This adventure began with a map. Or perhaps it began with a bike ride — I can’t remember any more. It doesn’t really matter, I suppose, but good ideas do tend to brew when either a map or a bicycle is involved.
A few years ago I spent a glorious week in Scotland, riding my bike and sleeping in remote mountain bothies. My only sadness was that I did not have more time for I remember slurping noodles one evening, looking up at the extraordinary shark fin skyline of Suilven and longing to camp up on the summit. The mountain rose out of the hummocks and heather and scattered lochans of Assynt into a breathtaking ridge like a magnificent grey castle, capturing both my eye and my imagination. But time was short and I had to leave the peak unclimbed.
Back home, I work in a small wooden shed. On my desk, amongst the clutter of To Do lists and empty tea mugs, is a small, framed relief map of Suilven. I have looked at it fondly every day since that bothy ride.
The third prod towards this adventure came when I was making a film with my friend Tem a couple of years ago. We endured (and enjoyed) perhaps the windiest wilderness camp of our lives, up on the ridge of Quinag in the Highlands. In the distance stood Suilven once again. Tem and I began chatting about the idea of one day catching the overnight sleeper train up from London to climb the mountain and camp on top. I have sat with Tem and beer in all sorts of bars around the world talking about how good that would be.
But oftentimes the trouble with modern life is not a lack of enthusiasm for challenges nor inspiration for exciting ideas. The problem is how busy we all are, and the real difficulty comes in separating the urgent from the important and then making adventure happen. We need to do what we can, with what we have, and do it now.
And so when Brompton contacted me to help showcase the freedom that their folding bicycles give, I knew this was my opportunity to turn the dream into action at last. I have been using a Brompton bike to explore the wilder parts of Britain for almost a decade, so I knew that it would be ideal. Suilven, here we come!
Bicycle: Brompton Explorer
Camping Gear: Alpkit