H+I Highland Odyssey

This trip started out as the Coast to Coast trip, but that fell over earlier in the year due to travel restrictions and making the trip numbers. Even though this was not the trip I originally booked it did not disappoint, quite the opposite to be fair.

Earlier in the year I had been researching organised trips, abroad, not really with the intention of booking anything for this year, just scouting out what was out there. Social media then came into play with Facebook picking up on the search history, popping an advert in front of me for H+I.

In the depth of the madness my head was never gona let me book a trip abroad, certainly not getting on a plane so on seeing there was an opportunity to do something a mere car trip away, effectively on home soil, a plan was hatched and the trip was booked.

Bamburgh castle

The plan started by stopping off in Northumberland and staying with the old stager that is Bob Scott, known him for nigh on 30 years and the conversations never tire, a man with a tales to tell and an inspiration to me to go and do stuff.

Looking over to the Farne islands
Farne Islands ยป It’s Only A Hill (itsonlyahill.co.uk)

Heading north and next stop is Aberfeldy and a bite to eat with the Mumford and Heather before heading north of the border on the Friday, ready for the trip start on Saturday.

Grandtully on the Tay, did some 5* training with Lew here back in the day
NB: I did actually stop to take the picture, heading up through the Spittal of Glenshee on the old military road, A93, put the car in fast mode and watched the fuel consumption plummet!

Meeting up at H+I HQ just outside Inverness around noon on the Saturday I get to see who I am spending the next week with, a briefing from the guide, Chris and off for the first ride outside Aviemore.

Day 2 sees us on a big pedal out, into the heart of Glenfeshie and the first of many river and stream crossings of the week.

Monday and an early start over the Mallaig on the west cost, an interesting ride, skirting the edge of Loch Morar, never gaining much in the way of height, just constant ups and downs, technical rocky sections, buff trails through the ferns and the odd walk a bike when riding is either impossible or just too dam risky, an easy enough move on one corner but, with dire consequences if you make a hash of it. We ride through a saddle to Tarbet and wait for the ferry, in this case and old fishing boat.

This is us for the next couple of hours, waiting for the fishing boat ferry to collect us and take us back to Mallaig.
Chris handing out a wee dram at the end of our ride
motoring along Loch Nevis, back to Mallaig
well worth staying out on deck to see sights such as this.
Heading to Skye

Leaving Mallaig we are on an early ferry to the isle of Skye, wet and windy ride awaits, epic trail, moves to make, pedal stokes to turn, views appear and disappear throughout the day.

It’s bleak up north!

Back to the mainland the following day’s ride and its another out n back ride on the same trail reflecting the previous day. Both trails give a completely different experience depending on which way they are being ridden, the flow back on both surpassing the outward legs.

Thursday dawns and its the ride of the week, a big day out in and around Torridon, a day up there in the top ten rides, stunning trails, huuuuge views and vistas and the downs, well that’s what riding is all about and these do not disappoint. You may read how good the riding is, but, it’s better. This ride can stand the pepsi challenge with anywhere.

Friday and the last ride of the week, pretty much everyone is broken in one way, shape or form, not in a bad way, just in the way of having ridden some great trails, we wind down with some laps at a small trail centre, the name escapes me.

A week of riding in good company on awesome trails with Scotland as the backdrop, that ticks the boxes. The accommodation has been great, the food, spectacular, steaks, skate wing, scallops, langoustines, something of an indulgence for me, I would have been happy with cheesy beans on toast like you used to get at Coed y Brenin back in the day.

Chris, our guide has been exceptional, all week, top tips on bikes, kit, beer, food and a wide range of other topics. The boy has put some graft in, our bikes are checked, cleaned and lubed at the end of each ride, very much appreciated.

H+I have been operating for a good while and it shows, a well organised trip, Chris made it all seem so easy, cos of the hard work he was putting in behind the scenes. Backed up by Victoria in the office who sorted out so much for all of us prior the the trip commencing. I would do this trip again in a heartbeat. We saw the highlands in some of the best and worst weather for September and as wet as it did get, and it DID get wet, it’s Scotland, whatdyaexpect, it made it for me in so many ways.

I am not sure my old man ever envisaged this sort of trip when he taught me to ride a bike circa 1970, it’s fair to say the bicycle has changed since then. The nomad’s performance all week has left me in awe of what the humble push iron can achieve, cheers pop.

Leaving Inverness on the Saturday I head north

Arriving in Durness I pitch the tent on the cliff above the golden sand beach.

Heading out early the next morning I get to enjoy the west coast of Scotland.