Radon’s James Shirley checks in once again for his ‘Aiming High’ blog posts and talks media pressure, farming and day to day life:

It’s hard finding the right moment to sit down and put pen to paper – or skin to screen as it seems to be these days. I don’t like to feel under pressure to produce media product. It’s better when it comes naturally. Anneke Beerten made an interesting social media post a while ago which is kind of the catalyst for this little inspiration. She put up a photo from Sven Martin of her looking tired and grumpy after a race in Argentina. It’s not a flattering photo and that was the point. Alongside it she posted a long spiel about the pressures of social media and the sad reality of how important it is to look good and be liked. She aimed her message toward the female population but the same can be said for both sexes. The simple message I could see was to be who you want and not to create a false image for yourself. Coincidentally, this rant on social media about social media is probably her most successful and inspirational post to date with hundreds of shares and thousands of likes. Truth is stranger than fiction.

Shredding in the blue bells up Allt a' Mhuilinn.
Shredding in the blue bells up Allt a’ Mhuilinn.

I woke up one morning with this is mind, looked out of the window and thought to myself, “Today is going to be a good day”. So I found my Go-Pro and stuck it to my head for the next 12 hours to record a fairly typical summer’s day whilst living at home in Scotland. The only real exception is that it isn’t usually so sunny!

Swapping two wheel for a slightly slower set of four.
Swapping two wheel for a slightly slower set of four.

As you can see from the video I live on a small farm. My family has some cows and one died just after giving birth leaving an orphan calf to look after. If I was in charge then I’d keep baby Mucca (the Moo-cow) because she’s adorable but instead of a grassy field where the other cows are – you’d see a big digger and a motocross track.

The Radon Swoop dancing on the home trails.
The Radon Swoop dancing on the home trails.

The traditional ceilidh band music in the headcam is from one of my friends – Andrew Macdonald – and the trail is the original Allt a’ Mhuilinn walking path to the North Face of Ben Nevis. There is now a newer alternative which means that the original has been left for us bikers to appreciate. It is one of my favourites and I remember that before Enduro was a thing, I use to bump down on a hard-tail on the way to school as the hill walkers would stand back and applaud. This is one of the beautiful things about growing up and living in the Highlands – not only is the scenery incredible but the people are generally active and encouraging. We have a right to roam in Scotland and there is a true sense of freedom across these mountains.

In the skies above Kinlochleven.
In the skies above Kinlochleven.

In the end I guess I am a product of my environment. I love bikes, I enjoy the mountains and I like to explore so hopefully Anneke will approve ;)

James Shirley - A day in the Life of... Image 5
It’s not always appropriate to smile for the camera, especially when there are thousands of midges in the air!

Check out the other 6 blog posts from James’ series:

Keep up to date with James’ racing by following his Instagram Page.

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Words: James Shirley Photos: Adam Schlang / James Shirley / Mick Kirkman / Ross Bell