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Jun 7, 2022

This week we sit down with the author of Gravel Rides Scotland, Ed Shoote to learn about the history of gravel cycling in Scotland and why it should be on top of your list of gravel travel destinations.

Gravel Ride Scotland Book

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Automated Transcription, please excuse the typos:

Gravel Rides Scotland

[00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello, and welcome to the gravel ride podcast, where we go deep on the sport of gravel cycling through in-depth interviews with product designers, event organizers and athletes. Who are pioneering the sport

I'm your host, Craig Dalton, a lifelong cyclist who discovered gravel cycling back in 2016 and made all the mistakes you don't need to make. I approach each episode as a beginner down, unlock all the knowledge you need to become a great gravel cyclist.

This week on the podcast. We welcome ed chute. He's the author of gravel ride Scotland.

Many of you frequent listeners of the podcast will know I'm a big fan of the idea of gravel travel. So when this book came across my desk, I was super excited to dig in. I hadn't thought much about riding in Scotland and after seeing some of the pictures and reading some of the descriptions of these rides, it's definitely on my list of places to go.

We dig in a little bit about the history of gravel roads in Scotland, how ed came to the sport of gravel cycling and what inspired him to write this great resource guide for all of us, I'll put a link to the book in the show notes. Everybody knows how to find it. And I hope you enjoy the conversation with ed. Before we jump in i need to thank this week sponsor our friends at athletic greens.

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Again, that's athletic gravel ride. To take ownership of your health and pick up the ultimate daily nutritional insurance. Would that business from our friends out of the way, let's jump right into my interview with ed.

Hey ed, welcome to the show.

[00:03:28] Ed Shoote: Alright, thanks for having me on,

[00:03:30] Craig Dalton: Cheers. Where are you located today?

[00:03:31] Ed Shoote: So I'm just south of Edinburgh in Scotland. So a little town called peoples it's a.

[00:03:37] Craig Dalton: for the listener. This is all gonna come together. Why it's important that he's in Scotland and what we're going to be talking about today. As I mentioned in the intro. We always like to start off ed, just by getting a.

little bit about your background and maybe how you discovered cycling and when off-road cycling became a passion of yours.

[00:03:55] Ed Shoote: Yeah. So, for those you who know accents I've not got a Scottish accent. So actually I grew up in the Southeast of England in this. Which is pretty flat. So I didn't really get into kind of mountain biking. Off-road riding hugely until I was probably about 17 or 18. I just grew up riding road bikes and time trials and then realized that was quite good base, I guess, to do a mountain bike.

And so I started doing cross country racing in the late nineties, early two thousands, I guess. And then just got the puck for off-road riding. So, so as all good cyclists. University of college based on where the best biking was. And that's kind of what, w what took off for me, I guess my mountain biking kind of passion.

[00:04:32] Craig Dalton: where you staying in the UK for university.

[00:04:35] Ed Shoote: Yeah. So I just went to the north of England. It tackled York which is great. Yes. Great spot to stop actually visiting. Cause it's got loads of history, but it's also surrounded by Hills. Really nice mountain biking terrain as well. Yeah, the course was, is a small consideration, but yet it was just the perfect spot for the analyst to select in ready.

[00:04:52] Craig Dalton: And the UK obviously has got such a rich history of cycling across all disciplines, including mountain biking.

[00:04:59] Ed Shoote: yeah. Yeah. You kind of get pockets, I guess, of real passion for road riding and mountain bike and where I am now in Scotland is it's huge amounts of biking. We have a lot of injury world series. Now bike is based here and. Right. Is coming up through the youth ranks as well. So it's a real buzz here and I guess yeah, like Edinburgh just north has got a really good road scene.

So yeah, it's always a pocket of psych dinner, some chronic scenes wherever you are in the country, which is, yeah, it's great. It's great to see

[00:05:25] Craig Dalton: And at university, were you studying? Writing as a discipline.

