‘Lycra ponce’

I am a victim of road rage. Me, a humble, law-abiding – most of the time – London cyclist. I had weaved to the front of a queue of traffic heading north to Euston, before stopping at traffic lights, where I paused, waiting for the lights to turn green. ‘Lycra ponce,’ a voice said. I turned round to see a…

Highland Cross 2010

DREAM TEAM aka Young, Gifted and Old – MacIntyre, MacRae, Muir. First overall gents team Highland Cross 2010. Cramp. I’ve had cramp before, close to the end of marathons or during a long swimming session, but never like this. Never Highland Cross cramp. I had reached Beauly, crossed the finish line. Top-10 in a race…

Coll

I have now visited 10 islands – Arran, Holy Island, Bute, Colonsay, Oronsay, Islay, Jura, Mull, Coll and Tiree – and Coll is the one that has come closest to fulfilling my island fantasies. Less revered and frequented than its near-neighbour Tiree, Coll is all the better for it. For two days I followed in…

Highland Cross training… in London

I might be almost 600 miles away from the start line, but training for the Highland Cross continues apace. Practice the transition from running to cycling, prepare yourself for the cramp, etc etc, Cross veterans stress. So I did, proposing an eight-mile run followed by about 20 miles on the cycle. I cantered up the…

Dores and back

The Highland Cross theme continued today with a 20-mile cycle, during which I was blissfully unaware that a vast plume of volcanic ash was coming our way from Iceland. I laboured to Dores, but then felt comfortable on the two-mile climb from the eastern shore of Loch Ness to an altitude of 250 metres. The…

Cycle training

Three-and-a-half months until the Highland Cross. Time to start training. But I’m a runner. Yes, I cycle, but I’m a commuter cyclist, a recreational cyclist, a cyclist that likes to have his head up, not craned over the handlebars. I’ll happily grind up a hill all day, but the thought of a 10-mile time trial…

Craig Dunain

Up Craig Dunain again, yet again. There is no other hill or mountain I have climbed so frequently, at the moment three times a week. And why not? The hill is a perfect training ground within easy running distance of Inverness. Craig Dunain – all 288m of it – doesn’t look terribly impressive in this photograph, but it’s a…

Meall Gorm

Pigs. Or were they boars? I encountered this lot at Fannich Lodge after walking a loop of the two southernmost Fannich Munros, Meall Gorm and An Coileachan, today. I was eating the last of my food when I was startled by a grunt, which sounded like a rutting stag, although this was disconcertingly close. Moments later, I was surrounded…

Carn Eige

Without doubt, one of the hardest days I’ve ever had. A 12-hour epic, starting and finishing in the dark: 80 miles of cycling, 17 miles of walking, three Munros. Stage one was a 40-mile ride between Inverness and Glen Affric, via Drumnadrochit. I left my cycle at Affric Lodge and followed the easy path into…