Back in 2019 I set off from home on what I had hoped to be a 10 hour drive to a destination I wanted to ride, Sandwood Bay in the far north west of Scotland. Unfortunately after a few hours driving my vehicle decided it wasn’t to be, so the plan was put on hold. The plan changed for the year ahead but as you know that’s when the world changed due to the virus! Last year I https://fat-bike.com/2022/04/lad-and-dad-in-scotland/ went with my son but we didn’t get to ride at the Bay I was so keen to visit. However over the Easter weekend of 2023 I had the time and the weather looked to be on my side. The plan was back on!!
The scenery as you drive through the Highlands of northern Scotland is spectacular, with mountains rising above lochs.
I finally reached the end of the road and the ever faithful Salsa Mukluk was loaded up for a couple of nights chilling on the coast. I’m not one for big miles anymore when bikepacking, I much prefer to chill out and savour the views that’s offered to me.
Sandwood Bay is a lovely looking beach and what makes it appealing is the remoteness of it after such a long drive.
Once down on the coast the beach was fun to ride on. Despite the beach having some visitors during the course of the day, the only way you could tell is by the footprints in the sand. I did notice a few other people with their tents within the sand dunes and I had an area in mind after studying the maps for so long. The plan was to pitch on the northern edge of the beach on a higher part so I could get some fine views looking down the beach.
The weather that afternoon was fine and dry. The wind settled down and the skies stayed clear for the night ahead.
The following morning my plan was to just chill out and enjoy the place. There was one place that I wanted to visit though, Strathchailleach bothy. Bothies in the UK are usually former cottages that are always open so you can spend the night in them free of charge. You may be on your own or you could spend the night with others. Strathchailleach bothy was the adopted home of a guy called ‘Sandy’ who lived there for 32 years! (its worth an internet search)
There’s no paths to the bothy and its an extremely boggy area, so wet feet come as standard. One side of the bothy has been kept as it was when Sandy lived there. There are his paintings on the walls that give the bothy a personal feel.
After another great evening chilling out at my camp spot, it was time to move on to another area I wanted to visit, the Suileag bothy which was a couple of hours drive away.
The track was a great way into the heart of this area. The mighty mountain of Sluilven overlooked the 7 miles to the bothy.
To my surprise there was only one other in there and she was in the room next door which meant I had one of the other rooms all to myself. After a little more exploring the area by foot and by bike it was time to chill out once again.
The next morning it was time to tidy up and make my way home after a fantastic 3 nights doing what I love to do, chilled out bikepacking.
I am always blown away by how awesome the views from your campsite! I am so ready for another bike pack season.
Yep, views from the camp site is an important ingredient to a successful camp! I don’t see the point in being surrounded by trees if you can savior a view when bikepacking. Enjoy the year ahead!!
I really appreciate your chilled out style, so many folks idolizing ultra fast and far, it’s refreshing to see someone enjoying where they are at.
Thanks Jeff, I’m just keeping it normal for us ‘normal’ folk!