This is a physically demanding route for expert mountain bikers.
The Highland Wildcat Trails are set in a superb coastal location in Golspie, above the Dornoch Firth. Featuring the longest freeride descent in the UK from the summit of Ben Bhraggie (1300' to sea-level) - and the longest technical singletrack climb.
The trails have been designed with everyone in mind and are graded from the blue family/novice trails through mixed woodland to more technical red & black graded trails through conifer woods and open hill at higher elevation.
The black trail shares the red-graded route until the main forest road is reached at the top of "Cat's Climb".
At "Stone Circle" there is a choice of remaining inside the forest on "Treeline" or to emerge onto the open hill to experience one of the most full on and testing technical climbs to be found in the UK. Stone slabs abound, creating many difficult features over the 0.5km section of trail that climbs rapidly through a series of tight switchback corners. Clean that and the award is a tremendous view at the junction of "Black Lynx" and the outward contour trail to the top of Ben Bhraggie.
Saddles down for the fast descent round big berms and over a series of drop-offs on "Mon-u-Mental" before hitting the scree section with good momentum. Full suspension an advantage here and onward onto the unique natural rock paving. Stone slab features are added to create bridges and jumps that require commitment to successfully clear, although escape routes are available to use as an option.
After crossing the footpath the natural and built rock surface becomes increasingly gnarly and includes a long chute down into a gulley before "VTOL". The gradient increases slightly allowing more speed to be gained for a series of large rock drops and then the roller coaster. Marked by entry stones on each crest, this large feature has its own momentum but focus must be maintained to clear the drop-offs and take-off ramp on the tops.
The trail then crosses the ultimate flyover; a 20m wooden bridge that allows mountain bikers to cross above the footpath at speed and down through the entry stones of "Run the Gauntlet". This is a technically challenging section of descent but with escape options that allow skills development en-route to achieving some of the more difficult features. The consequences of failure on the bigger features can be serious so take care to ride within your ability. Some of the drop-offs require mandatory air (ie. they cannot be rolled) but most can be cleared by either technique.
There are short steep rock rolls and a larger chute into a seasonally present pool of water. Some impressive rock gardens with optional routes provoke temptation to "dab" but a good level of balance and skill will get you through. Descend down an array of rock combinations, take air over the cave onto a North Shore landing, pay due respect to "Pete's Step-Up Stone" and emerge at the top of "Valhalla".
For more information on the Highland Wildcat Trails visit www.highlandwildcat.com