For the April bank holiday we seized the opportunity of 4 days off work to head north to meet the Longboard Scotland guys for some closed road skating with Glen Croe as the setting as you charged down the hill from the famous view point, Rest and Be Thankful. The location is named by the soldiers who built the original Military road in 1753 and inscribed a stone at the top.
A pit stop at the home of Optional Death Stare Longboards in Edinburgh on the Thursday night so we could talk skateboards, drink beer and whiskey and have an advantage to get to the hill sooner on Friday morning.
Day one of skating went down well with half-hourly rain showers to keep the narrow road slippy and frightful. The acceleration in the top section forced you to slide really early, barely slowing down on the smooth, steep road.
Longboard Scotland, having skated this road before, named a couple of the corners and they lived up to their titles:
Death Corner: A 90 degree right-hander situated immediately after a narrow stone wall bridge. The wall had impaling metal spikes sticking out of it which was holding the rock from falling onto the road. You had to slide over the walled bridge in order to hit the smooth exit line on the inside. Failing that, you hit a stream on mossy, slimey chunder but, hopefully, not the wall!
Shoulda, Woulda Corner: From the top you saw it. “I’m gonna grip it easy,” you thought. Hurtling down towards it was a different story; blind, off-camber and speeds above 30mph, you’re forced to pre-drift the sweeper or know you’ll be off the cliff, especially in the damp conditions.
Day two of skating started more eagerly, everyone knew the road now and was hyped to get skating. Reaching speeds close to 50mph after gentle sweepers with ups and downs and then the last section; a daunting straight line drop. Once you’ve committed, there’s no room to slide or slow down other than air braking. Rocks follow the road parallel to the last straight and the riders were lucky to avoid them. Within the first hour, two riders where claimed on the last straight!
Skating into the afternoon, the walk back up was becoming a challenge, walking into a 20-30mph headwind as well as periodically facing rain or sleet! Legs got tired and, thankful for the rest, we ended with a slide session on the top hairpin.
The weekend was wrapped up wild camping a short drive away next to a stream. Snow topped mountains surrounded us as we partied the night away with a roaring fire.
What an amazing weekend! Great company and an incredible road! It’s not often you get to skate a closed road without it being an event and, although we skated it for two straight days, I’m left with a hunger to skate it more -and better!
Lewis on Rest and be Thankful filmed by Alfie Marsh Film & Photography:
See what else Skate to Escape have been up to by clicking over to their blog : Skate to Escape
Words : Lewis Taylor, unit member Skate to Escape
Images : Alfie Marsh & Graham Aldridge