Back in the mountains
If there is one thing I truly believe it is that Scotland puts the Mountain in mountain biking. Sure I have had rewarding days elsewhere, but only Scotland has all the ingredients I need for distilling my brew of mountain essence. Scotland blends and blends it neat.
A mountain day has to include, in no order of importance because they are all equally important; river crossings, long climbs that disappear into the clouds, isolation, solitude, a point, and this is crucial, where you know you are committing, an improbable sense of scale, self reliance, navigation, route finding errors, carrying, 5km + singletrack descents, wind, rain, rock, bog, sun, big views and this should all last for at least 6 hours.
This mixture should ensure you experience elation, exhaustion, humility, dismay, uncertainty, pain, fear and relief in equal measure. 4 hours in you are probably going to want to be back at the car, but you know after a hot shower with a beer in your hand you wouldn't have wanted to be doing anything else.
It is good to be in the mountains again, doing routes that get you drunk on life.. Glen Tilt with its endless energy sapping gravel tracks threading their way through remote mountain landscape, seemingly leading anywhere but home. Ben Alder with its path from the bothy to the col hidden, apparently a dead end that makes you question the sanity of the guidebook writers.. But it is all there, just take one corner at a time and keep the faith because the reward is an isolated singletrack descent. A backbreaking 450m carry will bring you back out of orbit, what goes up must come down ;)