The adventure is complete. It has been for almost a week now actually, but I can confidently say that my body is almost fully recovered from our xxx mile ride across the Highlands of Scotland. For those that like maps, tags & GPS you can find links to each of the days we spent in the saddle here:
Here are the vital statistics from the trip:
Total miles covered: 180 miles
Total ascent: 16,640 feet
Highest point reached: Mount Keen, 3081 feet
Number of punctures: 1
Food eaten: Lots
We set off from Ballachulish on the Saturday morning and began our adventure with a very pleasant 5-6 miles journey by road to Kinlochleven. From here we joined the West Highland Way which took us up high rather quickly. Thankfully the road was in great condition which made things relatively easy. The jaunt that then took us to Fort William was a joy. A decent stretch on relatively rough track that took us around Ben Nevis and down to Fort William. We ate lunch just as the rain started to fall, rain which stayed with us all the way to Fort Augustus along dirt tracks and the occasional stretch of wonderful Tarmac. A puncture was quickly sorted by Ewan along this stretch. Day 2 began with rain too as we made our way up a steep mountain path that eventually fed us down to Kingussie and Kincraig. Our only company for most of the day was a team of workers putting up pylons in the hills. We were politely asked to move on as we finished our lunch to make way for the helicopter that was about to start threading the cables for the pylons. Day 3 had been the biggest ‘unknown’ for us as Ewan, my friend, guide and GPS master was unsure how much of the route we’d need to walk given the lack of tracks to follow. As it happened we were able to cycle a good portion of this stretch and basked in the sunshine and incredible scenery through Glen Feshie and on to our stay in Braemar. Day 4 saw us hit the road by 6.30am and by 8am we were almost 20 miles up the road beyond Balmoral. We then joined a mouton track that brought us to the foot of Mount Keen. Time was on our side so we decided to head for the summit with our bikes, pushing for the final few miles up the steep rocky path. It was hard. There were a couple of occasions where I ran on ahead with my heavy pannier then ran back to carry the bike. We reached the summit in glorious clear weather (and 60mph winds), stayed for a while then headed down the other side on a much more forgiving track. We’d spent at least two hours getting up and were down the other side in 15 minutes. Gotta love gravity. We finished a little shy of Brechin as we were short on time and needed to get back to Ewan’s car near Glencoe, then all the way back to Edinburgh to stay the night but the hard part was done. The trip was incredible. My body held out well but day four was tough. My backside was in a good deal of pain and my achilles had swelled up quite a bit for some reason. A bit frustrating as my legs had plenty more to give but the pain wasn’t enough to halt my enjoyment at any point. I’ve seen an amazing part of our country and would highly recommend anyone who hasn’t been to take a look up there.
We were lucky with the weather (and no midges!) but I’ll bet it’s incredible up there in winter too. Massive thanks to Ewan for planning the route, accommodation keeping us on the right track and being a patient leader (he’s almost twice my age but an absolute machine on a bicycle. Impressive). Oh, it was his bike that I rode as well so massive thanks for the machinery too!
Most importantly, thanks to all who have so far sponsored me – we’ve raised over £500 for my chosen charity which I know will go a long way. It’s not too late to throw some in the hat, just use the button below. Every little helps 🙂
So what adventure next? Well, my wife is expecting number 2 not long from now so that should keep me busy for a while… Ed x