Torridon Tour part Two

After riding the Torridon Tour as I rather unimaginatively called it, over the Easter break, I was keen to try a variation of the route cutting out most of the road sections and all of the forest fire roads, exchanging both for the descent of Coire Lair.
It means climbing to Bealach na Lice from Annat but much of the ascent is surprisingly rideable...
...the gradient perfect for a fast run down on the return leg, but gentle enough to stay in the saddle for much of the climb.
The sandstone slabs help...
...as does the view.
Gravelly singletrack winds its way up and on towards Loch an Eion with few interruptions...
...save a river crossing...
...and the odd boggy patch beyond the lochs.
Once past the bealach things get a little tougher - the riding tricky...
...and the first carries begin.
Yet there are still moments of brilliance...
...before the last pull up into Corrie Grannda...
...and the last carry to reach the day's high point at around 700m, all of which has been climbed from sea level.
Things improve rapidly...
...and the long descent - more than 7km of technical riding - reaches out towards the hills above Achnashellach.
Loose in places...
...fast in others, it's one of the best...
...culminating in a flourish through the forest above Loch Dughaill.
Stops for the view, stops for flats, stops for photos, and other stops because sometimes it's good just to stop and take it all in, meant it was getting on a bit. No more stops then. Apart from one before the bothy for a feed.
Back at Bealach na Lice, losing the light...
...but with just enough to enjoy the wild descent to Annat.
At approximately 35km, The Tour part Two is a shorter ride than the first, but with over 1500m of ascent and a significantly higher proportion of technical riding, a tougher proposition overall, the descent of Corrie Lair to Achnashellach one of the biggest and best I have ridden yet.

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