So for best bang for buck stay the night before and hit it early?
You know, if it was me doing it again, I'd be inclined to do the following:
- Get up there the night before, camp at Sligachan
- Up bright and early, pack up tent. Sligachan to Camusanary. Then back out the way you came to Sligachan. 16 miles, no road, no bog, all the good riding.
- It's now mid-afternoon. Quick lunch and 45 mins in the car to the Quiraing. Fit flat pedals to the bike.
- Do the Quiraing if you've still got time. Again, I'd skip the first section, since it's mostly hike-a-bike unless you have a screw loose or your name is Hans McAskill. It is possible to get your bike over the crevasse single handed (Mr P did it), but it's pretty ropey (see my facial expression above).
I think Sligachan is the much better ride. The first two miles (ish) are a bind, especially if you're anything like me and it takes a while to find your groove. The entire ride is really rocky, doesn't flow well at the start and you need to commit to the water bars, shifting your weight back and forwards to get the front/rear wheels over - it was really tiring, since they're incessant at the start. When it does start to flow it doesn't give you a break either - you need to be constantly on, picking the right lines over and around the rocks.
There isn't much up or down, more like short, sharp rocky climbs and descents. Pick bike and tyres accordingly. While it's rideable rigid (and Singlespeed as Jamie demonstrated), you'll enjoy it much more with some front bounce as a minimum. I think we were really lucky the weather was so good, it'd be a very different proposition in the wet.
By the time we reached Camusanary, I was really enjoying it. It's not particularly fast, but it is challenging, and I really felt a lot more comfortable with all the rocky stuff by the end.