Behind the scenes of Ric’s trip to the Isle of Skye.
The idea to go and ride some bikes on Skye began life as nothing more than an excuse to go and trawl some distilleries. Like a crew of half-rate vikings, we’d batter down the doors of various bastions of fire water and sip, sample and guzzle our way through some of Scotland’s finest malts before attempting to ride some of it’s rarest trails.
That shifted though when I started researching the riding on Skye. GoWhere’s Andy McKenna was a massive help and it soon became clear that Scotland should be the real star of the feature. The hunt was on for ‘epic’.
I drove to Andy’s house in Innerleithen where we also met up with Neil Donoghue who was a last minute addition to the trip. For those of you who’ve never driven to Skye, it’s a LONG way to go from pretty much anywhere but the drive was pretty scenic and the usual van banter was in good flow.
You can read all about the journey and the riding in the magazine of course but here are some things I learnt whilst on the trip…
1. Reversing on to a ferry is tricky
A long wheelbase VW Transporter filled with bikes, kit and three gobby blokes all willing you to get it as wrong as wrong gets is a difficult machine to back down a stupidly steep ramp on to a very small ferry. Getting it on there in a oner was one of the great achievements of my life so far.
2. Whiskey is actually quite nice
My early experiences of whiskey pretty much consisted of Jim MacDonald in Corrie and drinking Jack Danials and Coke to try and look half-civilised at weddings. When presented with a 10 year-old malt then after a full days riding I was worried I’d pull a ‘Dear God that’s horrible’ face and mortally offend the nice wee woman from Talisker. As it turned out, I got all the flavours she was on about and learnt to embrace the warming whiskey burn. Buoyed by the experience, I even bought a bottle. Which I’ve yet to revisit.
3. Skye is beautiful
Like, genuinely, genuinely stunning. Everywhere around you seems to be hewn from a scene from Lord of the Rings. Similar (I’m guessing) to Megan Fox or a Jaguar E-Type Coupe, it’s incredibly difficult to describe such a perfect shape or form in words. Even if you’re sold on what I’ve managed to whittle down from a sea of adjectives in the article, go and visit Skye. I genuinely don’t think that Britain gets any more beautiful.
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