Scottish Highlands challenge
Simon Moyes is doing a charity bike ride to support conservation charity The European Nature Trust (TENT)
This summer, I am participating in a charity bike ride across the Scottish Highlands for The European Nature Trust (TENT). This conservation charity works around the simple principle that the more we engage with nature, the more we are likely to care for it.
The Trust supports a number of projects throughout Europe that are focused on preserving, protecting and regenerating areas of wilderness and natural beauty. By organising low-impact environmental journeys and experiences in these regions, TENT not only raises money for the conservation projects, but it raises awareness of the environmental issues through education and exposure.
One of the projects supported by TENT is the ‘rewilding’ of the Scottish Highlands. What we think of as Scotland’s wilderness is actually a shadow of its natural state, thanks to centuries of clearing, burning and overgrazing.
The Alladale Wilderness Reserve is working to return one of these ‘biological deserts’ to a haven of biodiversity – re-introducing the region’s natural flora and fauna and restoring native species such as the wildcat and red squirrels. It’s also promoting positive local economy by supporting ecotourism and environmental education.
The mountain bike challenge that I am undertaking will take place over three days in the Alladale Wilderness Reserve in the far north of Scotland – from Cromarty Firth on the east coast to Ullapool on the west coast, and back to Alladale – over 100 miles of off-road biking.
The landscape is dramatic and remote: the cycle ride goes through glacial cut valleys, crossing ancient forests and past hill lochs, ending up on the west coast with its fjord-like firths. We will be guided by the Go-Where team – Scottish mountain biking experts. All the funds from the trip go to supporting the Highland Outdoor Wilderness Learning (HOWL) programme, which is dedicated to improving children’s understanding of ecology and conservation.