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Three men and a dog traipse the Scottish west coast with just a teepee for protection and lobster sandwiches for lunch.

Not as high as the Grampians, the remote Torridon hills promise something different. Lying north of the Great Glen Fault, they’re a huge slab of sandstone, pockmarked, covered in lakes, and cut into by the encroaching sea.

Located at the base of Scotland’s wild north-west coast, I’d heard this little inhabited wilderness mentioned enough to suspect a visit might be worthwhile – even though I live in London and it would mean driving from one end of one country to the other end of another.

Playing at being a freewheeling bike journalist, a plan was devised for a cost-neutral trip north. This would involve sleeping in car parks, washing in service stations, and other minor hardships, but should allow for ten days of guilt-free roadtripping. Roping in two friends who, despite having proper jobs, didn’t find that prospect disgusting, we also requisitioned a teepee normally used for family holidays, so wouldn’t be entirely without luxury. Taking up the last of the boot space, as if three men smushed into a car for over a thousand miles wasn’t a pleasant enough prospect, would be an excitable pointer named Senna.


The long road north.

Two days spent driving north means our trip starts with a greatest hits playlist of UK scenery. Rolling and picturesque in the Chilterns, chocolate-boxy in the Peaks, rugged in the Lakes, and wild in the Trossachs. Typically for what is my summer holiday the weather gets wilder too, and by the time we finally make it to Torridon the fact that it’s August seems to have become irrelevant. Backed by high hills and facing out onto an expanse of saltwater lochs, the area is quite capable of producing its own weather, and what it’s producing is grizzly. As a result, when we arrive, half our intended campsite is flooded, while the rest has been torn up by campervan tyres. With no area of non-sodden ground large enough for the tepee, we divide ourselves between the car and a small tent. Still, costing only whatever donation you fancy leaving, there’s a shower block with the comfort of warm water and flushing loos.

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About Singletrack

Going to Extremes It’s always hot and dry in Utah, right? Except when you’re caught in a flash-flood summer thunderstorm. Washed away, baked dry, and sweating, Adam Klimek and pals take on the White Rim trail. Tramping In Torridon Joe Delves packs friends, bikes, camping gear and a dog and seeks a low cost getaway in Torridon, where the trails are good enough to be worth the effort getting there. Tour de France The Fun Way While the roadies are pedalling up these classic TdF climbs, enduro rider Jerome Clementz is whooping his way back down them, taking the rocky switchbacks and forest trails. Classic Ride: Helvellyn Which way should you go up this Lakeland must-do? And which way should you come down? There’s much debate to be had about the best routes on Helvellyn, but everyone agrees you have to ride one of them at least once. James Vincent takes us on his pick of the options. Staying Professional Geoff Waugh talks to Scott Beaumont about getting – and keeping – sponsors. Behind the Insta-bangers and high fives, it’s more businesslike than you might think. Bike Test: British 29ers British manufacturing ain’t dead. We test out three full suspension 29ers from Orange, Robot Bike Co. and Swarf that showcase the range of modern manufacturing skills and processes currently happening in the UK. Interview: Dan Stanton Ian Bailey talks philosophy and company ethos and ‘a different kind of capitalism’ with the man behind Stanton bikes. Malvern Magic Chipps dons his tie-dye T-shirt and Oakley Mumbos and reminisces about the original Malvern Hills Classic ahead of the new version of it, returning to our fields this year. The First Trail Centre Chipps tells the story of the UK’s oldest trail centre: Coed Y Brenin, where the first trails still offer great riding, with the bonus of being away from the crowds. Hutchinson Tyres James Vincent goes on a whirlwind tour of the French home of Hutchinson tyres.