The Longest Night – A Winter Ride on the Highland Trail 550

In December 2021, Annie attempted to ride the Highland Trail 550 route in Scotland. If successful, she would be the first person to complete the route’s 550 rugged miles in winter. More importantly, she was fundraising for Glasgow-based charity Bike For Good.

This bikepacking challenge took her on a journey through some of the most remote and incredible scenery the Scottish Highlands can offer. From wide open glens and fast-flowing tracks, to plunging mountain passes on the west coast.

Having chosen to attempt the route over the shortest days of the year, the sun did not rise till nearly 9am and set again by 3.30pm, giving only 7 hours of daylight and a long, dark night.

Scottish winter weather is famously unpredictable, and Annie dealt with snow, rain and gale force winds. She also had to prepare for numerous river crossings, sometimes more than knee-deep and very cold.

Deep snow on one of the higher passes nearly ended her attempt early, but she persevered through the drifts and stormy weather with only a small amount of crying. Luckily for her, better weather arrived for the last few days of riding, allowing her to enjoy some of the stunning scenery and to finally complete the ride in 7 days and 18 hours.

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