This year seems to have passed in a flash and the fantastic summer weather has given way to a beautiful autumn.
Highlight trips with Saddle Skedaddle this year included a week on one of my favourite islands, Corsica.
Two weeks across France on the classic St Malo to Nice trip.
A north eastern adventure from Newcastle to Edinburgh on the Coast and Castles route.
Towards the end of the season, a trip to new destinations for me: Slovenia and Croatia. It was an awesome contrast of terrain, culture and riding from the Julian alps to the Dalmatian coast. This is a part of the world I’d love to visit again.
One of the many great things about my line of work is the travel opportunities it brings. Back in October, only a few days after arriving back from Corsica, I found myself on the long flight to India.
The trip starts in Jaipur, where there is the chance to see the Amer Fort before the tour begins.
Each town that you call in at has a different character. We were there around Diwali and at night the streets light up as the markets bustled.
The majority of the riding was fairly flat, although in the distance the Aravalli hills are often seen.
We stopped over in Jaipur for two nights, one of which was Diwali, a non stop firework display across the Blue City.
A moments peace could be found with a trip out to the desert, swapping our bikes for camels.
Eventually the Aravalli hills were traversed, significantly more climbing than earlier in the trip but also the most beautiful scenery.
The trip finishes in Udaipur, a city on a lake with the backdrop of the Aravalli.
A couple of late season trips in France and on Corsica and those cold, crisp mornings are with us again.
I love the warm light that a good autumn day brings, the afternoon riding up around the UNESCO world heritage site of the Calanques was particularly special.
After guiding a lot of road trips, I always love getting back on my mountain bike, riding and guiding quality trails. This summer I’ve had the pleasure of riding one of my favourites in the Lake District with good friends: the three passes starting from Staveley.
This was followed by an impromptu trip up to Scotland to cover the last few days of Saddle Skedaddle‘s Celtic Crossing trip. This is an epic journey in the traditional cross country mould which starts on the north coast of Scotland in Bettyhill and concludes at the Wallace monument in Stirling. The day I started we were to cross the Corrieyairack Pass.
The highlight day of this trip has to be the penultimate leg from Dalwhinnie to Killin, crossing some beautifully remote terrain.
I also found myself back in the north Lakes, guiding some great rides near Ullswater. The forecast was for heavy rain all weekend but the usual Lake District sunshine prevailed for the most part.
Earlier this summer I spent several weeks in France guiding two trips for Saddle Skedaddle. The first of these was the iconic St Malo to Nice, taken over three weeks.
This is a great way to do the trip if you have the time available as it gives you longer to enjoy the journey and the places you visit.
At the start of July I headed to the French alps to guide a group over some of the Tour de France regulars in Skedaddle’s Classic Alps Passes trip.
This was great as it linked some new areas for me with more familiar ground.
It’s always good to get back to the big mountains! I’m looking forward to another St Malo to Nice trip in September when the cool autumn mornings start to arrive.