This week’s video cavalcade comes to us via Twitter! Our new twitter cousins, Illya & Vida, share their fat-venture video and some insightful info about the journey that took them to the bosom of fat-bike paradise – Scotland. I’ll let them tell their tale, in their own words…
We have been mountain biking for many years starting at the time we both worked in the centre of the London. We used to travel down the M4 for hours to Wales to play in the Coed-y-Brenin tracks for the weekend supplemented by more local trails, bridleways in England, on other weekends when 1st world problems like mowing the lawn, demanded our attention. Once a year we would venture north to Scotland to explore until after several years of annual trips we moved to Scotland with a plan to just play with work there to fund the biking fun.
After 6 years in Scotland we discovered fat bikes along with a timely introduction to bike packing which gave a new twist to the adventure of exploring Scotland by bike. And in Scotland there is lots to explore! We are lucky to have In Scotland open access to most land however even with the best maps in the world, Ordnance Survey maps, the black track on the map doesn’t give a clue as to what you will encounter on the ground. It can range from sublime singletrack to “where is the track?”. You will learn to expect this if going exploring here.
The Glen Kinglass bike packing trip was one of those, seen the video (hmmm), read the blogs, but with the weather mixed with ground conditions, nothing is certain, so we expected an adventure. In this case it worked out well. The weather was good (no wind no rain) and the trails, the ‘landy’ Land Rover double track made cycling the hills with loaded bikes a bit easier. Meeting the singletrack instantly forced us to walking mode as we had to lift/push/carry our bikes a few miles over boggy ground to connect with the double track on the other side, towards Bridge of Orchy. Along the way once inland from the coast resting for more than a few minutes attracted the Highland Midge. A good reason to keep moving on as they cannot fly more than a couple of miles per hour but give the females a chance to get close they will bite.
The bikes. One is a Canyon Dude. A great name I think for a fat bike (Dudes of Hazard a connection I believe there is). It is a stock bike and great value for the specification. Pity you cannot get them state side yet. The other is a custom spec Hope Salsa Bucksaw carbon built by myself with the exception of the wheels. I did not want to deal with the faff of specing the spokes so I had Charlie The Bikemonger (who supplied the frame) build the Hope Fatso Whisky No.70 carbon wheels. Gearing is 2×10 40T driven by 22T 36T combo low enough to get up some pretty steep stuff when laden.
The kit we use. The bike packing kit is Apidura through out on both bikes. The tent is 3 man by Alpkit, super light. That with the 32l backpacks still makes for a heavy load especially when we have had to lift or lower bikes vertically 3 meters to cross river beds (where’s the track? again). We have stripped our kit from a normal camping but we are not absolute minimalists – the whisky flask is mandatory.
Along the way from Taynuilt north we discovered a building that has a path running to it. Is it a bothy? Yes it is. A good majority of Bothy locations are not publicised so it is very much a discovery process to find them. This is a good thing as it keeps them in good condition for other like minded travellers who appreciate a tidy bothy and who keep to the etiquette rules. While we had a tent we decided to utilise the bothy for eating and lighting a fire -because no one else was there and we could! The midges do not pass the doorway hence “we are camping here”. We slept in the tent as the bothy had a dirt floor – the decor can vary considerably, it is that rudimentary, but part of the fun!
The scenery is as typical of Scotland i.e. varied and unique. No two places are quite the same. For example riding across the granite rock bed as you will see in the video is nothing we have encountered in Scotland before. The only other place similar but on a much larger scale was riding in Felle area in Norway. Quite unique and surreal.
Enough talking, enjoy the video. I have made other videos of our adventures in all part of Scotland. Follow here or North3rdMedia dot com on YouTube the web site.
Illya & Vida
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