Tai Chi on the MTB Tour de Cairngorms

In late May I achieved a longstanding ambition and completed the 4 day mountain bike tour round the Cairngorms. The route is over 200 km and almost all off road. We saddled up at Glenmore Lodge near Aviemore and passed through Tomintoul, Braemar and Blair Atholl before returning to our start point.  In between these settlements we traversed some spectacular remote country and enjoyed three beautiful camps.

My travelling companion has a greater appetite for sleep than I, so I was able to fit in an hour of Tai Chi and Chi Kung each morning before he emerged from his tent.

Our first camp was South of Tomintoul, just past Inchory Lodge at the Linn of Avon (pronounced A’an).

I love being up  in the high glens at this time of year amongst the  nesting waders and other seabirds. The bird above my head is an  oystercatcher strafing me with its characteristic alarm call to distract me from its nest site. Birds are scared of human movement more than of humans themselves, and once I got into my form  the bird paid me no more attention than it would  a reed shaking in the wind. Doing Tai Chi is a great way to tap into the energy of these places and break down the pervasive modern  illusion that we are separate from our environment.

The second camp was at the ruined Bynack Lodge, past Braemar on the way to Glen Tilt. The mountain in the background in Beinn Bhrotain.  Despite being in remote country with an almost infinite choice of good camp spots we were joined by a pair of walkers and two Dutch cyclists. A great illustration of the human herd instinct in action!

Our last camp was probably my favourite, though it was also the lumpiest. The route from Blair Atholl back to Aviemore runs past Gaick Lodge and down Glen Tromie. We camped at the high point of the route, at the north end of Loch an Duin, and started our last day with an amazing long descent. Doing tai chi on these small islands was an unforgettable experience!

All in all it was a great and exhausting trip and I enjoyed some tremendous Wild Tai Chi spots along the way.  If you’ve enjoyed this post please check back for more. If you’d be interested in joining a Wild Tai Chi backpacking or bikepacking trip in this area get in touch through the contact form.

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