Team Wideopenmag’s Hutch and Christo embark on a three day road trip taking in the best riding along one of Scotland’s most famous roads, the A9.
The A9 is well trodden for those heading North to the now famous North Coast 500 or the stunning hills and coasts of Torridon… but few know that there’s actually a load of riding that’s easily accessed along it’s route.
Team Wideopenmag’s Chris Hutchens and Christo Gallagher headed out for a three-day A9 road trip.
Inverness would be our starting point after driving north on the Friday night with team mate Christo and friends Euan, Ped and Obed. We had three big days of riding ahead of us and the evening’s glorious sun set was getting us excited for some bike time.
With a busy race calendar it’s rare that we get much time to just ride for the fun of it and explore new trails.
With a few days free and Christo and I in Scotland at the same time we thought it was about time we headed up to Inverness and make a weekend of it. We would take a trip down the A9 to Stirling to check out some, and certainly not all, of the amazing riding spots. Some we can share, others we’ll let you do the research on.
Stop one was Aviemore for two nights. We started with a coffee at the Mountain Cafe in town and watched the sun of the evening before turn into more traditional Scottish conditions… Still, we could only drink so much coffee and we hit the A9 to start the riding.
We’d seen so much, mainly through Instagram, of the trails around Inverness. We started at a classic local spot that I’d love to share the location of but..sorry, I’m sworn to silence. We’d normally hook up with the locals for a ride but with all of our contacts racing at the Scottish Downhill Association race we had to explore, and work out the trails for ourselves.
We quickly realised that half a day wasn’t enough but we were ruthless and kept the riding going all morning and into the afternoon. The tracks took a few casualties and Euan (also our photographer) got up after a seriously hard slam and kept riding. I was beginning to worry he had a bit of a love affair with the Inverness soil!
With the technical trails tamed we stepped things up, moving to some more flowing jump trails and then finally the big line. With a few hours sessioning the trail Christo and I pieced the full line together. It was pretty intimidating and the big line in particular, with its 6 foot take off, took some taming. Not for the faint hearted!
With that battle survived we retreated south to Inverness for a lap or two of the legendary trails at High Burnside.
We caught up with our awesome friend Nash, owner of Ride Cairngorm bike shop, and hit the rocky trails behind Aviemore. What a way to close out the day’s riding. Well, almost. An all you can eat Italian made sure we had enough fuel for day two!
Keep an eye for our Scottish A9 Road Trip Part 2 on Wideopenmag soon.