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New Deloitte Ride Across Britain route takes in the Cairngorms - and one of the UK's toughest climbs

Riders in September's Land's End to John O'Groats ride will face the 20 per cent gradient of the Lecht...

A new route has been unveiled for this year’s Deloitte Ride Across Britain that will head into the Cairngorms National Park in north east Scotland and see riders tackle one of the UK’s most challenging ascents, the Lecht.

Covering 3.01 kilometres, the Lecht has an average gradient of 6.0 per cent, but has ramps of up to 20 per cent.

How hard is it? Well, Simon Warren of the 100 Climbs series of books fame ranked it among the 10 toughest cycling ascents in Britain in this 2012 article for the Guardian, and describes it as “a true monster of a climb through the heart of the Cairngorms.”

In an email sent to participants in this year’s mass ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats, organisers said:  “Each year we make multiple changes to Deloitte Ride Across Britain that are all driven by a spirit of relentless improvement.

“This year we have unlocked a couple of key relationships which has allowed us to take in a new section of the country; the stunning Cairngorms. This has been a long-held desire for us, and after multiple recces and data gathering, we have made the decision to update the routes on stages 6, 7 and 8 of the event.”

The email continued: “Rest assured you are in for a truly breath-taking ride and one we feel is a genuine improvement on previous years.

“The overall distance is only 7.9 miles longer, but more importantly:

"The ‘snow roads’ we take over the Cairngorms are some of the most beautiful and unspoilt sections of riding anywhere in the UK;

"We have added a pair of truly iconic ascents, The Lecht and The Cairnwell, that both feature in the UK’s 100 Greatest Climbs;

"We now balance the distances more evenly across the 9 days ensuring more people can complete the event within cut offs;

"The new route has significantly reduced weight of traffic over the Highlands meaning a more relaxing ride experience and less local disruption.

“We are enormously excited about our first time crossing East to Edinburgh and on into the Cairngorms this September,” they added, concluding with the words, “we wish you all the best for the training and let’s hope for a long warm summer to get those all-important miles in the legs.”

You can find full details of the 2018 Deloitte Ride Across Britain here.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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lostshrimp | 6 years ago

Having done the ride back in 2015 probably this probably a good thing. The camp at Hamilton was the worst of the trip (really poor on-site catering). Riding through the outskirts of Glasgow wasn’t great either so good to miss that although if they could somehow come up with a better route over the Ribble (there are loads) than through the centre of Preston that would make a massive difference.

I also felt the route wasn’t challenging enough, maybe that’s just me, but I’d have had an option to add a few more significant climbs across the week even if these could be short deviations from the main route so any new significant climbs would be good in my book.

Tass Whitby | 6 years ago

I've always wanted to go walking in the Highlands...  1

paulrattew replied to Tass Whitby | 6 years ago

Tass Whitby wrote:

I've always wanted to go walking in the Highlands...  1


Overall I'm pretty happy with the new route. I do though have a few reservations.

Although RAB has traditionally taken on some reasonably tough climbs, it has always avoided anything really horrendously tough. The aim has always seemed to be to create a route that challenges but that can be ridden, in full, by the vast majority of the riders taking part. I simply don't think that will be the case with The Lecht. I would put money on a good half of the field having to walk parts of it. That just seems a bit out of step with how things have been arranged previously and is not a positive. 

I don't think threshold did a great job with the communication. An email went out a couple of months ago to say they were looking at changes to the Scotland route, but no detail. Then they publish the new route on the main website well before emailing many of the riders. Given the amount of money riders have paid to be taking part it seems a bit disrespectful to not provide full details to their customers first. 

It might seem that there is still a long time to go before RAB, but there really isn't. Many people book the odd night in a hotel to break up the camping and I've spoken to several who had booked hotels near Fort William (which would have been at the end of the longest day of the ride) or Hamilton (the night before the longest day). They're now going to be out of pocket because of this late change. 

Lastly, I guess, is that threshold used so much of the now defuct route in their promotion. You watch any threshold RAB video and they will heavily feature riding over Glen Coe and alongside Loch Ness. Some people have chosen threshold's event (and let's not forget that there are a huge number of suppliers running LEJOGs) specifically because of the route. They are not delivering the product that they sold. 

All that aside, I'm looking forward to the new route and, as Tass said, a walk in the Highlands

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