The Blackwater & The Ciaran Path
A hidden gem! A challenging mountain bike route through some wild and committing terrain.
The route starts with the tarmac climb to Mamore Lodge. Once at the lodge, hang a right on the dirt track out towards Luibeilt. All in all, it’s a long (long) hard climb to “Rob Roy View” (opening scences from the Liam Neeson film were shot here) at about 415m above sea level. Descend from the high point towards Loch Eilde Mor but turn off right onto a small singletrack path part way down the hill. This takes you to the head of the loch and a small dam.
From here, there’s an old access track next to the pipeline which feeds into the Blackwater Reservoir. Follow this, or a path which runs along side it, all the way out to the Blackwater. When the track becomes vague, as it does from time to time, it’s often easier hopping onto the pipeline itself.
Once out at the dam there’s a couple of options.
If you’re flagging after a fairly tough ride out, then you need to cross over to the Landrover track on the other side of the dam and follow this relatively easy return to Kinlochleven. Crossing the dam itself is taboo these days. So, instead look below the dam for a safe path – generally very easy unless it’s been pouring for days on end!
Enjoy the last steep section from the penstock, which is the bottom of the Devil’s Staircase ride. Watch out for trials bikes, Landrovers and West Highland Way walkers on this section.
However, if you’re going well and fancy some classic off-road riding then head back along the path from the dam itself and look for the left turn. This is the Ciaran Path, and offers some technical and challenging mountain biking all the way back to the village. There’s a real mixture of gradients and terrain, from superb flowing singletrack, bedrock drop offs and big bouldery rock gardens.
The Blackwater Photo Gallery
A selection of photos taken on the classic off road mountain bike ride at the back of Kinlochleven, close to Glencoe. This route climbs the road to Mamore Lodge, and then on to Rob Roy View. Heading off the Landrover track to Loch Eilde Mor, the route then follows the contour of the pipeline feeding the Blackwater Reservoir. From here on the going gets a little rougher and tougher, as it joins the Ciaran Path down the Leven Valley, past the old German POW camp and finally back into Kinlochleven.
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