With a New Year comes new goals, new hopes, new aspirations, new dreams to chase and new places to explore.

Here at Aff Grid, we want you to make 2018 your wildest yet, so here are a couple of ideas we’ve thought of to get you in the spirit of adventure in 2018 and inspire your own adventures.

The West Highland Rover

We found this on Bikepacking Scotland, and it takes in some of Scotland’s most off grid and beautiful wilderness you can think of.

Taking advantage of the ScotRail Highland Rover ticket, which allows for four train journeys out of eight consecutive days, the guys bikepacked from Crianlarich to Bridge of Orchy, Corrour, Fort William, Morar, Mallaig, and back to the start.

This is one epic ride, that will get the juices flowing with a combination of bikes and trains, really making it feel like a fantastic adventure.

The mountains of Kintail

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From my trip in Kintail looking out to the Five Sisters from the Brothers.

I did the dozen or so hills found down Glen Shiel in Kintail a couple years ago, and it was some of the longest, most exciting and beautiful times I have spent in the Munros of Scotland.

If you are a Munro Bagger, you have a lot to choose from here. Either take a bike and leave it at the bottom of the hill to head back to the car, or camp, or hitchhike, you can start the routes from the Cluanie Inn at the top of the glen.

On the south side you have the South Glen Shiel Ridge – a range of seven peaks that stretches for 27km. Although quite long, once you’re up there the walking isn’t too arduous (climbing a total of 1818m), but it is a long day of walking in the hills.

The next set of hills can be done over two separate trips, or – if you feel like a challenge – do the Three Brothers and Five Sisters of Kintail in one day.

Start the Three Brothers from the Cluanie Inn carpark, just opposite the inn. The path crosses some unmarked bogland before the first climb ahead of you. As you traverse the ridge, the Sisters lie ahead of you.

You’ll finish the whole ridge with six Munros in the bag, and the South Glen Shiel Ridge will bring you up to 14 in two days. A truly epic adventure.

…or go nuts and run the lot of them in a day. Your own Skyline race.

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Credit: Active Traveller

Hike a…boat?

You heard right. Open water canoeing in Scotland offers some prime opportunities for hiking, with some mountains positioned just next to some of the finest lochs in the country.

One such trip can be done over a few days. Starting in Dalwhinnie, paddle down Loch Ericht and about two-thirds of the way down Ben Alder looms above you.

Apparently it is possible to join on to Loch Rannoch from Loch Ericht, and thus head east towards Kinloch Rannoch and climb Schiehallion.

You can find out more information on the route at Scottish Canoe Routes.

Make use of our cycle network

I am a sucker for the idea of packing up and heading on the bike for a few days. That’s my plan for next year: stop dreaming and do it! My girlfriend’s father volunteers with Sustrans, and through that I became more aware of what they do.

In Scotland (and the rest of the UK) we are so lucky to have so much cycle network available to us. Sadly – and I am guilty of this myself – we often relegate national cycle network (NCN) to leisure cyclists and families.

For the roadies, they are full of pedestrians and unpredictable surfaces for the skinny tyres; for mountain bikers, they act as an access to places, but rarely the star of the show.

Instead, why not head out with a couple of panniers on your bike, or a big saddle bag on your mountain bike with a rucksack and explore the NCN. Next year I want to ride Oban to Fort William, and perhaps one day do the whole of route 7.

Route 7 goes as far south as Stanhope, just south of the border, and goes all the way to Inverness.

Let’s hope those dreams become reality!

You crag me up

Scotland is full to the brim with outdoor climbing potential, and there are routes for all abilities and skills. Head to an area for a few days and just explore the hundreds of routes some places have to offer.

I recently visited the Cairngorms and saw huge potential in the crags about Coire an Lochain, with Central Gully, the Runnel and more. Just to the left of Coire an Lochain is Coire an t’Sneachda, a hugely popular climbing area with routes like Jacob’s Ladder.

Other places like Torridon, Skye, Glencoe, they all have hundreds of routes for you to try out over a couple of days.

You can find more at ScotClimb and Steep Scotland.

Where will 2018 take you? Send us your photos or use the hashtag #AffGrid.

Posted by Ross Brannigan

“It is worth ascending unexiting heights if for nothing else than to see the big ones from nearer their own level.” - Nan Shepherd

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