Video, Edinburgh Pilgrim's Route

When I saw 'Old Edinburgh Road' on the Ordnance Survey map I knew it would be a great route to try to cycle.

When I didn't realise at the time was how important this had been as a pilgrim route, then coaching route to Port Patrick and Ireland.

We had a short break in Dumfries and Galloway towards the end of 2019 and, driving around, I saw streets named Old Edinburgh Road, so I knew it stretched quite a distance.

I had to try to follow it, and you can see how that turned out in the YouTube video below.  I think it's one of the best I've made to date,  so if you like it, please subscribe to my YouTube channel.

The excellent Heritage Paths website says of this route, "It would have seen a huge amount of traffic in medieval Scotland, much of it consisting of pilgrimages to Whithorn Priory. Indeed James IV was a regular pilgrim and so would have used this route. Later it became the coach road to Port Patrick."  You can see the old route from before the reservoir was built on older maps here.

Now it's probably best ridden in the opposite direction.  Gravity will help you down a steep, off-road bad track where I had to push.  Also the section where I got a little lost (you can see my confused track) will be much easier to navigate.

Sunset Photo Competition, West Coast of Scotland

Next year has been designated the Year of Coasts and Waters in a VisitScotland marketing campaign.

Part of that umbrella campaign is one for the west coast called West Coast Waters.

It's being promoted with a West Coast Sunset photo competition on Instagram.

If you're over 18, just post an Instagram photo of a spectacular sunset on Scotland's west coast; add the hashtag #wcwsunsets; tag the location; and tag @wcwscotland.  Follow them too if you want to know whether you won.  You'll automatically enter the competition with a draw every two weeks, and you could win either a bottle of locally produced whisky or gin.

I'm fairly sure this blog is read by adventurous outdoor types, most of whom will have a photo of a spectacular west coast sunset somewhere in their collection.  If not, I'm sure they'll be able to snap one during 2020.  So I made a short video about this, because a winning photo could already be on your computer.

Video, Cycling the Morvern Gap. Adventure Cycling in the Scottish Highlands

Since buying my gravel bike in May I've seen our part of the Scottish Highlands in a different light.

I've cycled most of the roads - there aren't that many.  I've hiked lots of the hills, which are mostly too steep to carry up a heavy mountain bike.

But with the light gravel bike I'm seeking out new through-routes - or at least new to me.  Ideally they'll all be on rough tracks or rideable paths with the minimum of pushing and carrying.

I'd been looking at the area of Morvern from Rahoy to Laudale for a while.  There are a few old Rights of Way in there, and I've done a couple, but all seem to involve quite a bit of carrying.  Then I spotted two forest tracks which head deep into the interior and come within a few kilometres of joining up.

This is what I called the Morvern Gap.  Except, it's not a gap at all.  The roads DO join up and give a fantastic route, almost all of which is rideable - the route mapping is below.  The Ordnance Survey and other mapping systems simply haven't caught up yet.  How do I know this?  Watch the video to find out.

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Video, Wild Swimming Nirvana, The Arisaig Skerries, Scotland

Arisaig is sea kayak central.

The reasons for this also make it a superb location for open water swimming.

Those reasons don't need a long explanation, you only have to look at a satellite image of the area (below).

If an Almighty Deity smashed a rock with celestial sledge hammer, scattering the fragments across the sea, it would look like this.  The Arisaig Skerries are spectacular.

Video, Sonder Camino Ti Review at Six Months

The Sonder Camino Ti has helped me re-discover the joy of off-road cycling, so it's no secret I like this bike.

However, there are shortcomings.  Niggles, really.  But let's go back a step.

To learn why I bought the Sonder Camino rather than the Kinesis titanium bike I had as a demonstrator, please check out this video.

My Titanium Test video sets out the comparison between the two and explains why I think the Camino is a good bike and one heck of an astonishingly good price.

Video, Fake Cycling Kit

When something looks too good to be true, it usually is.

So a Rapha brand cycling shirt for £9 plus postage was always going to be slightly dodgy - but how bad could it be?

I bought one to find out.

My parents used to own fashion shops and, back in the day, the factories which made designer dresses would often make extra, tweak a few things, then sell them as their own.  It was called "cabbage" - no idea why.

Video Series, Safety In Wild Places

It's easy to take your own skills for granted and undervalue them.

Acquired over a lifetime of exploring wild places, techniques that are second nature to me might not be to other people.

After a tricky hike-a-bike through woods, where a slip could see me impaled on a branch, I looked at my small collections of safety kit and thought, "I should tell people about this".