From the archives – Cycling in Scotland

I have no new images to share, and as we’re under lock down, there might not be many new ones for a while – so I’ve been dredging through the archives and found these shots from May 1988.

I made a cycling tour in the North West of Scotland with my Raleigh Royal touring bike, staying in youth hostels. The camera used was , I think, an Olympus XA and the film was some kind of Agfa slide film, which seems very grainy by todays standards. My photographic skills in those days were rudimentary to say the least so there’s not many of the images worth sharing, but these two bring back specific memories for me.

The shot above was taken while a took a breather from pushing the bike up a very steep track that climbs above Loch Broom, until it descends to Little Loch Broom. In those days there was a ferry (about 10 feet long) that took passengers, and the occasional cycle, from Ullapool (the town in the distance) to a hotel / restaurant on the other side of the loch, from which this track began.

A few days later, this buckled wheel marked the end of my cycle tour. I’d set off across Rannoch Moor, on what is now the route of the West Highland Way. The front wheel got caught between two stones on the track. I had to stand on the wheel rims to get them straight enough to allow some kind of forward motion. Fortunately I wasn’t too far from the A82 and I was able to cycle as far as Bridge of Orchy and get the train home.

Happy days!

6 comments

  1. Very cool! I always admired RSF (Rough Stuff) styled touring in an era where 26″ wheels with plump tires either didn’t exist, or wasn’t the norm.
    And I’m going to be bike-nerdy: What was the bike?

    • Thanks Shawn. The Raleigh Royal was a 10-speed with Reynolds 531 tubing. It got stolen and has been replaced by a Ridgeback Panorama World Tour. Your Flickr posts helped inspire me to start using it again. I was an RSF member but not as hardcore as most of them.

    • I have to agree with fishyfisharcade. I enjoyed all of the images, but the first’s mix of colors and composition are truly lovely. I’m sad that I never had the pleasure of shooting Agfa films. From what I understand they have all been discontinued. Perhaps I can find a deal on some recently expired stock.

  2. Ah, lockdown! When we were in lockdown earlier in the year I was inspired to by a decent film scanner (Epson V800) and over about a four month period scanned, sorted and archived all my old film images going back to about 1974. It’s an ill wind 😉

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