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by Liv Ambassador Nicole Romanow

Rocks, sunshine, whisky, cows, ocean, gin, seafood, kilts, water bars, rain, and a wee bit of fun in Scotland

When I thought about squeezing in a week of biking early season, I hadn’t considered going to Scotland. Known as a landmark in the EWS circuit, I knew Scotland was a world-renowned mountain bike destination, but I wasn’t sure what it had to offer me, a cross-country rider with a deep love for technical climbing and flow trails.


Having traveled with H+I Adventures before, I knew a trip with them in their home country would be dialed. With multiple options to choose from, I decided on the Highland Odyssey, touted as “the best variety of riding and cultural experience” you could get. I started a mental Scottish checklist: amazing singletrack, highland cows, whisky, bright green pastures, lambs and mud. I got all that and so much more!

The 7-day trip took us through the Scottish Highlands from Inverness to the rolling hills of the Cairngorm mountains, to the west coast and the massive peaks of the Cullins on the Isle of Skye, and to the Torridon range in the UK’s only arctic environment. The riding was a true sampling platter; rocky, loose, boggy, technical, smooth, punchy and unforgiving. With my Intrigue Advanced Pro 29 I felt like I couldn’t tackle all of it with confidence and control. We rode in the sunshine (no joke!), fog, rain and heat, each day ending up at a charming guest house or inn, with smoked salmon and a wee dram waiting for us.


In Scotland, universal access to lands for recreational purposes makes riding easily accessible and mountain bikers are welcomed with open arms. The views across the landscapes were unforgettable. In Cairngorm National Park, we rode through wide open valleys and crystal clear rivers (so many times), through farmland with fuzzy cows and hundreds of little lambs. On the edge of Loch Morar, we challenged ourselves on wet, rocky climbs and finished the ride in a remote bay, where we were shuttled back to civilization by boat.

On Skye, our first experience with water bars tested our maneuvering skills, which luckily improved over the next few days, ensuring no carbon rims were harmed the remainder of the trip. Then came the true test, the Torridon day, without a doubt the week's climax. A challenging 7-hour ride over two mountain passes with technical singletrack, a punishing hike-a-bike, and exhilarating rocky descents. We were tested, but we passed and finished with mud-speckled grins.

It was an incredible week, and our guides, Chris and Kirsty went over and above each day to make the experience unique. From the perfectly curated itinerary to the accommodation selection, the food and restaurant recommendations, and the added touch of a whisky and gin tasting, we couldn’t have asked for more. Scotland, a'll be back!

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