On May 25th Dan and I left for Glasgow to participate in the Highlands 550, a 550 mile bikepacking race through the Scottish Highlands. It is probably better to call it, as described on the event page, an individual time trial through some of the best country the highlands has to offer. Below are some pictures, a couple of links, and a few words of what we experienced.

IMG_20160526_095035
One of the first things we did after arriving was seek out a Scottish breakfast, complete with bacon, sausage, blood pudding, tomatoes, beans and eggs – yummy
Wandered around Glasgow for a day before heading to the race start
Wandered around Glasgow for a day before heading to the race start
50+ riders started, including a couple on a tandem (I think they are still a couple)
SONY DSC
The scenery was outstanding
SONY DSC
Lots of hike-a-bike. Here we had to walk (occasionally we could ride) around a lake, there was no trail just the shore to follow to the other side
SONY DSC
When it worked out we stayed in a bothy, an abandoned house maintained by a trail association for the use of those on the trail

This is a neat little video on bothys and mountain bikes

SONY DSC
Passed through enough villages that we could purchase most of our meals (and maybe an ale)
IMG_20160601_201731
A wide variety of trails, from single track to old roads to pavement, all of them welcomed and enjoyed, even those that we had to hike

The thing about this ride is that you have to accept that you are going to hike-a-bike, anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. I think our longest stretch was between 6 and 7 miles of continuous walking, and if you are walking your pulling, pushing, lifting, and hauling your bike which felt more like a piano than a bike if you carried a lot of stuff. On that note they say you pack your insecurities when you do one of these rides, the more insecure you are about your abilities and your equipment the more you take (“well, I better take this and this and this in case this and this and this happens”). This ride has made me look hard at my insecurities.

IMG_20160530_204849
Going over the a pass late in the evening, going through clouds is always neat
IMG_20160601_092105
We were very lucky. We had days of sunny weather with no rain, very unusual
IMG_20160601_201652
Sometime it felt like you were heading into Mordor

Just wanted to give you a taste of the trip, if you want to see more pictures you can find them on my Flickr account.

We finished in 6 days and 21 hours. The top riders finished in 4 days and change.

Happy to answer any questions about this event.

Cheers.