Location: by Gairloch, Wester Ross
Map: OS Landranger 19
Distance: 12 miles return (19km)
Time: 4 hours
Terrain: hilly; stony track
Taste the wild on this fine mountain-bike ride in rugged Wester Ross. The route, which leads to a large elongated loch, has a remote feel with excellent mountain views along the way.
The track is solid throughout but a good level of fitness and skills in crunching up rocky terrain are a must if the run is to be enjoyed rather than endured.
Start from a car park by a hut just west of Am Feur-Loch on the A832. Opposite, an information board details the tracks through the Gairloch Estate lands. These pass through the Flowerdale Forest - the woods were cut to fuel 17th century iron smelting furnaces and never recovered after the introduction of sheep and deer.
The estate has planted a million native trees as part of its laudable aim to reforest five square miles. Note that paths may be closed for deer stalking from September to February.
Pass a deer fence to walk the initial very steep rise. After 45 minutes you'll see the track snaking ahead around Meall Lochan na Geala. Stepping stones lead across Abhainn Loch na h-Oidche which may be impassable in spate. Soon the loch is glimpsed before its eastern shore is traversed to reach the locked fishing hut, Póca Buidhe.
The return leg is fast and furious in parts - watch for other path users.