Guest blogger and OS Champion, Annie Evans, offers inspiration on where to ride a bike during Wild Night Out around the North of the UK.
Grab your bike and go find yourself an adventure!
Any bike will do. All you need to do is pack your kit - you could use fancy bike packing bags, paniers, a bob trailer or a simple rucksack (although this last option runs the risk of a sore bum!).
Why go on a bike? Well, the ease of carrying kit means you can take a little more luxury with you - I’ve been known to smuggle a cheeseboard along with me. You can also travel further and get yourself to some really awesome places that you wouldn’t be able to get to by foot in the same time frame. Of course riding a bike is always fun so you are also guaranteed some smiles!
If your bicycle hasn’t been out of the garage for a while, it’s worth giving it a good check over the week before so you can sort out any rusty chains or other minor issues. Take a spare inner tube and pump with you just in case you get a puncture.
The Cairngorms offer some great cycling routes. With small children who can’t go too far, Rothiemurchus Forest offers many options. The track from Loch Morlich towards Loch an Eileen is wide, smooth and family friendly. There are toilets at both ends and many awesome camping spots along the way and also a couple of nearby fully serviced campsites.
For a longer, slightly rougher ride, head up into Glen Eanaich to the stunningly situated Loch Eanaich, with its glittering, dark blue waters surrounded by mighty cliffs. It’s almost all downhill on the way home too. Be warned, there are a couple of small fords so you will get wet feet, but that’s all part of the fun.
For a truly beautiful and remote camp spot, start in Dalwhinne and ride in to the site of Culra Bothy (now shut). This is Land Rover track all the way; it gets a bit rougher over the final few kilometres, but is pretty good going. There are many awesome tent spots here under the mighty Ben Alder, which would make a great addition to your trip if you fancied tackling a Munro.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you have a look at the Scottish Outdoor Access Code or The Countryside Code before you go. Check the weather and have a plan B if your trip is not quite going as planned. Bad weather doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, but a shorter route might be more enjoyable.
Camping out is very important to me, I’m lucky enough to be able to average a night a week under the stars (or clouds). It helps me to sleep well, to relax and to contemplate. As a child it offered me hours of freedom to explore and discover. Many of my strongest and best memories are of camping.
The UK has some amazing landscapes and is a truly wonderful place to be able to camp out and enjoy our countryside. I hope you all have a great Wild Night Out!