Making Plans – The #CelticCrossTrail Tour

Earlier this year I pulled up a heat-map of where in Europe my riding has taken me to date. It shows a spider's web of routes spanning most of the major European countries; from Denmark and Norway, to Spain and Portugal. An area right on my doorstep that is inexcusably poorly explored though, is the collective Celtic trio of Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.

I have previously made some attempt at Wales: riding the trail centres, MTB endurance races, the Ras de Cymru road stage race, and the 300 kilometre Dragon Ride in the Welsh hills. I have by no means explored its full beauty though and have yet to venture out onto the Pembrokeshire coastline, or into the heart of the Brecon Beacons.

I have ridden even less in Scotland. The most recent time was along the Scottish border during the Dirty Reiver gravel race. I have barely touched the beauty and wilderness of the Scottish Highlands— not yet venturing north of Fort William.

Ireland is completely untouched. Despite reading about and studying the beautiful country and rugged Wild Atlantic Way in great depth, I have never ridden on Irish soil.

The Celtic nations are un-explored territories; they hold many interesting and unique landscapes, and those I am keen to discover.

So, for this year's 'Grand Tour' the Celtic CrossTrail route was dreamed up… A 2200 kilometre journey from Inverness to the Isle of Wight; encompassing many parts of the Highland 550 Trail in Scotland, the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland, and the Pembrokeshire coastline in Wales.

The route will certainly offer up a diverse and incredible mix of scenery. From the rugged Highlands and North Coast of Scotland, down the Isle of Jura, then across to Ireland by ferry. Once on Irish soil the route heads out to the Atlantic coast to see the iconic cliffs and harbours of the exposed western shoreline. Then turning south and east, the path goes across the Irish Sea from Rosslare to Fishguard, and the journey continues through Wales, down to Bristol, and back to the Isle of Wight.

The ten day tour will be completed on a gravel bike, to embrace the 'road less travelled' in Scotland and Ireland; including some sections of unsurfaced trails and forest tracks. Accommodation on the tour will be a mix of wild camping, bothies, and the occasional hotel.

I am thrilled to say that on the tour I will have the superb companionship of a great friend Kristian Krøyer — the R&D Director of GripGrab. It will be fantastic to share the ride with him, as we both discover new places and experiences together.

More details of the kit that I am using will follow in a later blog post; there are some exciting new brands onboard though, as well as some familiar choices from past selections such as the #RoadsFromRome kit line-up.

Stay tuned...


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