Missing link 1

Since I did so much in my absent two months I am breaking it down into smaller stories, this is the first and covers May pretty much. WARNING… Picture Heavy!

I enjoy taking photos, I like to share adventures and have something to look back on, but I don’t like that I only post these digitally and never have a physical photo unless it stands out for some reason then I may print it. I decided to print a load of my photos in polaroid style and create a wall of memories, a lot of them are bike related, some are from my childhood, all make me smile. The wall is in my living room so it’s nice to see it every day, it is not yet complete, I need more pegs, and will continue to print images and when it is full I will swap images in and out to keep it fresh and interesting.

Memory wall
Memory wall

On May 9th I took my sister to Carron Valley for some mountain bike fun, we love it there though lots of people slate it. I like to think of it as a giant bmx track and enjoy the flow of the jumps and berms, it is not technical in the usual sense, there are no roots or big features, but ridden as fast as you can it is a good laugh. Being a surfaced trail it is rideable in all weathers and it features a lot in my winter riding, though it hurts to fall there when the ground is covered in 4 inches of solid ice. We had a lovely mellow day in the sunshine, enjoying short sleeve riding which is always a highlight!

The view over the loch is lovely.
Rebecca loves me taking photos of her on the climbs!
Me in my garish colours.

My birthday is in May, and this year fell nicely on a bank holiday weekend so I took the Friday off work and had a nice long weekend planned. Drove from Glasgow to Perth on Thursday night to catch up with a friend, we drank too much and chatted until about 4am, I am too old for this! Waking at almost 1pm I was worried that I had wasted my first bike day so I ate some food quickly and headed north towards Laggan, a trail I love but only visit on the world cup weekend en route to Fort William each year. I made it to Laggan for just after 3, got my bike sorted and headed up the hill, an ominous cloud hanging overhead and a bit worried that I had left it too late. On the climb the clouds parted, the air warmed, greens became greener and everything just became brighter and better, I think this was in part the weather improving but mostly my hangover shifting. I have never ridden Laggan alone, only in groups, and it was great fun, riding at my own (slow) speed, stopping only when I wanted and repeating anything I wanted to. The rocky, slab based trail is brilliant in all weather but in the sunshine, on my own, on a Friday, it was perfection.

Artsy bike and log photo.
View part way up the climb.
Part way up the upper red climb.
Top of the upper red loop.

On returning to the van I would have loved to go round again, but being a weakling and having another bike day booked in for the next day, I opted to get cleaned up and find a spot for the night instead of pushing it too far. Driving through the Cairngorms is always nice, I drove towards Fochabers because Saturday plans involved meeting friends from Aberdeen to ride the Moray Monster Trails. I found a quiet set-back layby and set up camp, cooked my sausages, enjoyed a beer, and just sat. Bliss.

My layby.
Breakfast time.

After my bacon and eggs I trucked onwards to meet Bruce and Elle at the trail car park. The Moray Monster trails are pretty old school in nature, lots of climbing to start, berms and flow, a lots of roots to finish, but not major big features. The last section had recently been updated and has some massive berms, swoops and flowy features, it was fast, wild and fun trying to keep ahead of Bruce who was snapping at my heels! Brilliant day, but I was glad I had not overdone it at Laggan.

What a view from the top of the Moray climb!
Hey Bruce!
Hey Elle!
Another artsy bike photo.

After our ride we drove back to Aberdeen and went to a pub for a nice catch up, I was on the water as then drove to Stonehaven with my SO where I was treated to a lovely dinner, we camped in the van on the cliff top, woke at sunrise to visit the castle ruins but were defeated by clouds. A few more hours sleep and we drove onward to a lovely beach and had breakfast high up on the cliff tops, before some rock climbing, walking barefoot in the sand and paddling in the freezing cold water, refreshing! Driving back to Glasgow for dinner at my sister’s house then drinks with my friends, it was a perfect weekend, here’s to another year!

Although I do generally avoid gluten and sugar,  there is no avoiding cake made by my sister for me.  It would just be rude!

Next time – EWS, Tweedlove and more vanlife.

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