Many friendships seem to happen by chance, and that is how I met Nico a couple of years ago on a ski course in Scotland. Nico and Sonia are being very brave living in the far North of Scotland, being from mid and Southern Italy respectively, which I guess is a slightly more amenable climate in general to Scotland (even though I like the weather here so far!).
Now we live in Scotland it's great and easier to meet up with the 'snow' friends that I have met in Scotland over the last couple of winters.
Nico has a brilliant infectious personality and is much fun to hang out with, so when he mentioned that he was heading from Aberdeen across to the West coast this weekend to cycle some classic routes on his old style steel frame bike we decided he must visit!!
He offered to bring food and cook for us..... this seemed quite an alien concept to me, but I am educated (just) enough to know that you should NEVER turn down the offer of an Italian cooking for you, even if it is in your own home! I was right to stick to this principle and Nico cooked us a fine meal and we caught up on news, planned ski trips (I'll be in trouble for that, but its just a weekend...) and drank Italian wine - fantastico.
The following morning I had a slightly sore head, and as we waved Nico off I was secretly glad that I wasn't cycling on the roads, with the icy wind and sleet showers piling through.....
After coffee (!) we also headed west to Beinn Eighe and went for a brilliant 10 km walk up the 'pony track' to Creagan Ruadh at around 500m and the snow line/freezing level. From this flattening the views of the surrounding mountain cirque covered in snow felt almost alpine. It was a brilliant walk, with amazing 360 degree views of the local mountains, clear views, snow capped mountains and snow showers blowing through.
Great to be in the wilds of Torridon/Highlands, a shame we didn't have more time, oh well, we should have got up earlier and drank less wine.... slainte Nico.