This is a backcountry ride passing through magnificent territory with towering mountain on either side as you climb over the Drochaid Coire Roill (pass).
From the Loch Damh Singletrack
, turn left just before you cross the river to begin the climb on Drochaid Coire Roill. If the Loch Damh Singletrack
was interesting backcountry, Drochaid Coire Roill is downright crazy wilderness riding. Mountains loom to either side as you climb over the Drochaid Coire Roill (pass). The climb starts at an easy enough grade (below 3% for the first mile or so), but this mile can be quite boggy meaning either slow going or walking.
After that you've got a steep section and from here to the pass you can expect big loose rocks, boggy sections that will swallow a good bit of your wheel, oddly placed tufts of grass in the middle of the line you need, 4-6 inch deep ruts that make it impossible to pedal, and on top of that a 1,000 foot climb to the pass. Plan on stopping frequently to admire the view and/or to go around obstacles and likely walking a third or so of the way up.
After that the grade slackens but there are still some short, pithy climbs and more short boggy areas where creeks run down from Beinn Damh. After a couple more steep sections you'll reach the pass where there is a small lochan. The view of the valley from the pass is magnificent!
On the other hand, the near 3.0 mile continuous singletrack descent from the pass is a technical delight through mostly well-surfaced (i.e. not boggy) rocky awesomeness, including some long slickrock sections. About halfway down, you've got to cross a creek. Expect to have to carry your bike while jumping from rock to rock and/or to get your feet wet (it's likely that they'll be wet from the trails you've just ridden so you might not notice).
The descent becomes significantly steeper on the other side of the creek before entering the forest. The rest of the downhill to the A896 (and the pub!) is through this piney forest with the tumbling creek to keep you company. The forest has some impressive rooty sections to test you for a change. There is a 100 foot waterfall easily accessible from the trail about a half mile before you reach the A896, but you might be going too fast to miss the turnoff. Beware that the hike to the waterfall is popular with hillwalkers, so yield appropriately should you encounter any.