I made the decision to to travel up to Fort William with no other objective than come away with some great pictures and enjoy a long weekend in one of my favourite countries in the World.
I was amazed at the response to my images and how well received they were by all the riders, some of these race all over the world and here they were emailing me asking to buy what ever I had of them, as they had seen a selection that I posted on Facebook.
The weekend started with me driving up in my camper in time to catch the sunset in Glen Coe, after grabbing some pictures I parked up below the ski resort next to the famous Rock Cottage. Darkness fell and I settled down to cook some dinner in the back of my camper. Whilst eating my culinary masterpiece of pasta and pesto I noticed the moonrise outside, rising perfectly over Rock Cottage. Out I jumped to enjoy this amazing sight and listen to wild calls of the roaming deer.
The next morning I enjoyed an equally amazing sunrise and even took an image that was shortlisted for Scottish Landscape photographer of the year 2014. Once I arrived in Fort William, I made the obligatory visit to Morrison’s for supplies and then drove to the Nevis range to meet Matt Page and his wife Nia.
After a chat over a cup of coffee Matt and I decided to do a lap of the course, although I had ridden here before and already knew the views were going to be amazing, I still got excited when I looked out at the high point of the course. Not only was I now excited at the prospect of watching my first 24hr race, I was also excited to be photographing one with this amazing backdrop.
The next 24hrs were a whirlwind, I really thought it may drag out but I was wrong. Watching how the riders dealt with racing for 24hrs was inspiring, watching how their crews looked after them and also kept themselves awake was impressive. There was an amazing buzz for hours, people rushing about and chatting, comparing lap times etc. Then around 3am it dropped, everyone looked tired. The only thing that seemed to break the silence was the occasional cheer of encouragement and the ring of a cow bells.
When the first signs of dawn showed the mood lifted, a certain energy was back in the air and riders were shouting at me saying how they could smell the finish. Lap times picked up and I set about catching my last images of the event.
Then all of a sudden it was over, 24hrs of mountain bike racing in one of the most beautiful countries we have to offer. It was an eye opener for me, I saw people push their physical and mental fitness to the limits, I witnessed kindness on huge levels and made friends that I look forward to seeing again.