Posts Tagged ‘Mountainbiking’


Against advice we went to do the classic Glen Tilt route on bike.  It was said definitely a route for dry conditions, not on the back of one of the wettest weeks of the year.  we almost turned back in a snowstorm but with a chin to the wind  we were rewarded as we dropped down into Glen Tilt.  The pictures cant do it justice.  Classic and Epic.

Back to the Homelands

Filmed in the hills above where i grew up in Kilmorack, Inverness Shire – a place where I’ve spent lots of time learning how to ride Mountain Bikes. When visiting family now, I still like to head out for a bike ride up in the backwoods of my old stomping ground. I thought it was about time a bit of it was captured behind a lens since it’s had such a big influence on my life. The trails are not particularly technical but very fast and flowing so great if you want to get some speed up… plus its a fantastic place to get a lung full of fresh air and a panoramic from the Moray firth to Glen Strathfarrar.


Devil’s Staircase / Ciaran Path

The Devil’s Staircase was apparently named by General Wades soldiers because of the difficulties of carrying building materials along it – its a steep, rough, rocky path which is dangerous and unrelenting… and thats why its great for mountain biking! Well going down it anyway.
We left Glasgow early and congregated with the rest of the 9 strong group at the bottom of the Staircase. The climbing is tough from the offset, but great for getting the circulation going on a cold November morning. We made it to the cairn in pretty good time and so we continued to fire down the first of the fantastic descents on the route. Very fast singletrack, with lots of different lines to choose from and wee jumps if you wish to get in the air for a moment… So far there had only been one puncture, which is pretty good out of 9 on a rough path like this. We turned right and cycled along the huge concrete piping that leads you up to impressive Blackwater Dam.
The next section is the Ciaran path which is 8kms of rough and very technical downhill. There we’re a number of bogs to jump over, as well as 1 or 2 ‘over the handlebar’ maneuvers… but no big injuries! A few broken spokes, a bent derailleur hanger and another puncture though… Eventually we made it to Kinlochleven for a coffee stop. Only 3 wanted to do the return journey. The others had decided to to take the long route by road and meet at the Clachaig Inn. Bowie, Sorley and myself headed back up towards the devils staircase. It was getting dark but as long as nothing went wrong then we would be back at the car soon… of course something went wrong! The path claimed another inner tube and so we spent ages trying to mend it with crap repair patches… after much faffage and eventual success, we set off down the staircase with bike lights on full beam. My hands we’re now completely numb, but it didn’t matter as the descent back to the car in the pitch black took no time at all and was amazing.


Ben Alder circuit for Birthdayboy Bawheed

I fist met Somhairle at playschool almost 3 decades ago.  Since then he’s had a few nicknames (although not nearly as many as Spad it must be said), but we’ve remained friends none-the-less.  In a celebration of the start of his 30th year in existence the three of us took off for a circumnavigation of one of Scotland’s most-difficult to get to Munros, Ben Alder.   The forecast might’ve looked crap, but as the adage goes – you snooze you loose – so on we went despite the fact snoozing was pretty tempting at half six in the morning.  It stayed a bawhair off crap all day as we picked our way through Glens, over the the bealuchs, through bogs, around lochs under mountains fixing punctures while eating Haribo and sitting looking at the wilderness.  We found some twisted aircraft metal on our way through Bealach Dubh before the descent into the glen.  Ben Alder bothy in the sunshine was a rare place to be where we sat chatting to a Liverpudlian, who we met a few times on the way round,  before tramping up and over Sron Bealach Beithe with our tyres sinking frustratingly into the bog when the path was just getting under way.  But we’d paid our dues, and the descents reminded me yet again how good it is to be on two wheels in the wilderness.  One crash from the now expert crashist Bawheed and three punctures courtesy of the drainage ditches (and some miss-timed bunny hops) kept us in our place.  Back at the pub Fash n Chaps n a shandy sorted us out before the Citroen took us the backroads home three muddy bikes stuffed in the boot – HAPPY BIRTHDAY BAWHEED!

