Highland Trail 550 – Gear freak-out

The 2018 Highland Trail got a little too exciting for me, and in the end wasn’t a completion, although it had nothing to do with my gear choices. I do like to indulge in a little gear nerding from time to time, and optimizing my kit for this year gave me something to think about in the months leading up to May. At the end … Continue reading Highland Trail 550 – Gear freak-out

Tread lightly: A Tale of Three Plateaus

  The granite plateaus of the cairngorms began their life far from the sun, at the roots of a mountain chain, at a time when Scotland and America were still parts of the same landmass. Wind, water and ice took their toll, and the mountains were eroded into nothing, but their roots remained. Ice came and took bites from it, but the granite was only … Continue reading Tread lightly: A Tale of Three Plateaus

Introducing the Caribou

When Annie and me met Sarah and Thor Tingey at the UK packraft roundup at Inshriach last June, water levels were on the bony side of optimal, but we went for a ride through the dusty pinewoods anyway, and took boats so that we could float down the Spey back to base. It turned out it was the first time that Sarah and Thor had … Continue reading Introducing the Caribou

East winds and Snotcicles on the Lochaber Tundra

It’s pretty easy to laugh at Scottish skiers, given the flurries of speculation and planning at the first sign of snowfall, and what constitutes ‘all time’ conditions in a country when any snow is sometimes a blessing. On reflection though, I’m not sure that I can really point the finger, given the number of routes that I’ve traced along the map while dreaming of winter … Continue reading East winds and Snotcicles on the Lochaber Tundra

Clockwork Ghosts: the 2017 Highland Trail 550

    I’ll begin at the end.   There is a searchlight moon hanging low in the sky, but it’s almost hidden behind the squat silhouette of Buachaille Etive Mor. Although it’s bright tonight, the wash of pale blue light does little to fill the shadows of ink that deepen to black in the coires and gulleys, where vague outlines merge into one another. It’s … Continue reading Clockwork Ghosts: the 2017 Highland Trail 550

Review: Revelate Designs Periphery Pocket

  Perfectionism isn’t always a virtue – no one is going to notice that your tyre logos line up with your valves when they’re caked with mud, and oftentimes it’s best to just crack on without sweating the small stuff too much. I’m willing to bet though that Eric from Revelate would disagree, and his constant tinkering and experimenting with the designs of his company’s … Continue reading Review: Revelate Designs Periphery Pocket

Iceland: Across the Kjolur in winter

  Kjolur – One of the historic mountain roads crossing the Icelandic Highlands, mentioned in the Sagas. It crosses from Gullfoss in the south, between LangJökull and Höfsjökull glaciers, to Blöndudalur in the north.     “Your hair’s frozen again”.   I pat my head, feeling the now familiar crinkling of a frosty quiff, before reaching for my mug of tea from its rock and … Continue reading Iceland: Across the Kjolur in winter

Iceland: Boots, Bikes and Boldly going…

Soon (this evening in fact), I’ll be heading back to Iceland for a second time to explore more of its mountainous dirt roads by bike, and to learn more about that improbable, impossible and very thoroughly lovely country; that’s not to mention further research on the infinite variations of liquorice-based sweets to be found all over the place. Problem is, March is still wintertime in … Continue reading Iceland: Boots, Bikes and Boldly going…