MTB in Wales and Scotland

Mountainbiking is a big sport in the UK. However, it is rather different from the way we know it in Sweden. In densely populated England, people ride briddle pathes, and virtually all real singletrack is off-limits for legal riding. Nevertheless, a lot of the English love to bike, so there are quite a few places to ride with good trails. These tend to be special mountain bike centers, with special purpose built trails. Both Wales and Scotland promote mountainbiking actively in the hope that it will generate tourist income. They offer excellent information, on-line and on various brouschures and maps that are distributed for free. The trails tend to be a lof of fun, with jumps and birms, and they are usually one-way trails, i.e., you are supposed to ride them in one direction only.

Dolgellau

Our first mountainbike stop was in Dolgellau in Wales. The area we rode in is known as Coedy Y Brenin.  Dolgellau was a funky little town, old houses, narrow lanes, several good pubs . The trails of Coed Y Brenin were splendid. They were sponsored by Red Bull and Karrimore, and hence there was of course a Red Bull Trail and a Karrimore Trail. There are also other trails and plenty of useful information easily available. Most of it is also accessible on-line. We opted for the Karrimore Trail, it was said to be a real epic. 



Initial ascent


‘All weather purpose built singletrack’


Heavily armoured trail









Welsh country side


A bit technical


Mary‘s, brilliant for tea and scones








Rolling Welsh Hills


Heavyily armoured section






Dank Welsh weather


The Karrimore Trail  was a lot of  fun. That was the only  trail we rode in  Wales. Heavy rain, fog and cold and a nasty weather forcast made us leave after only a day.  However, in spite the weather we would gladly go back to Dolgellau or ride in any of the other places that are exposed on Mountainbiking Wales.

The Seven Stanes

It took us a day to drive to Scotland. Our first stop was Dalbeattie. One of the Seven Stanes, purpose built all weather mountainbike centers, constructed with support from the European Union‘s funds for regional development. Dalbeattie is a small pleasant town and several of the Stanes trails are within comfortable driving distance.

In Dalbeattie we met up with Simon whom we had got in touch with through alt.mountain-bike. At the time we had serious doubts about my rear derailleur, it was getting really rickety. It turned out that Simon had an old one, so in the morning we went to his house and mounted it. Thanks, Simon, it is still working fine.

Then, we went to ride the Dalbeattie trails. We rode the Hard Rock Trail guided by Simon. The trail went in complex loops, traversing hill sides, climbing ridges, and had a lot of sections that were great fun.









Fun twisting trail


Steep pitch



Traversing hilll sides


Ellisabeth and Simon after the ride



Kirroughtree

At our the camping place in Dalbeattie we met an English couple, Chris and Niccole, who were also in Scotland to ride. We spent a couple of days riding with them and had a good time.

One day we wen to Kirroughtree and rode the Black Craigs Trail.












Elisabeth on Mc Moab


Scotish slick rock



Chris rolling down



Fun step




Enjoying coffee and ‘home made’ pastry after the ride


Mabie

We also went to Mabie with Chris and Niccole and rode the Phoenix Trail, a course that winded  around the slopes of a hilltop. It was a splendid outing.



Moutainbike bridge, funded by the EU





Twisting trail



Overlooking a dale


Glentress

We continued to Glentress in the Tweed valley.  It was so buisy that the camping place in Glentress was almost full and said we could only stay a night as it was fully booked up for the approaching week end.  However, the weather became so heavy that we left although they had had a lot of cancellations. The main riding area is in Glentress Forest, a nature preservation area, with plenty of trails.  The Glentress Forest is really buisy with mountain bikers. There are hundreds of bikers, enough to run a café "The Hub", and the ambience is  reminiscent of  a skiresort where people have exchanged skiis for bikes.

We rode the Glentress Red Route, a seventeen kilometres trail consisting mostly of singletrack, though there is a fair bit of dirt road too. It was a varied ride with some steep ascents and some purposebuilt dowhill sections with twisting birms and jumps.


Glenntress Camping

Camping in Glentress



Overlooking the Tweed Valley


Switchback







Long climb






Birms


Lots of fun











One-way sign


The Hub café


There were plenty of other trails in Glentress. We would have loved to ride them all. However, we had cold, torrential rain, it was dank and foggy, and not too much fun to be camping. So we chosed to leave, doing a loop up through northern Scotland as far as Ullapool before we headed south.



Loch
Ullapool

Ullapool



Fjord near Ullapool





Loch Maree



Loch Carron



Skye