Books > Nature > Overlander
Bikepacking coast to coast across the heart of the Highlands
Seeking a temporary escape from city life and a mad modern world, Alan Brown plots out a personal challenge: an epic coast-to-coast trip through the wild and lonely interior of the Highlands.
He traverses paths historic and new, eschewing creature comforts and high-tech cycle gear, trusting his (mostly) serviceable mongrel bike. Armed with the essentials and a sense of adventure and curiosity, he discovers more about nature, history, people, his country, the concept of risk, and himself, than he ever thought possible.
Alan traces a route from Argyllshire’s Loch Etive across remote Rannoch Moor, the beautiful glens of Perthshire and dramatic Grampian terrain to reach the Moray Firth at Findhorn. Ready for all weathers and obstacles, he succumbs to the hypnotic daily routine of ride, eat, sleep, repeat. He’s savouring the landscapes, the wildlife and the solitude, and relishing the self-reliance. He is also picking up clues to past lives, and discovering how the land has been altered for game sports – or conserved for wild- and birdlife.
It’s a route where Alan gets to spend time with nature and himself, where he takes his time, wild camping under the stars, on a journey of discovery in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
REVIEWS OF Overlander
"An outstanding debut, brimming with charming anecdotes, helpful advice and poignant discussions about Scotland and the UK today, making it a timely read." Chiara Bullen, The Great Outdoors
"Filled with enticing descriptions of extraordinary terrain, basic refuges, wonderful wildlife, colourful characters … An enjoyable account of an epic journey." Julie Rand, Cycle magazine
"The perfect read for cycling and adventure lovers." Kenny Smith, Scottish Field
"A challenging cycle through near-wilderness … [Alan Brown] returns with a laudable vision to see the Highlands criss-crossed with cycling paths that would reconnect an increasingly isolated urbanised population with the natural world." Helen Moat, BBC Countryfile magazine
"Sensitive, personal and culturally informed … an eloquent reminder of the wonderful country we live in … Time to get on my bike." Andy Wightman MSP
"A remarkable book, the tale of a strenuous mini-adventure and a clarion call to those who manage our upland areas." Cameron McNeish
"Cheerfully debunks much of the off-putting preciousness of the hardcore cycling fraternity to return cross country cycling to what it should be." Lesley Riddoch