MODERATE : Difficulty Level 1 - 2
For intermediate level cyclist / mountain bikers with basic- off road riding skills and a good standard of fitness can help.
This trail is great for novices or families who want some relatively easy, sociable cycling on gentle slopes.
The trail commences at the Highland Wildcat car park near Big Burn (accessed via the turnoff to Backies, just north of Golspie) and follows a wide path through young broadleaved woodland to the public road at Big Burn Cottage. Viewing out across the valley of the Golspie burn, the seasonal variation in woodland colours ensures that every visit offers a different experience.
Beyond the bridge on the public road the trail traverses up a narrow gulley onto a plateau on the opposite side of the valley. As it winds through semi-mature Scots pine and open space on the forest margin there is a gradual gain in height until the forest road is reached above Golspie Tower. A fine 15/16th Century dyke then forms the edge of the route until a gateway through to an old Scots pine wood once used as a red deer park. This provides a real Caledonian atmosphere then merges into the conifer plantation outwith the enclosure.
The trail joins the intermediate level route and recommences a gradual climb through the forest and out into an open glade from where wonderful views can be had across the Moray Firth. This section gives opportunity to try some easier stone features, such as a series of steps, but these can be avoided. The trail then returns into the conifer wood for a short while before the main forest road is reached at the highest point of the blue graded route. Then a relaxed cycle along the track to the cross-roads, taking care of any other traffic.
At that point it is possible to take the road up to the monument on top of Ben Bhraggie although this would be a more serious undertaking than the nice easy return down the trail to Big Burn.
EASY : Difficulty Level 1
For Beginner / novice / family cyclists and suitable for most people in good health.
Following below the well-preserved remains of a small Pictish broch hidden in the forest, this is an easy, wide trail that winds its way up to The Queen’s Drive from the Highland Wildcat car park. Historically the Queen’s Drive was ridden by Queen Victoria on her visit to Dunrobin Castle, but not on a mountain bike! “Pict’s Path” passes remnant mature broadleaves that appear majestically from the sea of young spruce and wetlands and openings that focus the views across the designed landscape associated with the castle. From the top of the trail there are future plans to develop further family-orientated routes. In the meantime, Sutherland Estates encourages access throughout the area. Dunrobin Wood offers a choice of roads and tracks that extend towards Brora and the Castle on easy gradients.
A photograph depicting a family group of four, two parents and two children, cycling on the blue trail. The terrain is level and perfect for a family ride out. The path is even, with no obstacles and passes through woodland.
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A photograph taken from a boat at sea, showing the view towards Golspie sea front behind which, the Ben Bhraggie hill rises, the minument can be seen perched at the top. Traditional houses line the frontage of Golspie and a small yacht is moored just off the beach. When the cycling is done, Golspie can offer refreshments and a stroll along the sea front.
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A dramatic, panoramic photograph depicting the sweeping view from the Ben Brhaggie monument on the left of picture across farmland and forestry as the hill sweeps away toward the sea. The panoram is such that the curvature of the earth is implied from the image.
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