Westworld.

8 11 2016

A little while ago now, it became clear things were afoot on the West Highland Way, with trail construction beginning near the edge of Loch Lomond, north of Rowardennan.

Three years later and it would appear the work is complete.

I used to ride the West Highland Way fairly often: it was Scotland’s first ‘made’ long distance walking route, stretching 96 miles from Milngavie to Fort William, passing some stunning West Coast scenery on the way. Around 80,000 walkers use the route yearly, concentrated in the summer months and for this reason, biking on the route is best out of season.

So I found myself trundling up from Balmaha the other day in glorious sunshine – although there was a serious nip to the northerly head wind – and on climbing past the Lodge at Rowardennan, found the left turn onto the new section.

Immediately, it became clear the plan was to emulate the singletrack, which is so festooned with natural features, that makes the section from Rowchoish north to Inversnaid sublime.

In saying that, they turned the dial up to 11.

Rock steps, rock step gaps over plunging water run offs, narrow and super steep wooden staircases, fallen tree up-overs, narrow gaps through sharp rocks and edge-of-the-loch trail all combined to leave me wondering if I enjoyed it or not.

I returned by the high route, giving me time to reflect. Yes, I enjoyed it but it is a serious undertaking, requiring skill, balance and confidence to tackle on a bike. To combine it into the whole route – particularly loaded – would need a serious amount of beard stroking.

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The section i rode was 3.5 hrs. Do click for bigger pics and there are a few more on my flickr. I didn’t catch most of the techy sections as it was hard enough to do once, let alone scope for a pic…

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Blue dot junkie.

23 06 2013

I am sure that some of youse guys will know what the term in the title of this post refers to: the Tour Divide.

Over the years, I have followed the Tour Divide and Great Divide Race, usually on MTB Cast and bikepacking.net. Sometimes with all-hours-of-the-day obsession (when Jenn or Ollie were riding, for example), sometimes with a slightly more distant, but no less interested, perspective.

I have no interest in doing this route as a time trial myself: there are far too many areas with excellent riding I would bypass, close by as I turned miles over on relatively less interesting trail. It could easily form the back bone of a superb tour, though.

This year, I am again following more closely. Mike Hall, round the world record breaker, who has some fascinating gear info on his site, is in the lead – and on record pace – and a friend, James Olsen, bike designer and fellow Jones aficionado, is in 4th, making amazing progress.

It is also very interesting to see some of the bike set ups. Steve Puerzer kindly posted a gallery of bike images, here. Fascinating for a gear geek like myself.

So (dee dah dadeedadidda, dee dah dadeedadidda) I’ll be watching. Will you?