[00:05:30] Ed Shoote: No, I studied mountain biking indirectly, actually. So. It's all fenced together. No, I was doing kind of a pied economics, which was focusing on environmental issues and mountain biking kind of fit it into that food forestry management. So it's again boring probably, but yeah, so I actually ended up doing a dissertation on mountain biking and the impact of mountain biking, which is, yeah, this is great.

It was great.

[00:05:52] Craig Dalton: Yeah, Amazing. And then from, I understand you spent some time abroad at some point after that.

[00:05:58] Ed Shoote: Yeah, so that, that was kind of the last time I lived in England thought. Yeah, pretty much. That's how I sit in England actually thinking about it. Yeah, so I left from university, went traveling and then I got to work in DC to Canada. So I went to Southeast Asia then worked in British Columbia and Canada in mountain biking in the summer.

One of the ski resorts south of bike park in the summer, which is really cool. So I've got a lot of writing out there. You actually loved it and stayed out there for a bit and then just got kind of a ski bug as well. So we ended up doing ski seasons in New Zealand and then in Europe as well.

So I got that. And then, yeah, the passion for cycling, I guess, came back again when I moved back to Scotland from France. And yeah, that's kind of where I really got stuck into cycling. Yeah.

[00:06:38] Craig Dalton: And at what point did gravel cycling, intersect with your passion for cycling?

[00:06:43] Ed Shoote: I'd always been into mountain biking. And I think what kind of took me that next kind of level of backwards towards kind of gravel riding for mountain biking was contouring and long distance riding. So I got into doing these massive trips. So I had this amazing job, which was eight months of the year, so four months off.

So I spent those four months basically doing big tours. So I cycled to estimate.

[00:07:02] Craig Dalton: No.

[00:07:03] Ed Shoote: It's a three consecutive years. I think it was in a row across Europe. And then in the second year I carried on writing and I was just trying to do that more and more on gravel probable right, routes and gravel tracks.

So I could get away from the roads really and get into some more remote places. And it just seemed a great way to explore it. And that was kind of at the same point that manufacturers were getting into this idea of gravel bikes as a thing, and an adventure bikes. And I worked with a UK bike manufacturer.

Support them developing one of these kind of gravel adventure bikes as they were at the time. And it just went hand in hand and as I got that bike, it then got me more and more doing these tours pretty much all on gravel roads, gravel tracks in central Asia. A lot of the time as well. I did have about four trips to central Asia.

I'm getting kind of stuck into gravel, riding Kurdistan and and places like that. So that's yeah, that's where I got the gravel. But from.

[00:07:50] Craig Dalton: Wow. What would that type of touring terrain were you, what type of setup where you creating on your bike? You said you worked with a manufacturer. What was your dream setup for the type of riding that you were doing at that point?

[00:08:01] Ed Shoote: well, just before I did that, I was in Canada and I saw the tour divide races and they would just don't use bike back bags and they send a saddle packs and BARR bags which now we see everywhere, but at the time were really caught my eye and I was like, wow that's a solution to kind of the tour.

And I'm doing. Ditching the pantyhose, which always break the racks come loose. They wobble, they bounce us. You know, I was looking for something else and I approached 'em to come up with after dura in the UK. I would just kind of design in these bags. One of the first ones was only over here to be doing it.

And yeah just seeing the solution to what I was doing. And it means you have to reduce your kid. Cause you've got a saddlebag framed bag and a ball bag. I'm trying to get into some pretty remote places. And as we know now, it can be done about at the time. Head-scratching how you could get your kit.

This is almost 10 years ago now Peggy that your get into the small bags and I was kind of looking at different tents and all the sounds that we now take for granted a bit to get it in there. And yeah, it just works so well. And I think that's why it's taken off so much in the kind of 10 years since really.

