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THE ROAD TO THUNDERGAY

Sanny and Dave explore the western slopes of the Scottish isle of Arran, far removed from the tourist-heavy honeypots of Brodick and Goatfell.

“Is that a dude dressed as Princess Leia?” I expleted, more than a little taken aback when a bearded vision of a hairy-arsed bloke walked past us as Dave and I queued to board the early o’clock ferry from Ardrossan to Brodick, the main town on Arran. I suppose I should not have been surprised to have my pre-adolescent crush smashed into thousands of pieces.

After all, this was the May bank holiday weekend and Arran’s highest peak, Goatfell, does a roaring trade in attracting day-trip punters, serious mountaineering types and charity walkers. Of course, he could have been a hard-core fan of the holy trilogy who had perhaps taken the passing of Chewie aka Peter Mayhew a little too close to heart. Or maybe he just dressed that way all the time. Who am I to judge?

UK ADVENTURE

Deploy the food anchor.

Boarding the ferry, Dave and I stood out like sore thumbs from the Lycra-clad roadies and cyclo tourists who make up most of the cycle traffic on the island. We were marching to a different drum though and heading off the beaten track, far from the madding (maddening, even?) crowd. Our destination lay to the north-west of the island along the broad, vaguely pronounceable summit ridge that connects Beinn Bharrain and Beinn Bhreac, before dropping down to the picturesque Coire-Fhionn Lochan. As rides go, it was a bit of a step into the unknown. A trawl of t’interweb yielded precious little useful information in terms of which route to take, whether the riding was up to scratch and a sum total of zero first-hand accounts of anyone having ridden it. All we had was a map and an idea. Fortunately, Greg, aka Nobeerinthefridge from the Forum, was able to provide me with some pointers, having previously hiked it and his description of walking down the valley to the wonderfully named Thundergay was enough to whet the appetite. Like Phileas Fogg and Passepartout, Dave and I were taking a leap of faith in the hope of striking trail gold.

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About Singletrack

Editorial Chipps is brushing up on his knowledge of rules and regulations. Classic Ride: Hay on Wye Barney Marsh finds out why you might like to look further than the book shops in this lumpy little corner of the UK. Bike Park Wales Samantha Saskia Dugon goes behind the scenes to reveal the people that make our pay to play fun happen. Munros Challenge Sanny thinks we should all set ourselves a challenge if we want to be truly alive. Capital to Coast Max Darkins rides from the centre of London to the south coast, in search of beer and chips. Why not? Column: Jason Miles Jason bemoans the excessive enforcement of spurious rules and regulations. Has he been talking to Chipps? Dumplings Chipps heads to Italy for a race where he has to hunt dumplings. Does he need a net, or a spear? Chipps e-MTB Chipps spends a wet weekend in Wales on an e-bike. Will life be any more fun with a battery, or is it still a wet weekend in Wales? Bike Test Dean Hersey gets stuck into three distinctive 29ers that span the width of the new (ahem, nu) school of full suspension 29er trail bikes. Pete’s Pros Pete Scullion continues to ride with (or chase after) the professional riders of today. This issue, he’s talking to Steve Peat. Jez Avery We catch up with legend of the 1990s UK MTB scene ‘Jumping Jez Avery’, and discover that behind the stunt shows and bunny hops, there’s a whole other life. Arran Sanny hops on a boat to Arran to check out the trails that are often overlooked by those going for the big obvious pointy hulk of Goat Fell. Last Word Mark swaps his car for a bike.