During the summer I did an overnight bivi trip to Culbin, however, I only managed to cover the eastern edge of the reserve, so I made a return trip to explore the Western side, especially the sand bar that heads out for nearly 3 miles into the Moray Firth.
To get some perspective of the scale of Culbin Sands, take a look at the link below for some amazing photography of the area, taken from a paramotor. Click the photo to begin the excellent slideshow.
Any trip to Culbin needs to be planned around the low tide to get the most from the experience. As you can see from these photos, If you were caught by the incoming tide when on the bar, getting back to the mainland could be a little interesting!
If you watched the slideshow, you will appreciate how big the beaches are here, but with very little elevation, it soon becomes an island during the highest tides.
All great adventures start like this. 7am, coffee & map. Time to ride...
Good example of why the forest at Culbin exists, the trees provide structure to the dunes & prevent the sand from blowing further inland.
Some of the lovely singletrack through the dunes
The Eastern edge of the mud flatknow as "the gut"
One of the many anti-glider poles
Sections are carpeted by Mussels shells
Some sections of the flats are very slick, It was (just) manageable with 80mm rims & Larry run backwards, but a moonlander with a Nate on the rear would be the best tool for exploring out here.
Finally made it to the other side, granny gears all the way
A bothy for wee folk
I like how the fire is stocked & ready to light for the next user...who fancies a cuppa?
Some treasure for Daniels nursery beach project!
Struck gold! Crossing over the dunes onto the north side of the sand bar. Miles & miles of pristine beach. I was here for 4 hrs & never seen anyone. Looking West towards Nairn & Inverness
And East towards Findhorn
Great mix of coastal terrain to play on
Guess who forgot spare lube, oops!
Looks a lot like the East beach back home in Lossie
Nairn in the distance
The end of the road. This is the very Western tip of the bar. On the other side of that channel lies Nairn Beach
From easy riding, to super soft in 10 feet
I found a handy soft seat to grab a coffee
I like this shot. From left to right...Moray Firth, sandy beach, shingle, marsh, mudflat & forest. No, can see a trail centre anywhere!
Good fun, but stinking
Some easy riding for tired legs
Pitstop at the viewing tower on the Hill 99 trail
Final push back to the van, downhill hall the way...on sand of course!
Quick transformation to the chopper look to get the bike on the rack. Cheap solution to easy transportation.
Another fantastic visit to a very special place. I will be coming back here many time during the summer.