[00:08:58] Craig Dalton: Yeah, a hundred percent. We've had the team at Afra on the podcast before. And. the evolution of bags from when we were kids in terms of pen, years down to what is now on the bikes today is just incredible. The bikes can be so rideable and so much fun with that, with those bags on versus once you put a pannier on back in the day, the bike felt like a different type of beast, and maybe it was good for riding in a straight line, but if you wanted to go off road with it, it became a little bit less.

[00:09:28] Ed Shoote: Yeah. I remember the first tour, big tour we did was north to south of New Zealand, which is always good place to start touring as well as a really good country to do. And then I, that cell from Oakland and the bike was so back heavy with the panniers. I couldn't get the front wheel down. It was just wheeling almost down the street.

And I was just scratching my head, how I'm going to get this bike around New Zealand. So just that kind of everyone does, I guess when they do the first tour, they have way too much stuff and it was all packed house. Yeah. And that was quite a long time ago. So yeah, each trip you kind of evolved, I guess, in your learning and equipment and set up as well.

[00:09:59] Craig Dalton: Yeah, absolutely. And obviously like the equipment with the dyspraxia and the wider tires has really just made the overall experience so much better.

[00:10:09] Ed Shoote: yeah, for me, I'm pretty tall. So I'm six or four. So I, I know when there's a headwind as well. It's fair to say. So given the drop bars on the gravel bike, Huge difference for me to get that kind of tuck in. And then you kind of tucking in behind the bar bag and the Saddleback everything's in line and yeah, it's one of those central Asian trips.

We've had ridiculous headwinds and it feels like with pioneers of the first trips we did, it kind of felt like it was literally pushing it backwards. You weren't making progress. So having these drop bars, these bags and me kind of like getting in an arrow, tuck in, cut in the middle of nowhere, it was such a better way.

[00:10:42] Craig Dalton: right. Right. And when did you ultimately end up settling in Scotland?

[00:10:48] Ed Shoote: Yeah, so I did a quite few of these trips. Like I said, I was working, it was actually out France in the end. When the UK was part of the EU and we could work in France easily get into that. And then I moved back to Scotland to get a job in another job, actually. No, I think that to Scotland. Get a bit homesick, I guess I've been in the UK.

So we came back and set up where I am now in the tables in the south of Scotland, because it's like, it's really good here. Yeah just stuff that we needed to kind of change and to come back. And my wife was looking for a different job as well, to be honest. So, so we got here in the, yeah.

And then we've just kind of loved Scotland and the writing we can do here.

[00:11:23] Craig Dalton: And were you starting to see the rise of, in terms of the number of gravel, cyclists in Scotland?

[00:11:30] Ed Shoote: Yeah, I think so. I'm trying to think of when we moved back in about 20, 20, 15. And I could go out and I wouldn't see a soul on these riots and I ended up, I was quite sick coming back, so I trained for kind of 24 hour racing and stuff like that. So I was doing a lot of miles and I would rarely see anyone.

And it was a novelty to see type. And definitely over the next kind of five years, I've gone from feeling like I'm the only one doing this, to see entire tracks to meet you too, you know, meeting people now. And everyone's on gravel bikes pretty much on these as well. And yeah, it's just been great to see.

And the the opportunities I guess, has gotten as well. Like I had a year where I did a different link from my door pretty much every day, same trails, possibly, but in different variations with different variations of them. And I just kind of. Change, I guess in like variation, I don't like riding the same route.

And I think having that here is what's attracted me. And obviously that's attracting loads of writers as well to come and come at school. This is tracks that weren't really being used. I guess.

[00:12:27] Craig Dalton: Yeah. From looking at your book, grab a ride, Scotland. The terrain just looks amazing. There's a lot of great photography in there. What inspired you to write this book? And why is it important to you?

[00:12:43] Ed Shoote: I like to have some great story about it. I just don't say no to stuff generally when someone asks me to do it and I said yeah, why not? I'll write a book on gravel riding. I know a lot of good routes. So, so I went for an yeah, that's kind of where I am now, but it didn't take much because I've been doing so much writing.

