Mountain Biking at Loch Ness
Loch Ness is world famous for the legend of Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster . The Loch Ness Exhibition Centre at Drumnadrochit examines the story of Nessie by looking at the natural history of Loch Ness and is worth a visit on your travels. Loch Ness is also home to some of the best mountain biking opportunities in Britain and itís an ideal place to enjoy a heady mix of brilliant bike trails and stunning scenery. The loch stretches across Scotland for just under 25 miles, almost cutting the Highland region in two as it reaches south westerly from Inverness in the direction of Oban . The countryside surrounding the lake is among the best Britain has to offer and the mountainous terrain makes it ideal biking territory.
Loch Ness is home to a number of organised parks and bike trails. Balnain Bike Park by the Great Glen Way near Drunadrochit, Loch Ness is one of the regionís premier mountain biking locations. The park has a runs, North Shore, skinnies, jumps, a fun box and aerial structures - making it a great place to go for skills development and of course a huge adrenaline rush! Situated near the main Glen Urquhart car park Balnain is an ideal destination for experienced riders. remember that, aside from the development area, it is graded orange bike park - extreme! The runs, just one of the many facilities on offer there, present a network of twisting, bermy runs leading down from the forest back to the park. These are a perfect place to polish your lines and riding technique. When you need a breather you can ride into the chill out shelters and admire the graffiti. There is no bike hire at the park, so bring your own or hire elsewhere prior to visiting.
The great attraction of the area though isnít just the organised tracks and parks, great though they may be. Loch Ness has many off road trails that wander through the many acres of the surrounding highlands. A quick check on a search engine reveals many of these are carefully mapped, sometimes even with graphs showing the gradient that awaits the rider. As you might expect from a mountainous region, many of these graphs have some pretty challenging looking peaks and troughs represented on them! The Forestry Commissionís own website at www.forestry.gov.uk has a great selection of trails graded by difficulty.
Some riders are attracted to the challenge that is the Lap of the Loch. This is just what it sounds like, a complete circumnavigation of the great lake on a mountain bike. At a total distance of 67 miles, the lap can be achieved by a determined rider in one day but taking it in two or three at a more leisurely pace affords the rider the time to admire the beautiful surroundings. The lap can be attempted independently or you might choose instead to book one of the hire bike and accommodation packages available.
The Loch Ness area offers the visitor a wealth of choice when it comes to accommodation. If you want to get really close to nature you could load a tent onto your bike and sleep rough or at one of the many campsites . At the other end of the spectrum there are some wonderful luxury country hotels in the area offering an oasis of pleasure after a tough day in the saddle.
Travellers coming to Loch Ness via Inverness might like to pause at Dunain Park Hotel , a small family owned and run luxury Country House one mile from Inverness. Secluded in six acres of gardens and woodlands itís a great place to relax either before or after some hard trail riding. Nearer to the loch itself there are some stunning places to stay such as the totally refurbished landmark Loch Ness hotel The Lovat , which offers contemporary comfort amidst traditional Victorian charm. Always aspiring to be innovative, the newly installed central heating & water system is revolutionary being powered by an eco-friendly biomass wood chip burner. The Inch Hotel is another choice on offer in Fort Augustus and enjoys a spectacular location overlooking Loch Ness. Foyers House has a beautiful, tranquil setting with stunning views over Loch Ness. The hotel has a small bar and lounge for the exclusive use of guests. If youíd prefer the homely atmosphere of a good Bed & Breakfast then Pottery House , purpose-built as a Bed & Breakfast offers a very high standard of accommodation whilst maintaining the ambience and friendly atmosphere of a traditional B&B.
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