Blog

stories • happenings • adventures


Avatar
August 27, 2022

The Longest Night – A Winter Ride on the Highland Trail 550

Posted by

Annie has been a Revelate Ambassador since 2016 and we love getting to follow along with her bikepacking adventures. Back in December Annie rode the Highland Trail 550 route in winter as a fundraising challenge for Bike for Good in Glasgow. With unpredictable Scottish winter conditions and 17hours of darkness to manage, it was an intimidating challenge. Annie and her partner Huw just released their video documenting the experience (check it out below) and we caught up with Annie to ask her a few questions about her adventure!

 

 

Q: Congrats on your ride! Can you tell us about a few highlights from your trip?
A: The Scottish scenery! I’m so in love with the highlands and the route takes in all the best places. Scotland is small, but our geology changes dramatically in a short distance, so riding the route is always interesting as the mountains and trails vary so much. In winter everything is so much more dramatic with the weather. The first moment of calmness I got was on morning 5; I was on a long section of very rugged/non existent trail past one of the most iconic hills on route. The morning was still and surprisingly warm, I’d been riding through the dark for a few hours and then there was the most brilliant sunrise. It absolutely took my breath away and I had to sit on a rock for a while just to take it all in.
My other standout moment was just after I’d finished a really awful bit of trail called the Tollie path. I hit this bit of road the goes alongside a huge loch and is surrounded by mountains. I just spun slowly along the road, gawping as the nearly full moon illuminated everything and the silhouettes of the mountains reared up all around. I felt very small and insignificant, but also very much part of the natural world. It was a powerful feeling.

 

Annie descends steep trail in twilight on Scotland's Highland Trail 550

 

Q: What bags did you bring and what did you pack?

A: I used a salty roll and egress pocket on my bars. Two feed bags, a mag tank and jerry can for my cockpit. Then my custom frame bag and a small terrapin seat bag.

Salty Roll: All my sleep kit apart from the tent. Sleeping bag, mat, puffy jacket no.1 (no. 2 was in my rucksack) fleece tights, fleece top, and puffy vest. 

Egress Pocket: This contained things I would need during the day. Spare gloves, buff, waterproof jacket, GoPro and lots of bulkier food items such as muffins, cake, donuts — basically it was a delicious bakery compartment!

Mag Tank: Snacks.

Feed Bags: Water bottle in one, electronics in a dry bag in the other (spare lights, headtorch, powerbank, charging cables).

Gas Tank: Small items I’d need frequently. Chain lube and rag, multi-tool, suncream, moisturiser, and butt cream.

Frame bag: I had lots of heavy items that didn’t need to stay dry in here. Pump, tools and spares. Gas canister and food. Tent pegs and a poop trowel.

Terrapin 8L Seat Bag: This had my tent and ground sheet as well as dehydrated meals and a whole lot of tailwind sachets jammed in the bottom. 

I also had a rucksack as I wanted a lot of warm kit. So my waterproof trousers, stove and huge down jacket went in it. It was also used for food when I had re stocked for a long stretch.

 

Annie carries her bike across a river

 

Q: What’s your favorite piece of Revelate gear?

A: Probably the Harness and Salty Roll. I use it on almost every trip and after about 8 years of regular use, both are still working perfectly and my salty roll is totally waterproof. On this ride I accidently dropped my bike in a deep river and it was completely submerged. My sleeping bag was still totally dry thanks to the salty roll!

 

Annie bikes at night through fog with headlamps

 

Q: Now that this big adventure has been ticked off the list, what adventures do you have on the horizon?

A: Along with my partner Huw, we will be riding a couple of routes in Scotland we have been piecing together over the last few years. We are looking to publishing them and sharing them. I’m also looking forward to going abroad for the first time since pre-covid. We are heading to the alps to eat good food (they have the best bakeries) and ride up lots of big mountain passes!

 

Thanks for sharing your experience with us Annie! You can follow along with Annie’s adventures on instagram by following her at @a_girl_outside.