It kind of came naturally as to where I thought it should be. And the plan behind it form quite quickly. I really wanted destinations within Scotland for gravel line. So there's one here where I am, because there's so much gravel writing and there's about six or seven in the book based around these kinds of hubs of where I think there's a really good cost as a gravel rights.

And that came together quite quickly. And I was really kind of passionate about this idea of centers of gravel writing centers of excellence. You could call it kind of a gravel riding and getting these routes around those. And yeah, I was really keen to covet that kind of mix between a guide traditional guide, but you put in your pocket and a coffee table kind of inspiration.

Based cause I already want to get someone with photography, which is something I've kind of done over the trips for the last 10 years or so kind of worked up top skills through all those kind of adventures. Yeah. It just, it really nicely together and yeah, it's just got more and more excited about it.

I guess as a side thing.

[00:13:44] Craig Dalton: So as you started to sort of divide up the country or those geographic areas that, that the chapters are in effectively, are those oriented around like where the terrain is or those areas of Scotland that everybody talks about?

[00:13:57] Ed Shoote: Yeah it's an interesting one because gravel riding doesn't necessarily fit with where the hot spots soar as a Mar in Scotland. So the west coast and the islands are really beautiful and stunning. Yeah. Partly the weather and the climate and the Rocky landscape there, you often find that the gravel tracks are really quite rough and hard work.

The tracks often go one way. So they go to a beach or they go to a farm or a hilltops econ linked together. So actually some of the natural destinations has gotten don't work for gravel to the south where I am now works really well because we've got an abundance of forests, more land or drove roads where the cattle used to be.

Driven into markets 200 years ago. It's just some really good historical roots as well. And that's kind of, yeah, I guess, reflected across Scotland. So, they're not your traditional kind of places to go. It's gone, but there's still amazing places. They've got castles. They've got locks, they've got mountains, but they're not the kind of hotspots that you might come over if you're doing like a must do tour of Scotland.

So I think there's, yeah, it's nice for people coming over to get, to see a little bit more and as cheesy going real Scotland, you know, a little bit away from. Get out your car and take a photo of this announcing that everyone does in Scotland. So, yeah,

[00:15:05] Craig Dalton: I mean, I think that was gravel, cyclists. That's something we all appreciate. Just even in our own backyard, just being able to see things that the majority of people aren't ever visiting, just because of the range in which we get with these bikes, if you've got a good sense of address. One of the things I, one of the things I liked about the book was there was a couple of pages on sort of the history of gravel in Scotland, not the sport of gravel cycling, but just gravel in general.

And as a, as an American, I just thought it was really interesting to read about how these roads. Arrived in Scotland and what they were for originally. Do you want to spend a couple of minutes just talking about briefly that the history, because I think it's a novel from a us perspective anyway.

[00:15:49] Ed Shoote: Yeah, I really enjoyed putting that in and I think yeah, I, yeah, it's inspired people because each Scrabble track has a story behind the hair and I guess they all do, but here in particular, they can be kind of categorized into these time periods. And we go back to the Roman theories when the Romans invaded the U S.

They built these classic Roman roads, which are all in straight lines and some of those kind of cross into Scotland. And that's where the history of gravel starts in this book. So we're talking about the surface, as you say, rich. So, so these were kind of gravel, early gravel, Roman gravel roads and the legacy of those still exist today.

So some of the routes will follow. Dear street is one of the famous Roman roads as straight up north. So that's kind of where we kind of start with the history of it. The next key kind of development, I guess, is what I touched on before is these drove roads, which is it's mind boggling really it's where they took the cattle from the Highlands or from the fells to the market.

But we're not talking say a 10, 10 mile trip. We're talking the length of the country, which I know in the U S is probably not massive, but they drove them down to London from Scotland, which is, I dunno, 5, 6, 700 miles. They were walking with cattle to sell them at the market and they'd walk. And they did that on these routes across the Highlands, essentially all the way.

