Question – How long does it take to get up Aonach Mor at Nevis Range? Answer – About 4 hours if you really shank it.
Question – How long does it take to get down again? About 4 minutes in the most exciting mountain bike race in the country!
Every year in June, Nevis Range by Fort William plays host to the Mountain Biking World Cup. The World Cup is comprised of some of the most incredible mountain bike races, and certainly not for the faint of heart. In the downhill race, the riders launch themselves from a small platform near the top of the mountain. The trail down is a mixture of wooden track and mountain floor, making the level of difficulty extremely high for the riders. At BlueTrips.co.uk, we love the electric atmosphere, with families and supporters cheering on from the sidelines. As far as extreme sports go, the downhill race is both dangerous and thrilling.
Watching the race
Don’t worry, if you want to watch the race, you don’t have to make the trek up the mountain. There is a gondola that takes you up the side of the mountain – it’s £14.50 for a return trip – well worth the money if you’re not a big fan of walking. The gondola can occasionally be closed though due to weather and high winds, so make sure you check the Nevis Range website before leaving.
From the visitor centre near the top of Aonach Mor, you get an excellent view of the start of the trail (and also a good cup of tea). You can then walk down the mountain from the gondola station (trust me, it takes a lot less time than walking up it).The qualifiers are on the Saturday afternoon, some 250 riders take part in this. The top 80 men and top 20 women then go on to compete in the finals the following day. This attracts big crowds, and a lot of cheering!
Fort William has some excellent hotels and B&Bs if you are planning to stay in the area for the race. In fact it’s worth making the most of it and having a little break away on the west coast of Scotland. After all, the taste of a good single malt never gets tired. The Cruachan Hotel in town is excellent. They’ve also got a great restaurant if you’re looking for a meal after a cold day on the mountain. I can also highly recommend The Grange Bed and Breakfast, just outside Fort William looking over Loch Linnhe. Not just an ordinary B & B, the rooms are truly stunning, and every detail is catered for, from whisky and shortbread in the bedrooms, to posh soaps in the bathroom.
Fancy a go?
If you fancy a go yourself riding down Aonach Mor at Nevis Range, there are a number of graded amateur trails. Just make sure you put on sturdy footwear and pack some water and a snack. The best time for this is the summer months when there is less chance of snow on the mountain. Mountainous and wild Scotland has loads of thrilling activities!
Image by Douglas Cook