning is about 100 metres before the forest lodge.
There is a fork in the track near here, you can take either, the right-hand trail takes a rather higher line on the approach to the pass.
The path climbs steadily, sometimes steeply, and are now winding and more difficult, rather than just being forest trails.
When you leave the trees most of the climbing is done. Cairngorm will be visible ahead, you may see skiers on it if it's winter and your eyesight is good enough.
The path becomes rocky and more Scots pine appear, then after reaching open country again you pass Ryvoan Bothy (rough shelter). Usually there will be someone camping there.
Shortly after this there is a steep descent, more like a river bed than a path, and after this a left turn leading towards Bynack Stable. This is not a stable, but another bothy.
The path to Bynack Stable is mostly bikeable, but cycling any further than this, for example up Strath Nethy is impossible.
Continuing south the path enters Glenmore Forest Park. Despite being sandy in places it is quite fast (be considerate to walkers) and mainly downhill.
Soon you pass Lochan Uaine, steep crags above, then drop to a small bridge. After this at Glenmore Lodge, the track finally becomes a road.
Reward yourself with an applestrudel at the Glenmore shop tea room, this is beside Glenmore Campsite.
Return via An Slugan (11 miles)
Cycle west from Glenmore shop passing along the north side of Loch Morlich. You can either use the ski road to do this or follow a track by the loch shore. Just before the end of the loch turn right into the Queen's Forest.
Remain on this track for four miles ignoring all left and right turns, you will eventually come out on the B970 where you turn right.
You should be on the B970 for one mile only after which you turn right again to a very narrow minor road. This takes you through Abernethy Forest passing quite near to Loch Garten then eventually back to Nethybridge