Loch Shiel and Loch Morar – highland sumertime bikepacking and packrafting story

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  • Loch Shiel and Loch Morar – highland sumertime bikepacking and packrafting story
  • nikk
    Member

    I have finally managed to get down my story of my solo summer bikepack trip in the West coast of Scotland. You can see the full story so far at http://niksbikingblog.blogspot.com/ – there will be another two parts posted over the coming weeks.

    Here are some extracts and a couple of photos to give you a flavour…

    Boat ready, I packed the bike and the two dry bags onto the bow. I could wax lyrical about how atmospheric this spot was, looking over to The Green Isle (Eilean Fhianain) to Ben Resipole blanketed in rolling cloud and low mist. But that’s what photos are for.

    Although the quad track was reasonable, endless waterbars and cross-drains together with large rocks and a generally rough surface, combined with the added weight on my bike, made me walk more than I would have liked. I had a strange sense of isolation, after the bustle of Glenfinnan I knew I was heading for an overnight camp miles from anyone, miles from any road. well off the beaten track.

    Kbrembo
    Member

    Wow !

    Stunning trip.

    Well done

    heihei
    Member

    Stunning photos. Rare that I’ve seen photos taken in such weather that are so vivid. Makes me realise it’s been far too long since I’ve been to that part of Scotland. Awesome stuff.

    coastkid
    Member

    A proper mountain biking post! , out there doing it, nice Nik,
    Great pics!, and nice one starting a blog! πŸ™‚

    d45yth
    Member

    A proper adventure! Enjoyed reading your blog…bet you wished you’d had a rope for lowering your bike down that slab! You should post a link to it on Bike and Bivi, Bearbones Bikepacking too.

    +1 on the pics also.

    Premier Icon kennyp
    Subscriber

    Great story and stunning pictures. How much did your boat weigh, and was it a problem cycling with it on the bike?

    Premier Icon piha
    Subscriber

    That looks fantastic and I’m very jealous. That looks a proper adventure and thanks for posting it.

    That was absolutely brilliant, I was with you every step of the way down the trackless glen, have been there so many times in the last couple of years, although I’ve never had to indulge in any rock climbing! 😯

    Fancied doing a (walking trip) following that route (from Glenfinnan at least), and your description should help me make my mind up!

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    13th – I have walked Glenfinnan to morar – a great walk. let me know if you want my route

    Premier Icon seosamh77
    Subscriber

    fantastic, looking forward to the next installment.

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    Cracking story / pics BTW nick – I love that stuff.

    Premier Icon debaser
    Subscriber

    Lovely photos and write up, looking forward to day two.

    Diane
    Member

    Wow – that’s lovely! Looking forward to the next installment πŸ™‚

    nikk
    Member

    Thanks for all the replies everyone! It really makes it worthwhile putting this stuff up to know others get into it πŸ™‚

    d45yth – I didn’t know there were so many bikepacking forums! I’ll have to sign up there…

    kennyp – The packraft weighs approx 2.7 kilos, the paddle about 800 grams, and the PFD about 500 (plus knife, PLB and emergency kit another 500 I guess), so thats about 4.5 kilos all in at a rough guess. I found it doesn’t make much difference on flat or gentle incline, but as things get steeper, I really notice the extra weight, especially once you add in the camping stuff, food, camera, radio, etc etc. So with say an extra 10 kilos, that is a consideration for sure on hills. Walking it felt fine TBH, and the weight was distributed in 4 places – handlebars, framebag, rear rack, and rucksack, so it was very balanced.

    13thfloormonk – I have to say, I was not planning on rock climbing either. As I went down the glen, I was thinking to myself “this is crazy”. I don’t think I could have gone back the way without a herculean effort, and that slab would have really been hard to climb up!

    Premier Icon billyboy
    Subscriber
    OrangeChammy
    Member

    Hey nick, wish I could have made it… where is the xc cannondale, what are you riding these days… Good to see a bit of adventure going on – I am dead keen to do a trip like this, not even been off road for ages excpet for bloomin CX races! (do they count?)

