“Dad, can we make a YouTube cycling video?” My son Tavish had spotted a helmet camera of mine among my pile of cycling kit and suddenly in a moment of inspiration had scribbled out a draft plan of how his “movie” would look.
To be fair it wasn’t a spur of the moment request; he has been watching videos by others online for several years now and has harboured the desire to become an auteur for just as long.
On the morning of his directorial debut we kitted out our packs, loaded the bikes on the roof of the car and drove over to the Sidlaws at the back of Dundee.
I can’t remember why I had bought the camera in the first place, but this was going to be one of the few times I had actually used it.
The first problem was I couldn’t remember how to set it up and switch it. Thankfully Tavish, obviously taking after his mum rather than me, had actually read the instruction manual and was able to show me how it was done.
We then spent the next few hours riding around the trails of Balluderon, Balkello and Auchterhouse Hill. By the time we arrived back at the car we had only cycled just over five miles and taken nearly two hours to do so, but we were muddy, tired and buzzing after a great morning out together.
On the drive home Tavish was already planning the next film we were going to make together. He was trying to figure out if he had enough money in his piggy-bank to buy a drone from his to get some aerial footage and he had decided we hadn’t got any footage of jumps and that was vital to the success of his next project.
Quite whether his enthusiasm came from the process of filming, the result, or indeed the equipment that he had been allowed to use I wasn’t sure, but that wasn’t really the point of what we had done.
He is immensely proud of the short film we made together and he told me that he was keen to show his friends how much fun cycling could be. Indeed the following week at school he had to plan a short presentation on a subject of his choice that he would then deliver to the rest of his class.
He chose cycling and in his planning notes, among comments about Danny McAskill, wheelies and skidding, he wrote, “…unlike football and pitch sports cycling lets you explore your environment”.
For a young person that sense of exploration can be a revelation and once the bug is caught it stays with you for life.
|Where to Ride?||Auchterhouse Hill – Sidlaws|
|Suitable for?||Mountain bikes on shared-use paths and trails|
|Start:||OS Landranger 1:50000 Map 54
Balkello Car Park NO365384
|Description||Just east of the Kirkton of Auchterhouse there is a large car park that provides access to these eastern-most tops of the Sidlaws. There are a number of trails that lead up to Auchterhouse, but perhaps the most direct is to follow the paths north to the power lines and then follow a track steeply up towards the lower quarry on the slopes of Balluderon Hill. Follow this west until you reach a small gate that will lead you uphill to the hill fort and summit of Auchterhouse Hill. The views from the top are fantastic with a panorama to the north of the southern Cairngorms and of the River Tay and Dundee to the south. You can return the way you came, or there are more tracks to explore over towards Kinpurney Hill, or some mountain bike specific single tracks around the quarry back on Balluderon Hill|