Ben Nevis & Bike

Mountains and Motorcycle: this just cropped up on the Interweb of late. A short film from National Geographic in 1976 filmed quite expertly by Yvon Chouinard. It shows John Cunningham riding across the moors and glens of the Highlands towards an icy escapade on the big bad Ben Nevis.

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It’s tricky to see the model but it’s a Triumph with pre-unit engine. But the clip-ons, big tank, and able handling on the single lane roads show a serious rider. His wooly had is tied on with string… No lid for this jock; he’s ‘ard!

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He even catches the Ballachullish ferry across Loch Leven. The Bens of Lochaber loom behind. He tramps up the slopes to the looming Ben Nevis and heads up at speed over lower snow covered rocks, donning his crampons when the grade gets more serious. A pair of technical ice tools and his front points the only precarious purchase. But a sure placement of all makes this movement look all too easy.

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After storming up to the summit he descends at a knee-popping pace back to the Triumph and torts off to the nearest ‘establishment’ to enjoy a warming dram or two and most likely a noisesome céilidh.

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John Cunningham on Ben Nevis

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