I’ve been meaning to get a proper bike rack for a while. I’d tried a few of ways of attaching the bike to the car and most would involve regular resprays. The £25 I spent was far less than expected and this trip was the fantastic first foray into what my brain already calls “bike and hikes”, a phrase the rest of me feels a bit embarrassed by….
The idea was akin to my time kayaking at uni. We’d take the minibus packed with gear, and on top of our boats and paddles we’d attach a bike so that someone could cycle back upstream and get the bus. Why we didn’t take a car I’m unclear about now, my memory being all the poorer after a lifetime writing lists.
But the bike was part of the adventure and I felt that access to a bike now would allow me to reach remote hills and areas more quickly and mean some of my walking trips could be more linear. I love a circuit, to avoid walking to a particular point and back, the back being the bit that for me can be a bit dispiriting on a day out. I’ve never particularly enjoyed the walk back as much as the powering ever onward, and this trip demonstrated the power of always moving forward.
The East Highland Way has interested me on and off for years and particularly the section between Laggan and Newtonmore. The bike made this simple. Park at Newtonmore, pedal to Laggan, and walk back to the car, a 13km cycle along the A86 followed by a 15km walk via Strath an Eilich, Dalnashallag bothy and Glen Banchor.
The old bridge up the track to Strath an Eilich from Balgowan. Yes I crossed it. No it didn’t break.
Looking down Strath an Eilich towards the Monadh Liath.
Almost at Dalnashallag bothy.
The view back down Strath an Eilich from Dalnashallag bothy.
Looking back at Dalnashallag bothy from Glen Banchor.
A ruined cottage at Dalballoch in Glen Banchor, looking back towards the bothy.
The warm weather and sunshine was amazing and the autumn colours on show were brighter and more natural than any Instagram filter could provide.
I’ve now got my eye on completing the EHW over the next few months. The bike rack will definitely help. As will the bike. And always forward. I don’t fancy cycling backwards.