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

Sticky post

Way out West: Bikerafting in the Outer Hebrides

  At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Scotland is an infinitely more varied and variable part of the world than its size and tourist-pleasing stereotypes would suggest. The mainland alone is a geological patchwork quilt of different massifs and ecosystems, of different accents and too many unhealthy foods to count. Macaroni pie, anyone? As well as the mainland, there are of course … Continue reading Way out West: Bikerafting in the Outer Hebrides

Strathpuffer 2017:The Return of Pace and Momentum

This was my fifth Strathpuffer, but I’ve never stood in the damp January air listening to the piper, shivering before the traditional run to the bikes, and faced the prospect of doing all the hard work myself. If that was a daunting feeling, there wasn’t too much time to dwell on it, as the shout to action rang through the crowd and I got lost … Continue reading Strathpuffer 2017:The Return of Pace and Momentum

A Vision Quest on the Highland Trail – Part 1

Apologies, I was too busy swallowing flapjack, pedalling and talking to myself to take any photos on this adventure. Besides, the phone was firmly stashed in many layers of waterproofing, somewhere in the depths of my seatpack. So in their place, let the words do the picture-painting for you, and I’ve dug out some photos of the same trails, taken on less suffery days…   … Continue reading A Vision Quest on the Highland Trail – Part 1