And these became established trading routes. They got better surfaced and a lot of them still exists. A lot of them are tarmacked into two main routes road routes, but a lot of them existed these gravel roads. So, Grover tracks. So yeah, I think there's quite a few points out in the book. The next kind of stage is Scotland's history.

It's where. The English. I'm trying to choose my words carefully here as an English, but when the English basically came up and impose their rule, let's say to joint by the union to Scotland became part of the United Kingdom. And to do that, there was the kind of uprisings against it from the Scots and the English bill, quite a lot of military roads to kind of question this in the 17 hundreds.

And a lot of those were built a very good standard and starting bridges across rivers and. Widespread on the maps and they are generally the backbone, a lot of the big gravel routes that, that we now ride in Scotland. Again, a lot of them up on Altamont roads, but a lot of them still exist in pretty similar form to what they were like two, 300 years ago.

And you can kind of imagine these kinds of lesions of soldiers muscling through the myths and the folk from ruined Fort to ruin castle it's quite evocative. It's yeah, it's an interesting time in Scottish history, really. And gravel was at the heart of it. The next thing really is the big estates we have here.

So we call them a states that kind of landed Gentry in the upper class. What huge swaves of Scotland to go basically hunting and shooting as a, as recreation, and to do that. They defiling clearances. They basically pushed out all the Scots and the love of the locals who lived there. And a lot of them then immigrated up to north America and lost their homes and livelihood.

Chapter and Scottish history. And from that, a lot of tracks were lost because the houses in the villages went, but actually the new estates put in a lot of tracks. And we're seeing that again, more recently coming up to two kind of modern day, they're putting a lot of land rovers tracks with Jeep tracks to, to access the states for shooting still.

And that's controversial in some courses, but for gravel riding, it just opens up miles and miles of these. We have the right to access and Scotland, which is another key factor. So we have an open access code, which allows us to respond to the access pretty much any track we see so long as it's not conflicting, kind of with the land use or kind of industry that's operating on its own.

So that basically means we can go anywhere. So all these tracks exist and we can put them and ride them, which is really good. So yeah.

[00:19:13] Craig Dalton: I saw that. I saw that legal note in the book and found that fascinating again as a north American. And I remember also experiencing this in New Zealand. It's just, it makes so much sense if there's land and you're using it responsibly, you're welcome to enjoy it. And there's no impediments across the board.

[00:19:29] Ed Shoote: Yeah, it's one of the reasons I moved to Scotland because in England, you don't have that in England. We have it in Scotland. And yeah it's responsible access. So it's thinking about kind of your actions and. Taking note of what countryside is being useful, but yeah it's amazing. Yeah, I, couldn't not live somewhere where we can do that.

I think you just take it for granted.

[00:19:48] Craig Dalton: Yeah. When you think about inviting people to Scotland to ride, what type of equipment do you think is best? Does it, you know, in the U S I think it varies so dramatically. Like you can, you know, you can be in Florida, riding dirt roads and be on a glorified road bike versus, you know, here in Marin county, I want big tires and frankly, I'm a fan of suspension on gravel bikes.

[00:20:09] Ed Shoote: I think generally expect a little bit rougher than what I think you're used to over there. Cause I think our kind of dream gravel is probably more your standard gravel where it's smooth and Nazi bumpy. It's generally a bit more Rocky, a bit coarser. And in the book I grade it from one to five, one being kind of your smooth gravel grinding kind of race tracks that you've got to think of as there's loads of long races.

Whereas we could generally sit in the middle where we have a ton of Clayton, slightly coarser, gravel, which is rougher on the upper body. So putting in some kind of suspension, isn't a bad idea. It's not essential, but they're getting those tires up to at least. If I didn't have to in the book 42 millimeters as a minimum on a six 50 or 700 seat setup, but I generally run nearer 47 to 50 millimeter tire, to be honest.

