Mountain bike heaven.
Heaven: It’s different things to different people, I think we can all agree on that.
I’m sure that for anglers it’s a quiet river bank or a boat on a lake; for a shopaholic an endless Oxford Street in the sky; I’m pretty sure there are those for whom it’s an infinite tasting menu and endless combinations of their favourite wines.
But I wouldn’t know about that, because I’m a mountain biker and, fortunately, as a mountain biker, I don’t have to die to go to heaven. I just have to travel north to Scotland.
Hard-packed, rocky, rooty, undulating single track, threading between birch and larch and spruce, technical enough to keep one’s attention, yet relaxing enough to allow the peace and tranquility to sink in. The hollow rumble of knobbly tyres on bone dry peat and pine needles, the chill of the forest air and warm kiss of sunlight on bare legs; the shriek of a buzzard – perhaps a golden eagle – wheeling overhead. Lickety-spit, lightning fast gear changes, a flow without braking, popping every root and rock, dodging every puddle and low-hanging branch…
Or, if we’re going to be a bit more prosaic about it, a great many paths in and around the Cairngorms.
Like this one. It even has it’s own hotel.