A Kind of Magic

Eilean Donan, quite possibly the most photographed castle in the land, featured in a number of films, but perhaps most famously, Highlander, but the kind of magic we are looking for is out in the hills and islands of west coast Scotland, and, we find it. Our highlander is Chris Gibbs, lead guide with H&I Adventures,Mountain bike tours worldwide – Award winning H+I Adventures (mountainbikeworldwide.com) and he conjures up 4 days of riding to make any magician proud.

Chris Gibbs leading down from the top of Torridon, the best down in the land, quite possibly!
Monkey see, monkey do, James nailing the line

We start our ride close to the H&I offices just outside Inverness, not a scheduled ride but we are letting the rain clear the west coast for our planned ride overlooking Skye, by the time we arrive on the west coast the rain has passed and we are rewarded with the first of so many stunning views.

a cold beer at the end of the ride, I think so, cheers Chris.
Evening meal in Plockton.
Raasay, nuff said.

Our third day of riding has us back onto Skye and we’re heading into Glen Sligachan, the weather is set for the day, socked in drizzle, low cloud and poor visibility, ever so gently uphill away from the Collie and MacKenzie statue at the start of the trail, navigating water bars crossing the singletrack, re grouping every so often for a quick rider briefing. We reach the far point of the trail in the worst weather of the day, Chris turns us round for a group ride before setting us off on the last few K’s at our own pace, the gentle climb now with us making for a speedier pub bound leg.

Like whisky? You’ll like this place, just over 400 for your pallet, Seumas bar.
Leaving Sky via the Armadale ferry

Our final ride has us up the first of the Torridon climbs, warm enough weather, just about perfect conditions, add a layer at the top for the down

Top of Torridon, uphill done, just as well cos I was hanging, downhill awaits, the only reason to go up!!
Bit of a crash, requiring a mech change out in the field.
If there is one complaint, it’s the downhill isn’t long enough, steep, fast, technical. lines to make, we love those kinda trails

Stunning 4 days of riding, as always could have been fitter, but, considering 8/9 weeks before this trip it was taking me 5 minutes to put my socks on and I was hobbling round the house using furniture to support me due to low back issues, I’ll settle for struggling on the ups for the views and the descents.

Huge shout outs to our guides Chris Gibbs and Kirsty Adams, tip top trip. H+I = recommended.