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”Fish & Chips“ a Bikepacking story from Scotland

For me, Scotland is a country full of tales coupled with unique landscapes. I remember this part of the planet as very authentic and sensitive. According to old legends, the country is home to mythical creatures such as elves and trolls, telling their visitors stories. I hope they will share some of their secrets with me on my journey, open my eyes, and take my mind to a place I’ve never been before.

My destination was the Isle of Skye. It seemed to me to be the perfect place for an adventurous bikepacking expedition. When I arrived, I was amazed. The island revealed to me an infinite cosmos of vastness, loneliness, diverse landscapes and, above all, a majestic wind that seemed to have everything under its control. After two days of biking without meeting even one single soul, I finally arrived in a village where they heartily greeted me with local bagpipe music. The desire to continue my journey, to cross the Isle of Skye and uncover all of its secrets confirmed my intention. As far as I could see, possibility lay in all directions and over the coming days, I was going to explore it all by bike.

I remember the lonely, winding stretches that took me to a previously unknown universe. The country was new to me, its nature, its people and fauna were fascinating. After a few long days of biking while exploring the north of the island, I had to pause for a moment. The place I had come across was magical – it was an open cottage that seemed to be available for anyone. This would be my camp for the night. It was a well-deserved rest after the long day of biking. Surrounded by the sound of the ocean and the rhythm of the waves, I allowed my thoughts to wander into the distance. I saw the sun set on the horizon and remembered the special moments I had experienced during the day and the many kilometers covered.

At times, the path seemed to be so steep that carrying the bike would be impossible; at times, the wind on the high plateau seemed to be so strong that staying upright would be almost impossible. Then I became very centered and calm. I noticed that the landscape was doing me good – that the landscape was soothing me.

The night was short. I planned to leave quickly, because the mission of exploring the island was calling me. At dawn I rode west. The trail took me along the coast. Passing vast, sheer cliffs, I often had to take alternative routes and paths. I felt that I hadn’t reached my destination yet – that it would still take a long time to reach the end of my journey.

I crossed the heart of the island. The landscape had become gentler. The view into the distance less obstructed. Finally, I pitched my tent on a plateau for the night. Here too, in the distance – far removed from civilization – you might still receive company. My presence invited a host of mosquitoes to dinner.

As the hours and days progressed, I noticed that I was gradually nearing my destination. But yet, this destination and its location remained hidden from me.  The south was a little less rugged. The forests were wet and cool – the wind wasn’t always showing its stormy side. A waterfall gave me an opportunity to cool down and gather my strength for the last section of the journey. The days were too short. I wanted to keep going. Each kilometer I covered during a day meant one less to go the next day.

After 11 days, I finally arrived in a small town in the east of the Isle of Skye. There were more seagulls than people living there and my mind told me that my adventure would end here. I allowed my instincts to guide me. And finally I found my destination, and I suddenly knew that the journey was worth it. I understood why I have made all that effort. Here was the real reason for my trip to Scotland: Fish ‘n Chips.

Text: Rodolphe Pasciuto

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