Highlights of 2019
The H+I HQ team look back over the last 12 months.
Our Favourite Moments of 2019
Winter now has a firm grip around our Scottish office, making it the perfect time to reflect over the past 12 months of two wheeled adventures around the world. We’ve had another busy, but really rewarding year with a few fresh faces joining the team, and the launch of our EWS Travel adventures and E-MTB tours to our lineup which has been really exciting for both our office and guiding team alike.
Our six strong office crew have wracked their brains to decide on their favourite moments from 2019…
When you’re asked what your highlight of the year was and you’re struggling to choose from a list of potentials, you know you’re very lucky to have had a fantastic year. And I have definitely had a tremendous 2019. Turns out, being 40 isn’t all that bad!
As each year passes it’s easy to overlook just how much we’ve achieved in our small team at H+I. There’s always a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes that no one ever sees, but that just means when we launch a new tour or project it’s even more rewarding.
New tours and projects aside, I think my favourite moment from the year was the International Yeti Tribe Gathering in Switzerland.
It’s always a great crew with plenty of beers, banter, and bikes… Switzerland certainly didn’t disappoint with over 25,000 metres of descending ticked off over the course of the week!
When Scottish snow and slush is thick on the doorstep it can be easy to slide into the winter blues. But when you get to go to a balmy Girona in February and some of the dustiest winter trails imaginable you don’t have to worry about winter blues. I was on location for one of our Shimano projects where we rode incredible, technical trails starting at a Spanish monastery.
It seemed like I’d peaked too soon with tremendous experiences, but luckily the highlight of the year was still to come…
In April I was invited to Amman to sample the Jordan Trail. This long-distance route mixed road and off-road sections and while the riding was different to what I normally enjoy, the cultural experience was unforgettable. Alongside a friendly and interesting group of riders, we rolled through an incredible landscape, hosted by the most welcoming communities and people I have ever met. My first experience of Arabian hospitality in Jordan could not have been better and 2020 will have to go a long way to top it.
As my second year as a filmmaker for H+I comes to a close, reflecting on the variety this year has delivered has been mind-boggling. From the Andes of Ecuador to the Himalayas of Bhutan, the deserts of Namibia and, as always, the green hills back home in Scotland.
Firstly, and most importantly, each place has taught me something new, pushing both my ability behind a camera and my physical limitations, and introducing me to a vast array of delicious local foods.
However, my trip to Namibia was one that will always have a special place with me. It is hard to pinpoint what exactly it was: the incredible food, the sunsets over the desert, or the southern sky above us as we slept underneath. Any of those would qualify as a highlight, but the privilege to watch and film young lions patiently waiting for their mother to return is possibly the most surreal experience I have ever had and my favourite moment of 2019.
It’s difficult to select just one specific moment from the last year that stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Namibia had some surreal moments; the elephants, the lions, the Milky Way… But I think the experience that shouts out the loudest in my mind was our stay at El Tambo Hacienda in Ecuador.
Having played on the slopes of Cotopaxi in the morning, taking in the rather aptly named “Heaven’s Ridge”, we traversed around the volcanic slopes to the remote hacienda, home to Gerardo, a traditional Ecuadorian cowboy or “chagra”. We spent the evening watching him round up his cattle on horseback before night fell, then we retreated to the warmth of the hacienda for an amazing dinner and an evening of guitar playing and whisky drinking.
The following morning we watched Cotopaxi drifting in and out of the clouds at sunrise, a fitting end to our time at El Tambo and the perfect conclusion to an unforgettable experience.
Since starting at H+I Adventures in February, the time has flown by! Getting stuck into learning the ins and outs of all our trips and getting to know our guides dotted around the globe, it’s been a whirlwind first season.
It’s been awesome to be involved in crafting our brand new Highland Odyssey tour based in our home country here in Scotland, so I’m excited to welcome more riders to the Highlands in 2020, and looking forward to more adventures and travel experiences next year.
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