    I’m saying this assuming you are the nick I know – I reckon there could only be one nick doing a pack raft trip in the highlands though πŸ™‚

    Stephen.

    BlindMelon
    Member

    great blog makes me want to get out there!

    slugwash
    Member

    Wicked! 8)

    I really must get one of those packraft thingys.

    druidh
    Member

    Nik – really enjoying that. I was up that way (Polloch, Loch Shiel) earlier this year and I think it has a lot of potential for those not unwilling to push a bike for a few km.

    What are you doing to your photos though? The colours all look a bit weird πŸ™‚

    trekstar
    Member

    Wow looks amazing. You might want to post the report here to get it some more exposure – http://www.trailscotland.co.uk/forums

    nikk
    Member

    Hi all – I have put up the second installment (day 2) of my trip, you can read it at http://niksbikingblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/highland-summertime-bikepacking-and.html. I seem to have written more than I had planned, so you may want to make yourself a cup of tea (or fix yourself a drink) before reading it!

    (If you missed the first installment, you can see it at http://niksbikingblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/loch-shiel-and-loch-morar-highland.html )

    Here is a couple of quotes and pics from it to give you a taste…

    When I was planning the trip, I had imagined cycling and walking the length of the loch along the track marked on the map. However, the previous afternoons scramble up and down the glen, the steepness and bogginess of the general terrain, plus the absence of anything resembling any kind of reasonable track along the loch, the decision was an easy one. I’ll try the packraft. I inflated the raft, filled up my water bladder with water from the loch, and packed the bike and kit on it.

    It must be lunchtime by now, so I assemble my bike and head over to the concrete end of the pier, set up the stove, have some oatcakes and cheese, and take in the view. The sun came out, and the wind died down. Bliss.

    nikk
    Member

    Stephen – yeh it’s me! Have to catchup sometime soon. This is the same bike, just a replaced frame, swapped over forks, new saddle, new tyres…

    druidh – the 1st day pic colours were hard. I think I warmed them up a bit too much, and that has given them a pinkish tint. Is that what you are seeing?

    Nikk what make/model of boat is it?

    Proper adventure, keep it up πŸ˜€

    Rik
    Member

    Really love the idea of this but when I looked it was Β£1200-1500 for a full set up? Packraft, paddle and safety jacket is that still the case.

    Premier Icon takisawa2
    Subscriber

    That’s my Xmas eve sorted, laptop, nibbles & a good drool over this trip & pics. Top man for posting this up. πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon ruffrider
    Subscriber

    Great pictures and well written account, really want to do something like this one day….

    nikk
    Member

    Well, I have managed to get part three up now, you can see it at http://niksbikingblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/highland-summertime-bikepacking-and.html

    I poked my head outside. Lovely, it looked like it was going to be a cracking day.

    I see there are three people on it, lounging about. Looks like bliss. I get closer, and one of them waves over at me. I wave back “Hi there!”, not sure if an ‘ahoy there’ would have been more appropriate. He calls back “Are you Nik?”. Surprised, I acknowledge I am he.

    still s8tannorm – the boat is an Denali Llama.

    Rik – yeh, the costs add up, same as for mountain bikes. The boat is about $850, plus paddle, plus PFD. I have had a load of use out of the boat, so it was worth it IMHO.

    heihei
    Member

    Great write-up again Nik. Castle Tioram & Dorlin is a special place to finish your trip – I once spent a great family holiday there watching otters and seals in the loch!

    Premier Icon seosamh77
    Subscriber

    great stuff, cheers again! πŸ™‚

    nikk
    Member

    I uploaded a video now, check it oot!

    HD link at http://youtu.be/WvosdNO_vI4?hd=1 – remember to click the bottom right box to get it full screen…

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvosdNO_vI4[/video]

    heihei – yeh, it’s a magical place.

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