A ferry journey is always a good start to a day, we are on an early crossing from Mallaig over to Skye.
A short drive and we exit the van to getting on for gale force winds, its breezy, to say the least.
The track is in great condition, but worth noting the trails we are riding are not dedicated mtb trails, rather trails on which you can ride a mountain bike. The first part of the ride is punctuated by numerous water bars, most can be ridden but a few are just too big to hop wheels over requiring a dismount, manhandle the bike across and re mount. There’s a stream crossing and the theme of the week is very much set, wet shoes.
We are not gaining much height, a gentle climb then along the undulating valley floor which becomes boggy in places, requiring careful route finding, Chris acts as the blind probe hoping that he doesn’t find a section that swallows his front wheel. For the most part this outward leg is dry, but the wind is unrelenting, pretty much a head wind all the way.
We are pretty much at the far point of our ride, its just there in the picture above, the wee house in the distance, we’re out on the west coast, next stop the outer Hebrides and a whole big expanse of the north Atlantic.
At this point Mikes decides to fall off, an innocuous little tumble, but there’s blood, Mark is on hand to assist and I pedal the last few hundred yards to tell Chris who goes back and sorts out a deep wound that later takes 5 stitches. The ride back is the same route, this time with the wind thankfully on our backs. A tricky ride for someone with a patched up wrist but Mike dispatches the ride like the trooper he is, a fine effort.
The rain comes in and the wind blows, strongly, providing welcome assistance on the pedaly sections but on occasion an unwelcome shove and extra horsepower in the technical sections just when its not needed. The ride back is significantly quicker, initially we stay together as a group, through the worst of the weather before Chris lets us off for the last leg. The earlier gentle climb becomes a fast as you can pedal technical ride with moves to make and smiles to be had. The weather by now is bordering on terrible but we’re soon back at the van, changed into dry clothes and all sorted ready for a tea and medals, or beer, whichever happens first.