Just to give that a bit more. And comfort. I don't have suspension on my bike, but unimodal people are kind of putting the stems and the forks on as well. Just to give them a little bit more give on some of the rougher stuff, but yeah, that's probably the key that

[00:21:06] Craig Dalton: Yeah. And on, on the roots, are you what type of climbing do you experience in Scotland?

[00:21:11] Ed Shoote: It's all relative. It's quite steep Hills can be quite, I'm quite sure. And they can go on as well. So it gets the highest kind of point is around 700 and the meters, I think of off the top of my head in the book. So that's probably about, it could be up to five or 600 meter climb. In Longo, it's pretty unusual to do that sized climate generally around 300 meters at time.

But actually it can be pretty relentless because you're going up and down throughout the rights of the, yeah, the usually over a thousand. Climbing her route for a kind of the average would say and some of them are too like couple of thousand as well. So yeah, quite a lot of climbing.

And I think the gear ratios are recommended as well as is had something below a one-to-one ratio. Just to give you a bit of help of the Hills as well, because they are quite steep in places.

[00:21:55] Craig Dalton: as you were designing routes, did you spend a year traveling through Scotland and riding every road you.

[00:22:02] Ed Shoote: yeah. When it was a COVID kind of project. So, as well, so we went into lockdown. I could kind of get out on my own often easier. So I was doing a lot of on my own and writing big routes, Lincoln, as many as I could together. And then you have a weekend where nothing works and you've tried all these new routes and they're just not quite up to scratch.

Or you have a weekend where you get three out of it and think, well, these three are brilliant individual routes. And I kind of combined a few of them into which I think is a beauty of the book as well, actually is you can combine them into bypass and routes quite easily. So the clusters of routes across.

It's pretty obvious. And it does give tips on how he's blinking together. And I actually researched quite a lot by linking them into my backpack and bike bags on, and that's spent I spent a long weekend riding them all together to kind of get a feel for them. And again, we Scott any can wild camp, you know, you're free to wild.

Come on that route wherever you find a nice spot as well, which

[00:22:48] Craig Dalton: We discovering sort of tidbits of GPX files and different things online to give you a hint that this area of Scotland might be right for your exploration.

[00:22:58] Ed Shoote: I've really tried not to. And I, it's funny because I get accused sometimes on online. I noticed when I read some of the kind of review comments and things oh, he's stolen my route and I'm really, I really didn't stay here. It's just a coincidence because I tried really hard to kind of look at the base maps from scratch and not look at routes.

So I did something different. Yeah. As a result of that. Yeah. It's obviously overlap with stuff that's already out there, but it's quite a lot of different twists and things as well, because I tried to do it from scratch, but I had a lot of time during lockdown as well. So I did a lot of Mac.

[00:23:31] Craig Dalton: Right. And you touched on this before. It wasn't that you wanted to methodically go through the entire country of Scotland and throw your bike on every mile or kilometer. You were really just focusing on what are the best areas to ride and what are going to be the best experiences for riders coming to Scotland.

[00:23:50] Ed Shoote: Yeah, I think I wouldn't call it the very best 28 routes in older Scotland because these people would be one in the far north, but that isn't. I just don't think that you'd get a guidebook when adopted all over the country. You never going to ride more, actually view, stay for a weekend, a long weekend, or even a week in some places you write all of those routes.

So you'll get somewhere else and you write all of those routes and you'll actually write all the routes in the book probably quite easily. And if you're dotting them all over, you won't. So, so yeah, it was a deliberate kind of focus not to explore every hidden corner of Scotland, but focus on where I thought the best stuff was going to be for people coming to.

[00:24:22] Craig Dalton: Yeah. And in your mind, you know, what is a great Scottish root? What are some come to the few of the check marks you would love to see if you were bringing someone on their only ride they're going to do in Scott?

[00:24:32] Ed Shoote: Good question. I the one that seems to be going down pretty well so far is something called that the calendar monster loop, which is a 128 kilometers, and it's got a bit of everything. It's got steep climbs. It's got really remote tracks that go past coffees. It's a kind of. Overnight shelters, roll cottages.

