Doug McDonald’s top photos from 2018.

A photographer takes thousands of images in a year… and we’ve asked a few of our regular photographers to pick their top photos from 2018.

Next up is Doug McDonald. Doug is the man behind BasqueMTB. Not a pro photographer by trade but a very handy person behind the lens regardless, snapping the amazing locations that BasqueMTB take their guests on the regular in the Basque Country.

Here’s Doug McDonald’s top photos of 2018:

This is my bend the rules photo. It was taken in 2017 but I sold it in 2018. I’m not a photographer, so I don’t make a point of selling photos. When I was contacted by a subsidiary mag of Playboy to buy this photo though, how could I say no. Lets just say I the rest of the people in the magazine had a lot less clothes on that the riders in that photo. Place: Basque Coast.

Sometimes a photo is a favourite just because the memories it brings back are so immediate. I can remember this photo like it was yesterday, even though it was from January 2018. Trail scouting for our 2018 Backcountry Pyrenees trip, this was a long, long descent and the moon was high in the sky by the time we finished.

Place: Basque Coast. This mountain is what I see when I open the shutters of my bedroom window. It is right on the coast and almost 1000m tall but there has never been a good descent from the trip. That changed this year because some locals have built an amazing descent. This was taken on my first ride of that descent. Happy days!

Riding in Ainsa, Zona Zero. I really like how the photo captures how sketchy this section is.

Riding in the Backcountry Pyrenees. Again, this photo brings back great memories. We are riding into one of the least populated areas of Spain and this day we started in the snow, after having to put chains on the uplift van. We finished the descent in t-shirts, enjoying a picnic by a river.

Doug rides e-bikes. Better believe it haters! Orbea let me have one of their Wild FS e-bikes this year. Initially I wasn’t very fussed to be honest but its been a lot of fun and an amazing tool for trail building and finding. This photo was take on a 3-battery solo mission with almost 5000m of up and down. By the end my hands could only open far enough to hold the smallest bottle of beer the hotel bar offered, not a good situation.

I love this photo. This is a new trip we are working on, a point to point around the Basque Country. This is a bit of hike a bike with amazing views, and a descent to reward on the other side. This day we hiked up into the mist with a bunch of Germans. The views were non-existent but the atmosphere was special.

Merida OneSixtyMerida OneSixty

One of the best descents on the Basque Coast for me. We don’t do it often with guests but we managed to sneak in a few visits through the year.

This year we ran a new trip, called the Ultimate Pyrenees. We only offer one trip a year, for 6 people who have done our other trips. It makes no profit but the idea is that we use it test and feed new trails into our other trips. This is one of those trails, a big descent with bigger views!

Way above the tree-line in the Pyrenees. There was a bit of hiking to get here but the descent was definitely memorable!

Another memorable ride. With these big mountain rides you spend a long time checking weather forecast each day. This mountain in particular is full of iron so not the best place to be in a thunderstorm. This ride we could hear the storms moving in, just as we reached the top at about 2500m. I was sweating a bit but it worked perfectly and we finished the ride before the storm hit.

Andy has visited us about 15 times and its always a pleasure. This place is also amazing, the mountains in the background are the highest in the Pyrenees and this balcony gives an amazing view of them. The two things together make this photo a definite pick for one of my favourites of the year.

We have received so much hate about using helicopters. While I would never want to see helicopter shuttles running twenty trips a day, like in some places, used responsibly they give amazing access to routes that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. I’ve done this descent a few times without the helicopter and it is around a 5 hour climb. Both ways are great but with the helicopter you can definitely enjoy the descent more! Usually the helicopters fit us in between runs to stock refuges or run other errands in the mountains.

Who doesn’t like a big ridgeline high in the mountains. This was a bit windy and was definitely “wheels on the ground” for the first part of the descent. There is something special about riding ridges, with the big views and that ball-tingling sense of exposure you get.

It’s always a pleasure to ride with Anka Martin. This was the trip we ran to Ainsa for the 2018 EWS. It was a fantastic experience and the race atmosphere was absolutely brilliant. This is the first trail I rode in Zona Zero, nearly a decade ago.

This is another photo from the Ainsa (Zona Zero) EWS. This trail we have been riding for many years, however it received some TLC for the EWS race. We were lucky enough to enjoy it with our group just before the race because after all the racers came down it wasn’t the same!

You can keep with Doug’s adventures on his Instagram feed.


Thanks for sharing! Why not follow us for more content just like this?