Every day during the summer, scores of tourists park up at the Nevis Range and score their ticket for a ride on the famous gondola.
On their way to the top and commanding views over the western Highlands, they peer through the plastic windows to the World Cup downhill course that weaves back and forth beneath the cables.
The famous rocky plummet is one of two options for bikers from the summit, but is just the tip of the iceberg for cyclists in the Leanachan Forest.
Only Glentress offers anywhere near as complete a package for visiting riders, and the offering at the Nevis Range is even stronger now thanks to the new bike school.
Currently offering four courses, from family-friendly and beginner courses on the smooth blue descents to exploring deeper into the natural trails for the more experienced, everybody can benefit from a lesson.
Zeemon, my guide, tells me that one of his most satisfying days of the season so far was helping a group conquer the Blue Adder – a swooping trail that they had struggled with for a while.
Spinning our way up over to the path towards the Charles Inglis Clark Memorial Hut, I asked Zeemon if the emphasis was on guiding or on coaching. The answer? Simply whatever you want.
Whether you’re just looking to rent a local for a few hours and find the hidden gems, or some advice on how to progress, the session can be tailored to your requirements. I know some of the trails we ride, but at two and a half hours from home, I’m not a regular enough visitor to be familiar with the area.
I’m surprised how much more fun it is to ride with someone ahead to show you where you can carry speed and where you should go easy.
Fort William is an area that has raised some of the country’s finest riders, from the Barnes siblings to up-and-coming Mikayla Parton and Louise Ferguson.
As Zeemon checks in with me about my energy levels, and asks if I’m ready to try something more challenging or if I want to pull it back in, it’s clear that when you’re ready to go harder – you can.
The school runs until the end of September.
Visit nevisrange.co.uk to have a shot while you still can.
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