Where hiking can be a slog, cycling offers freedom. Nowhere more so than in the Highlands, where wild camping is legal and bothies abound

In the dog days of summer 2016 I rode my bike from Taynuilt on Loch Etive to Findhorn on the Moray Firth using the wildest and loneliest ways I could find. Logging and estate tracks, stalkers’ paths, drovers’ and 18th-century military roads and disused railways, as well as modern cycle paths and tarmac took me from one coast of Scotland to the other. At the time, the adventure was simply an act of care for myself after months in a job I had to drive to, following decades of cycling to work. I was sad and weak as a result of hours wasted on the motorway, and waking up on 24 June to learn the result of the Brexit referendum left me needing time alone with my own country.

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