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Fort William prepares for World Cup

Posted 6 June 2012
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Fort William prepares for World Cup
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Fort William likes to describe itself and the surrounding Lochaber region as the Outdoor Capital of Britain. This week, many will agree.

The area already enjoys the presence of Britain's highest mountain, but Ben Nevis is one of four peaks over 4,000 ft in height and nearby Aonach Mor (4,006 ft) is home to the Nevis Range. By winter this is a ski resort, enhanced by the country's only mountain cable car system. In warmer months, however, it is mountain bikes that dominate.

June 9th-10th sees the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup taking place on the lower slopes of the mountain, with plenty of action as riders take on the twists and turns of the course as they hurtle down from the Gondola top station and descent through the Leanachan Forest.

With mountain biking now an Olympic sport, this year may be particularly exciting and organisers have revealed eight British champions from the past six years will be taking part, against the cream of international competition.

June 8th will be a qualifying day so there are in fact three days of action, but for those inspired to enhance their own mountain biking skills, investing in a new bike or the gear to go with it may be the next step, as well as enjoying some of the tracks at the course themselves when the competition is over.

And those taking to the saddle may enjoy all kinds of routes around the area, such as the Allt-a-Mhuillin path into Coire Leis below the mighty north face of Ben Nevis. People who also enjoy using road bikes might wish to cycle the Great Glen Way from Fort William to Inverness. 

Of course, such an outdoor area as Lochaber will always have more to do in the summer than just biking, with Aonach Mor and its higher (4,048 ft) neighbour along the ridge Aonach Beag offering the chance to tick off two more Munros.

Users of mountain bikes might just find such cycles are handy for Munro-bagging too, enabling them to get further off the metalled roads to access some of the other peaks in the area, such as those at the eastern end of the Mamores ridge, or the Grey Corries.