Naively not knowing what an elevator pitch was, I put together an off-brief video – an entry none the less to this thing called Disposable Heroes. I was elated to be chosen. I didn’t regard the process as a competition; more an excuse to adventure. To take a journey beyond my photographic comfort zone; venturing beyond the comfort zone is critical to progression.
I rounded up two well-equipped, capable riders with a keen sense of adventure – Pete Archer and Sam Sharp. Holidays were scheduled. Pete and I set to work trawling the internet, maps and picking peoples brains for insider knowledge.
Hailing from northern England we have an abundance of great riding on our doorstep in the Lake District. But being familiar with the area around me, I wanted to explore further afield. Torridon is often crowned as UK’s top contender for big mountain, wild loops and this ended up being our destination of choice.
Even for the digital photographer shooting ‘blind’ is a challenge, especially when covering miles of trail with variable weather patterns blowing through. Too many photos and you kill the momentum of the ride, too few and you fail to document the journey. Throw into the equation a 27-exposure disposable Kodak camera – to last you a 4-day trip covering 65.7 miles and 11,965ft elevation… and picking photo points becomes a real dilemma.
The first day was an early start, a necessary evil to get the 8-hour drive under our belts. Upon arrival, we checked into the bunkhouse and wound our way down singletrack roads to the foot of Beinn Damph. An out-and-back was planned, a recce to get up high and survey the surrounding landscapes. Battered by gales inbound from the Atlantic we spent more time huddled in an emergency shelter waiting for winds to drop than riding bikes. But when we did manage to ride, the experience and light was sublime.
The second day entailed the Torridon circuit, a classic, sprawling loop which takes no prisoners – certainly not one to miss. Take the images as a teaser, to whet your appetite for this 30-mile feast. The day drew to a close with more west coast gold, as the sun retreated over the sea.
The third day comprised two rides. The first was an out-and-back to Loch Coire Mhic Fhearair, yielding spectacular views and technical stop-start trails. Following a drive down the coast to Morvich, we refuelled on haggis, neeps and tatties before departing for Camban bothy – our bed for the night. We meandered through meadows into glowing hills, reaching the bothy just as night fell. Ravaged by midges we weren’t alone, itching was masked somewhat by the merlot. It’s fair to say we didn’t sleep well. Morning greeted us with a blanket of cloud shrouding the hills. A morning brew attempt resulted in an impromptu midge broth; which was reluctantly consumed as coffee.
The fourth and final day was brief but every last bit a battle, with Pete revisiting his breakfast from sheer exertion. The tolkienesque singletrack descent retreating us back to Morvich managed to refresh our grins. Our brains brimming with memories, it was time to journey home – and time to pray the Kodak had the tenacity to make its way safely back to Eskapee HQ.