As I am sure many of you have seen, I have just got back from an awesome week mountain biking, running and camping in Scotland. Despite the weather well and truly living up to expectations (Storm Abigail, Hurricane Barney and more), I have come back in one piece having had a fantastic time.
I have noticed, having spent the summer focusing on my running, my mountain biking skills have got a little rusty. I’ve still been going out in the Peaks, but most of the time it’s been more of a relaxing gentle ride than hardcore training. However, things are changing – with entry to ‘Ard Rock going through it’s time to get practising! This in mind I started my adventures in 7Stanes near Dumfries, a place nicknamed the mecca of trail riding in the UK.
Although I would nearly always pick the natural stuff over the trails, there is a lot to be said for spending time on these routes. One of the main reason for me is because it encourages you to try the harder bits again and again until you get them. I also find they flow really nicely (because they are designed to!), while in contrast cross country riding can have some beautiful sections linking them together can be tricky.
One thing I didn’t talk about in the video was the campsite I stayed at Gorsebank Farm. While I don’t usually go into great detail on where I stay I’d like to make an exception here – this was a great little spot, and I would recommend it to other mountain bikers and campers heading up to Dumfries. We stayed in one of their timber tents (imagine a hollow piece of Toblerone made of wood) – which at £22 a night was an absolute bargain. I had expected a very basic wooden box, but this had a light and power. Alongside this the campsite had a drying room and kitchen, two things that proved to be a real luxury given the weather – putting on warm soggy lycra is so much better than cold, soggy lycra!
I will certainly be heading back up here as soon as the winter weather eases off for some more training. Top of the list is finishing the black circuit at Kirroughtree then taking a look at the routes at Dalbeattie and Ae. If you’re into trail riding or looking for a fun week/weekend away, I would recommend checking this area out there is so much great riding to be done.
Keep your eyes peeled for my second video and post on Glencoe – it will be up soon. Hope you have all had a great weekend.