Saturday, 15 December 2012


A number of years back I found myself cycling from Glasgow to Stornoway (you guessed it, that was before parenthood descended with a bang) and it has to be one of the most memorable weeks of my life. I'll keep the stories for another time, but one thing I did find out about was localism. Once in Stornoway I booked into a bunkhouse above a surfshop, started talking with the owner and the next thing; I'm wearing a wetsuit, a board is under my arm and waiting for him to start up the surf bus. Two days where spent paddling, driving, exploring, talking, laughing, lot's of drinking and loving the sensation of actually being able to stand on a surf board and catch a wave. It was during those two days that I was introduced to the term localism. The guys from the surf shop had their favourite spots. It's fair to say that I would have ended up in hospital, or even worse if I'd even set wetsuit in water at their favourite breaks. Some breaks required a jet-ski or boat to escape the imposing coastline and head out towards the horizon. The great thing about the guys in Stornoway wasn't that they only embraced the areas that they discovered, but they were also keen to show them off and prove just how good surfing could be in the the Outer Hebrides. A far cry from some of the anecdotes from other global surf spots.

if you look closely there's an old windmill
I've seriously missed being out my bike and earlier today I finally swung a leg over a mtb for the first time in months - bliss!  The ice from the past few weeks has began to thaw, but there are still areas that are best avoided, primarily fire-road and exposed paths. The parallels with the local trail fairies and the Stornoway crew suddenly hit home when a group of guys that I've not ridden with for sometime peeled off a recognisable trail, quietly slipped into the forrest and introduced me to some fantastic local singletrack. They have been busy exploring and building and it's payed off. Riding singlespeed through the off camber acute twists&turns, chutes, roots, planting ruts and pine needle covered trails required finesse. A quality that I've never possessed, but who cares when you have the chance of riding with a fab group of like minded souls who show you how it's done and flow through sections that had me dabbing, striking pedals and cursing in equal measure. My strava feed is one twisty red line of fun, will I be able to find those trails again.......thanks guys!

Stay upright

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