So taking some of that kind of heritage comes down to some of the big locks in the middle of the country. And then you get some great views on the bigger mountains and Mon as we call them, which are generally above a thousand meters in height. So yeah, it takes in a bit of everything and 128 kilometers is it's I think it's the longest day route in the book.

So yeah, it's a challenge. It's rough. It's long. It's. So, yeah, that's gone down, it has a bit of everything. So it's gone down really well. I think yeah I just really enjoyed some of the hidden gems where I didn't expect there to be such good writing and such history and things along the way.

So there's other routes where you've got castles. I never knew existed done. There may. There's a, there's an amazing atmospheric castle that I never knew was there and it's just in the malls and the track is perfect to it. So, so yeah, there's also hidden gems in there, but I think, yeah, having a little bit of everything in there is great.

[00:25:35] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. As a north American, I think coming over there, anytime you kind of come across a dilapidated castle or an overnight rock structure, or even those stone bridges, you mentioned in the history of the development of gravel, I think it was just, for me, it would be super novel to just be riding those pop past those types of bits of history.

[00:25:56] Ed Shoote: Yeah. Yeah. And now we take that for granted, I guess. Oh, there's a cost of just never there yet. 15 hundreds, monastery just opposite my house, where the monks used to live in like 500 years ago. And it's just like, oh yeah, it's just where the kids play. It's quite, it's got Cooley

[00:26:11] Craig Dalton: offline. We were talking about how Scotland is home to some dramatic weather. What's the best time of year. If you're recommending someone from the outside to come over to Scotland, what's the best time of year to do some Scottish.

[00:26:21] Ed Shoote: Wait. Kind of in it, to be honest, I think may into June is usually good weather. It's long days, long, long daylight hours you know, can be riding in the north till midnight, almost. Which is great. The midges haven't come out, which is a key consideration. So they're not mosquitoes. This is a smaller, it's just a nuisance really, rather than anything, but they do come out in force in the summer.

So this time of year is quieter for that. Yeah, the daylight, the warmth, the sunshine, I guess it's usually pretty reliable. The mid July time is I was gonna say monsoon season, but it's not quite it's just where to generally in July and August in Scotland. So, yeah. And you've got the majors.

You can get a little bit oppressive, like a little bit of plumbing. We don't get heat, I should say as well compared to what you guys get, but you know, it can be kind of close and niches and things. So it's not quite as nice as it's fresh in the spring time. This spring.

[00:27:07] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. And I realize this next question may be akin to choosing your favorite. But if you had to point to three or four routes in the book that you really believe are our must do's. If you're visiting Scotland, what would they be? And give us a little bit of the geography of where in the country, relatively though they would sit.

[00:27:28] Ed Shoote: so the Northeast, the Eric or the Ken national park is definitely a must visit for gravel writers because it's. Absolutely stunning. It's got a lot of native Caledonian pine forest. And in between it there's this court sand like white yellowy kind of tracks that glimmer in the sunshine as you go across.

And it's actually beautiful. And it goes past the Royal families, Highlander state at Balmoral, which is pristine and like the tracks on that state of pristine as well. And you can ride right on those tracks and you might bump into kind of the Royal land Rover as you go past sometimes. It's just beautiful.

And the work they've done to preserve the find forest service. There's lots of wildlife as well. So the kangaroo has got about three routes up there and I think they're all up to practice to be honest. It's definitely up there. I'm trying to think where else there's too many options.


[00:28:12] Craig Dalton: Because you've got 28 routes. Was it in the book?

[00:28:15] Ed Shoote: yeah, I'm trying to think. I'm trying to pick another, I'm biased to where I am in the south. It's off the kind of normal track was people had north, but here we've got this kind of really quiet, empty, relatively isolated kind of feeling in the Hills down here, which is just south of Edinburgh.