A Week on Mull – SGC 2010

Well its that time of year again when the Scotstoun Gentlemen’s Club (SGC) head out to the hills for a week of outdoor pursuits – This year we went to Mull. Unfortunately we spent the week trying to predict the unpredictable weather! Nonetheless we made the best of it and got out on the bikes to Tobermory via Loch Frisa, Coastal walking on the Ross of Mull and gorge walking up in Glen Forsa and also by Loch na Keal. So much to do on this Island – definitely heading back there soon.


Cairngorm Cluster

Sometimes things go to plan, and sometimes they don’t.  After a couple of days of pushing bikes through the wind and rain in the Cairngorms I think it’s fair to say that this one didn’t go quite as planned!  The remote tracks in at the back of the Cairngorms didn’t make for easy mountain biking after several weeks of rain, but these are the sort of weekends that you learn the most, and the team pulls together to finish what was started, in whatever style (hopefully we’ll be able to post a video of kathryn nose planting into a bog).

Tim/ Kathryn / Spad / Somhairle / Robin / Misha


Glasgow > Aviemore by Train (with bikes)
Aviemore > Ryvoan Bothy for sleep (night cycle with a stop off at glenmore lodge for a pint).

Ryvoan > fords of Avon (carrying bikes through Strath Nethy on all but short sections)
Fords of Avon > Derry Lodge (pushing bikes before descent through Glen Derry).
Derry Lodge > Corrour bothy for sleep (pushing bikes through night and arriving at 11pm).

Corrour bothy > White bridge
White Bridge to Braemar (planned route through Glen Tilt to Blair Athole train station changed because of time limitation).
Braemar > Pitochry by taxi!!
Pitlochry > Glasgow train  (back at 10 ish)

all looking like serious mo fo’s in those pics so if you’ve any to add (or video) give me a shout misha @

About High-8

High-8 is a loose gathering of like minded adventurists who document first person, on the ground experiences with words, photos and film. The hope is to form a rough guide to outdoor adventure sports in Scotland and provide a warts and all, honest representation of what we find. No sport is excluded from mountaineering and mountain biking to gorge walking and kayak all are welcome and encouraged.


If you want to share some of your adventures just drop as an email and we'll register you on to the system.


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We have compiled a list of usefull weather forecasts to help with planning trips. This list is designed to work on mobile phones, so it can be used when out in the wilds. Signal willing of course...

The Code

The Country Code, which most of us learned in school (and we probably haven't read since!), was updated in 2004 when it became the Countryside Code. Here's the updated version:
  • Be safe - plan ahead and follow any signs
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Protect plants and animals, and take your litter home
  • Keep dogs under close control
  • Consider other people
In Scotland, where there is a more general right of access, there also exists the Scottish Outdoor Access Code:
  • Take responsibility for your own actions
  • Respect people’s privacy and peace of mind
  • Help farmers, landowners and others to work safely and effectively
  • Care for the environment
  • Keep your dog under proper control
  • Take extra care if you are organising a group, an event or running a business.
There's obviously a lot to to be learned from these - it's amazing how many people get out to enjoy the countryside but are still happy to leave it in a mess. Even with the recent updates, the Countryside Codes seem slightly outdated when considering the wider issues involved when lots of people get out into the countryside. Some places just can't handle high volumes of people, no matter how they behave and publicity, no matter how interesting or well-done , has the potential to attract lots of people to an area. Blogs including video, pictures or words, form part the the wider media which could easily contribute to tipping the balance, and so we as bloggers have to consider the implications of what we decide to post. Can the place we're writing about take more people, and if not, it might be wiser to leave maps, place names or grid references out of posts. In Scotland, the Mountain Bothies Association has been careful to protect the location of some Bothies due to mis-treatment and, in some cases, even malicious vandalism. That is not to say they would not advocate people using them - in fact, a well used, maintained and loved network of bothies exist, and the MBA as an organisation is there to encourage this. Some bothies are busier than others but generally it is the less remote places which are more susceptible to abuse - something which might be worth considering when deciding whether to post information. It must be said, in most cases it's obvious what should or shouldn't be publisiced, but it's worth taking these considerations to mind.

Please note: The Code is constantly being revised and added to. If you like to add something login in to the discussion on the forum.