Mtb’s movers and shakers select their favourite places to ride
Andy and his wife Aneela run Go-Where Scotland, a bespoke guiding company helping riders find adventure on two wheels north of the border. He’s happiest out in the wilds, coaxing riders up the last descent of the day, or celebrating with a beer afterwards. In 2007 Andy was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis but he still leads a healthy and productive life, and helps to highlight the fight against MS.
My best trail
“Anyone that knows me knows my favourite trail’s rarely just about the terrain under the tyres or the amount of adrenaline coursing through my veins. Don’t get me wrong – I love the buzz of mountain biking as much as the next man/woman – but after being in love with this sport since the 80s, I get as big a kick from catching the perfect sunset, watching a weather front pass from a mountain top or just sharing a ride pretty much anywhere with my long- suffering partner in crime Aneela.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to cover a lot of ground on our bikes, both here and abroad, and one thing I love more than anything is being swallowed up by big-mountain landscapes – even better when I’m amongst them for a night or two; if I can combine with a bivvy or bothy I’ve pretty much hit the jackpot.
“Especially nowadays, I crave the perspective that comes from being a tiny insignificant dot on a bike, journeying quietly up, down and through the mountains. I love loading up the minimal amount of kit for a self-sufficient adventure – bikepacking around the tantalisingly epic northern corner of Scotland between Glen Affric and Attadale has got to be my happy place.
“Beinn Fhada is the centrepiece to one of my all-time favourite rides. It combines the ingredients I love: remoteness, scale and some uber- gnarly terrain to keep me focused. It doesn’t hurt that it takes in one of Scotland’s finest descents and, depending which direction I strike out in from this imposing lump, one of the cosiest Highland bars and cutest ferries to Skye. Or alternatively I can venture northwards and enjoy a well-earned pint and the freshest catch of the day in Lochcarron.
“I love the options that bikepacking here gives me: on this route I can either run it as a pure bikepacking mission or set up camp at Camban bothy; offload my kit then travel light and fully commit to the descent. Not much beats returning to base at the end of the day, firing up the stove for soup, oat cakes, olives (if I’m feeling posh) and a swig on the hip flask if the bike and body have returned unscathed from threading the bike down steep, switchback descents. In an environment where dinosaurs wouldn’t look out of place even now, I can’t think of a finer spot. Sláinte.”