Welcome to the

Trail Viewer

Note: This page looks best if you maximize your browser window.

Highlights of what this viewer does for you:-
  • Two live maps side by side (OS 1:50,000 & Google).
  • Profile graph shows how elevation changes over the trail.
  • Secondary cursor correlates map location of the mouse on both maps and on the elevation profile.
  • Press 'Play' to animate the cursor over the route on both maps and the elevation profile.
Click here for more details.

Trail Viewer

All trails on MTBtrails.info are stored as GPX files (see the FAQ to find out more about these). The ‘Trail Viewer’ takes the GPX file for a particular trail and draws it simultaneously on two live maps and also calculates and plots an elevation profile.

Different mapping systems each have their pros and cons. Here we have tried to gain the best of both worlds by plotting on two maps side-by-side and providing correlation between the two using the secondary mouse pointer (see below).

  • These are both ‘live’ maps. Click and drag to scroll around. Either use the scroll-wheel on your mouse or the slider on each map to zoom in and out.
  • A profile graph shows how elevation changes over the route of the trail.
  • A secondary cursor correlates map location of the mouse on both maps and on the elevation profile.
  • Press 'Play' to animate the cursor over the route on both maps and the elevation profile.
  • Use the ‘Print’ buttons to display a printer friendly version of either the OS or Google map. Then just use your browser’s print function to get a hard copy to take with you when you go.

From the main venue page you can also download the actual GPS file itself so you can put it in your own GPS device, phone, or PC mapping software.

The Mapping Systems Used:-

OS OpenSpace

The OS OpenSpace system now gives free access to the 1:50000 scale ‘Landranger’ maps for the whole of the UK. This is a ‘live’ map system in that it can be scrolled around and zoomed in and out (it works in a very similar way to Google maps). These maps are often the best choice for looking at a mountain bike trail because of the detail they provide in remote areas (particularly the topographical data in the hills).

Google Maps

With the Google map in satellite mode (where detailed aerial photographs are available) it is often very useful to be able to see a picture of the real on-the-ground conditions. In areas where these photographs are very detailed this can provide an incredibly rich impression of an area.

With the Google map in terrain mode it can often also give you a good feel for the basic structure of the hills and valleys you will be passing through.

Secondary Mouse Pointer

As you move the mouse around the maps, you will see a second pointer appear on the other map. This pointer resembles a ‘Cross-hairs’ and is automatically drawn in the location corresponding to where the tip of your mouse pointer is currently pointing.

Trail Description Drag me!
This is the route of the 2011 Tour De Ben Nevis organized by NoFuss Events. At the time of writing it's been run for the last 2 years, usually in September. In their own words...

"The race that took mountain biking back to the mountains. WELCOME to the No Fuss ultimate MTB challenge for endurance athletes and people with a sense of adventure. The event is about circumnavigating Ben Nevis starting from Fort William the Outdoor Capital of the UK. It is a 72km journey of discovery about our wonderful environment, about yourself and for some we have no doubt, about your bike.!"

Of course there's nothing stopping you taking on the challenge at any time, minus the entry cost and support/signage of the event itself. It's a long, rough and at times, remote ride though. I did it in both 2010 & 2011.

It's kind of long for a full description so here's some short notes.

The start of the actual race is usually in the centre of Ft.William, although if doing it yourself you could also conceivably start at the Nevis Range and get all of the road riding in first.

Ft William to Tag 1: Wildly undulating minor road.

Tag 1 to Tag 2: Follows a section of the West Highland way. It's a rough, wide track with the odd shallow stream to splash through (of frequent large puddles to splash though if it's been raining).

Tag 2 to Tag 3: Rough, rocky technical descent down the West Highland Way path. If this is your thing you'll love it, if it's not you'll hate it. Either way you lose a lot of height, which you have to then regain by climbing up the access road to the Mamore Lodge Hotel (now closed unfortunately). You can easily miss out the descent and re-ascent just by following the main track between these 2 tags.

Tag 3 to Tag 4: Initially a long, but not too steep climb up land-rover track to the edge of Loch Eilde Mor. From there it's relatively flat on a decent enough track to the ruin at Luibielt, although there can be some monster puddles if it's wet (seeing a trend here yet?).

Tag 4 : River crossing! Fairly wide, but if you go downstream a bit from the ruin then it's not too deep. Obviously this will depend on the amount of rainfall there's been in the preceding days but during the 2011 race it was only around knee deep even although it's had been a wet week leading up to it. (For some reason we seemed to cross nearer the ruin in 2010 and it was nearer bollocks wetting deep there).

Tag 4 to Tag 5: Don't bother changing your wet socks quite yet. The next bit involves a ride/push over some boggy ground, with some small streams to cross. Then it's bike on the back time (or push) up the rough, sometimes muddy path to the col below Meall Mor.

Tag 5 to Tag 6: Generally downhill again on a rough path which changes into a rough track before crossing a wide stream just before the bothy in the Lairig Leacach. Now its just about safe to change to dry socks!

Tag 6 to Tag 7: An initial bit of climbing and then it's a long, fast descent on stoney land-rover track. As it begins to flatten out a bit keep an eye out for the left turn and the entrance into Leanachan Forest on fire-road. At the end of this road turn right, then look out for the bridge to the left that crosses the stream.

Tag 6 to Tag 7: Once across the bridge turn left and climb uphill on a nice bit of single-track alongside the stream. Eventually you'll want to turn right, onto the old tramway and follow this, then fire-roads, along the hillside and under the Nevis Range Gondola.

Tag 7 : Here you start a descent down what I believe is part of the '10 Under The Ben' trail at Nevis Range. It's a bit technical with some drops, boardwalk etc, and with a tired body it's not easy. Once down safely though it's an easy ride down to the A82 and back to Ft.William along the cycle path that runs alongside it (near the end you need to go onto the road itself).

2010 variation: In 2010 the route up to Tag 6 was identical, from there though, after crossing the bridge you turned right, then took the fire-roads through the Leanachan Forest to the Nevis Range car park, and then via other tracks down to the A82 near Torlundy. It was less interesting than the 2011 route, but also a lot easier as it cuts out around 150m of climbing. If you are particularly tired on reaching Tag 6 it's worth considering.

Time to do: Under 'race' conditions the quickest time for the 2011 route as described was 4hrs 15mins, the longest 9hrs. For 'mere mortals' who are fit, used to doing this distance and want to take in some of the scenery along the way, I'd say 6-8hrs would be a fair expectation.

Trail Viewer
Fort William
Tour De Ben Nevis
Length: 43.5 Miles
Ascent: 1429 m
Time: 7 hrs
Tech: Moderate
Fitness: Very Hard