And there's a couple of routes here, which take you through some kind of really nice that it's simply less steep and kind of more rolling, but equally beautiful and like quite a lot of, like I say, castles and heritage along the way as well. So just a few routes here. I would definitely cause it's quite easy to get to as well.

If you're flying into Edinburgh it's quite quick. It's 20 miles, 20 miles away. So it's not far at all. So

[00:28:52] Craig Dalton: Yeah, that sounds good to say, if you're coming to Scotland, chances are, you're going to want to visit Edinburgh if you hadn't already, because it's such an amazing city. So to be able to pop out and do a little riding there, and what would you take a train to get up to the sort of the north, if you had your bike?

[00:29:06] Ed Shoote: Yeah. W coming here to the south, our buses, that kind of scheduled buses, which. Run pretty ready to take bikes. So they have spike spaces within the bus. You're not going to on the back, you just roll them in the bus and then take your bikes down, which is really cool. But yeah, north to the Highlands.

Yeah. Trains are your best bet. You have a word of warning, usually at the Brooklyn, minivans just warn, but we're getting better and better. We're getting more dedicated bike characters come in and Scotland, which is really cool to see. So after 20 spaces, the character going to dedicate to just by.

So that's, yeah, it's getting easier and easier, but yeah, the trains are in a good way.

[00:29:38] Craig Dalton: Yeah, exciting. What's next for you? Do you have any more writing projects ahead of you or any frankly, any adventures on the bike that you're able to go off on and

[00:29:47] Ed Shoote: Well, I'm enjoying talking about bikes cause I've actually had quite a nasty injury in my shoulder. So I've been off the bike for two months now kind of a year, a fractured collarbone and AC joint dislocation. So yeah, it's it's got a, quite a lot of metalwork in there which is trying to heal.

I'm planning a lot of things and the book has gone down really well. I'm really pleased with how it's gone down. So the publishers are saying, what do you want to do next? So I'm thinking of different things to do around a different version probably of gravel rights as well. And yeah, probably later in the year of like packing trips somewhere, probably in Europe, probably to, towards this Lele somewhere six is kind of on the horizon.


[00:30:22] Craig Dalton: Do you think your next gravel book would be about? I continue to be about the, you know, the UK or would you, I know you've been all over the world.

[00:30:30] Ed Shoote: well, the publisher's telling me that my central Asian travels are too niche, but I might self publish a book come out anyway. Cause I think it's quite cool that I just love that area of the world. So, so I think there's one there. In terms of what did Scotland, I think there's probably a longer section, longer routes would be cool to do so bypassing routes that aren't currently.

Official ones. I think that's what I've kind of got in mind to start working on them, starting to plot a few ideas around that as well. So I think from a book point of view, that's going to be next, but I'm keen to get on an adventure and I've missed, as I said, the best time of year in Scotland as well, seeing it's in talking about bikes and write about bikes, which is I'm keen to gallery.

[00:31:07] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for putting the effort into putting this book out there. As I mentioned offline, I'm a big fan of the idea of gravel travel and without guide books like this, that help just give you a starting point for what regions you should look at and give you a little bit of information.

It's just hard to get off the dime. So hopefully this is going to bring a lot more riders to Scotland to enjoy the beautiful country there.

[00:31:32] Ed Shoote: Yeah. Thanks. Thanks telling me you want it. It's great to talk to you about that Scotland and grow a lot in general. So, yeah. Thanks.

[00:31:37] Craig Dalton: Yeah.

So that's going to do it for this week's edition of the gravel rod podcast. Big, thanks to ed chute for talking to us about gravel riding in Scotland. I'm super intrigued. But what he had to say.

Big, thanks to our friends at athletic greens for supporting the show. Remember, visit athletic gravel ride. To get a free one year supply of vitamin D and five free travel packs. If you're interested in connecting with me, I encourage you to join the ridership. It's our free global cycling community. That's And if you're able to support the show financially, please visit buy me a coffee.

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