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Ben Alder Loop

Updated: Apr 19, 2019

Kiel Murphy of Murphy Photographic got in touch with me to see if I would be interested in a bike-packing trip or mini adventure in Scotland. His plan was to document the trip using an old film compact camera.

Of course I jumped at the chance, taking along my own compact camera, albeit digital not film.

We chose the Ben Alder Loop and even though it's more than doable in a day, we knew there would be plenty of photography opportunities, so decided to pack a sleeping bag to spend the night in Ben Alder Cottage about half way round the route.

Kiel's weapon of choice the Ricoh FF 70 AF 35mm.

But can't resist still using the phone.

We were soon warmed up and heading away from Loch Ericht after the 5 mile along the tarmac road.

Finding a rock feature we hit the drop off, handing my digital Fuji X100T to Kiel to capture some pixels alongside his film exposures.

Photo Credit: Kiel Murphy

Photo Credit: Kiel Murphy

Photo Credit: Kiel Murphy

Hoping he got the shot on film, we headed further along the route.

Photo Credit: Kiel Murphy

Photo Credit: Kiel Murphy

After a couple of river crossings and a short hike-a-bike, we were at the top of Bealach Dubh, inspecting the RAF Vickers Wellington wreckage.

With time pressing on, we hit the trail down to the bothy. The wind was howling up the Glen, making us pedal to keep up the momentum on the descent and making the final few miles harder than expected.

After laying out our beds and knowing we were in for a cold night, we headed out to the nearby woods to see what wood we could find for the nights fire.

HUAWEI Mate 20 Lite

HUAWEI Mate 20 Lite

As the sun dropped behind the hills, we headed back inside to the warmth of the fire and the company of the other inhabitants.

After a beer each, a bit of port and some other bothy treats, we laid out our sleeping mats and drifted off to the sound of the wind, or was that Kiel's snoring?

Next morning, the weather still looked to be on our side, well, all except the wind that was rattling the tiles on the roof.

With no real rush to head off, we brewed up and had some breakfast, before slotting the bikes in the Hookabikes for the 500 metre hike-a-bike to Bealach Breabag.

Photo Credit: Kiel Murphy

The clouds were rolling down the Glens at a blistering pace, creating some amazing patterns and light rays as we climbed, giving us a perfect excuse for some panoramas.

At the top we stopped for some photos, but the subzero temperatures and high winds made things difficult, so we didn't hang around.

Photo Credit: Kiel Murphy

Photo Credit: Kiel Murphy

A rocky trail took us down to the Loch at 710 metres, followed by a muddy and tussocky trail along the loch shore.

A fast and epic descent took us back down to where we started and with an amazing backdrop we were on the hunt for the perfect photo spot.

Photo Credit: Kiel Murphy

Photo Credit: Kiel Murphy

We were soon back down and with just 10 miles of easy trail and tarmac in our way, soon back to the van.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what Kiel managed to capture on film and will be publishing them alongside some from the Fuji on here.

In the mean time head to our social media pages and visit Kiel's website for a highly recommended wedding and portrait Yorkshire photographer, all links below.

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