Monday, 23 July 2012

Northwest Highlands Microadventure

As I sat watching  BBC Scotland's weather forecast, everything looked perfect for a trip I had been thinking about for a while.

The plan, was a mini trip to the far North coast of Scotland to ride some of the amazing landscapes that can be found there. I was looking for a chilled out location, where I could be alone to enjoy my cycling, without the distraction of the seasonal mountainbiker....

With van packed, maps arranged & a full tank of gas, it was go for launch!& After clearing the busy mid afternoon rat race, that was the drive to Inverness, the Northerly route became more & more beautiful as the roads became emptier. Everything was looking good for a fabulous 48hrs of riding 


Inverpolly Estate


Ardmair


Unapool



After nearly 5 hrs of driving I reached Scourie, where I would camp overnight, before heading north to Sandwood Bay the following morning.


Once the tent was pitched & a bite to eat, it was time to get some riding done in the lovely evening sun.





You won't find this in any trail guide, because there is no trail! Fatbikes in this environment make so much sense. The ground is very dry here & the fatty made easy work of crossing the heather.




Scourie Bay



The following morning was an early start under grey skies, but very calm





The new van was fantastic for this trip, loads of space for everything & room to spare.


Sandwood Bay. My plan had worked, I was here before the tourists had finished breakfast, so I had  the place to myself 


With the tyres suitably aired down for sand riding, I came across a problem with these ditches. Easy enough to cross, but I was concerned with the high likelihood that I could pinch puncture out here


With a full days riding ahead of me I bravely chose to lift the bike over these....


This was a point where I actually thought a full suspension fatty might be a good idea. Calling Salsa...


Nothing...that's the point



Scotland


We have touchdown. After 5 miles, Sandwood bay finally comes into view. Beautiful place & these pictures will never translate how nice it actually is.








I loved these rocks formations...



For an unsociable bastard like me, this is paradise...;-)







With Sandwood bay in the bag, it was onwards to the next basecamp at Durness


While I was pitching, I met Graeme Willgress, a Author & expeditation cyclist. He is nearing the end of his latest trip & raising funds for charity 7 raising awareness on mental health issues. Greame is a really nice guy & I would encourage everyone reading this to check out his site for information on his charity work & details of his book.





Cool section of boardwalk onto the headland separating the 2 beaches at Sango bay



Sango Sands




Lots of WW2 buildings in this area



Smoo Cave





One of the foundation blocks for a WW2 home chain radar tower



Local bomb disposal boys were on the beach playing cricket. There is a live military bombing range a few miles away at Cape Wrath, just across the bay from Faraid Head...no need to panic!





The reason for this trip. Faraid Head in the distance











I have wanted to ride these since seeing them on Coastkids blog :o). I was really surprised to how compact the sand was on these dunes, loads of traction. Excellent riding conditions




Does riding your bike get any better than this? I am going to let the picture speak their own words from here...












Crisp, golden evening summer sun, perfect way to end the trip



A short video of the trip which capture the chilled out feel to riding in such visually stunning locations.

This is an amazing area & it has made for one of the best bike trips I have done to date. 
I can't wait to return to this wonderful part of Scotland

3 comments:

  1. Great post MM
    Your pics bring back the memorys of my trip up there...
    Sandwood is indeed amazing as you round the corner and the beach opens up in front of you,
    Faraid Head too! sandriding heaven!
    Thanks for lovely pics during this monsoon season!

    Nothing wrong with being unsociable when you have a fatbike! -:)

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