New book sparks interest in Lochaber bike trails

David Cooper prepares to set off on his electric moungain bike. Photograph: Iain Ferguson,

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No matter how long anyone has lived in Lochaber there are undoubtedly never-visited remote places and spectacular scenery still waiting to be uncovered.

A new book listing routes suitable for electric mountains bikes (and walkers) leads to many of these, perhaps hitherto the domain of the young and fit.

A Glencoe resident for over 50 years, David Cooper, to his amazement, found many of these destinations by travelling on his own battery assisted mountain bike, offering him a new way to get around and places to be explored.

In his introduction to Bike Trails (and walks) in and around Glencoe – a guide to getting out and about by mountain (e) bike (or on foot) – he talks about climbing the hills when he was younger, but reveals: ‘It was not until the age of 70 that I bought an electric mountain bike, which allowed me to explore my homeland in a way which I had not done before.

‘The ebike opened up new routes, giving me access to places that are inaccessible by car, or too far to walk.’

During Covid, with the business shut down and limited opportunities to go places, David took a positive step in writing a handy pocket sized book based on his local travels in a compact, easy to read ‘pocket sized’ publication.

He lists many of the trails and illustrates them with his own pictures to show not only the lay of the land, but also some of the spectacular scenery which is a great reward for the trip.

Starting in Glencoe his routes can be a full days travel to as little as an hour – it is knowing when to go and what to look for that is the biggest help to the reader. His own experience of the places where things can go wrong makes the book a must, pointing out where turns and deviations may not be as crystal clear as the traveller would like.

These observations do help to keep you, quite literally, on the right track, whether the journey be short or long.

Covering approximately 90 pages, the book is split into three main sections – Section 1: routes directly accessible from Sustrans Cycle Route 78 (roughly around Glenachulish, Glens Duror, Salachan and Onich.

Section 2: other routes in South Lochaber accessible without a car – Loch Leven, Pap of Glencoe, Kinlochleven, Callert

Section 3: routes accessible on with a car (to get you to the start point), which covers Glens Crenan and Glenure, Black Corries Estate, Loch Arkaig and Lismore.

These are only a few of the many destinations covered in the book and he does make it quite clear which are better for more experienced and capable riders and those which are less challenging, even for an electric mountain bike.

This is a good read, with very interesting journeys revealing parts of the country that even the longest established Lochaber dweller may not be aware of.

Available in Crafts and Things, Glencoe.