7Stanes Road Trip – Dalbeattie & Kirroughtree

10 11 2008

Cramming in some holidays before Rick’s shoulder surgery, we decided to travel to Scotland and revisit the 7Stanes, riding as many trail centres as possible.  The journey up was through a severe weather warning (our usual summer then) with rain bouncing off the roads and around us flooded.  Deciding to 2 centre-stop this time we split our time between Dalbeattie and Innerleithen.  The last part being a comfy B&B to top the week off (http://www.caddonview.co.uk/pictures.html – they’re offering 3 nights for price of 2 during the winter, can’t recommend them highly enough).

Day One:  Dalbeattie

Riding straight from camp meant we’d shortcut to about 1/3rd the way round and saved a 3 mile road slog but missing our cue to turn off, we continued too far on the blue grade trail.  Giving us a good leg warmer and some fab scenery on the way The Borders are hilly and pretty but don’t expect the Highlands.  Mind you, after the bad weather on the way up today was doing a good un.

Getting back on trail, armouring up, we ventured into the singletrack but not being warmed up mentally or physically for the ‘nadgery’ boulder-fest we were thrown straight into.  It was tough immediately.  Massive boulders and trail errosion was quite a problem, making line choice limited, mine being a bit hit and miss.  It is rideable but I’d say its top end of red verging into black in places.  It’s not called Hardrock trail for nothing, these boulders are a huge feature and you either love em or hate em.  There are some great sections and with black grade features to peel off onto like The Terrible Twins and The Slab to test yer metal, you won’t be disappointed if you’ve got the nerve and skill.  They’re also put in a new black graded skills section near the trailhead which kept Rick amuzed for quite a while and me while I video’d.  Overall we enjoyed the trail but we decided it was a bit too ‘nadgery’ to get any flow going and the buzz wasn’t there for us.  24 miles long zip to zip and approx 750mtrs of climbing it’s not to be sniffed at.  Having ridden it twice now we won’t be rushing back to ride it again, there is much better out there but that said it is worth a trip so don’t discount it, you might love nadgery. 

Day Two:  Kirroughtree

The western-most trail worth worrying about is Kirroughtree – Glentrool is further but with 56kms of fireroad and no singletrack ? worth the journey.  But Kirroughtree, well this trail is just the best trail we have EVER ridden.  Deciding to tackle my first Black trail here we set off sniffing out McMoab along the way.  Another fantastic sunny day and the trail completely to ourselves made this a very special ride. 

Rocky outcrops is Kirroughtree’s speciality something we don’t get much in Sussex but by the end of today I was going to be quite a specialist.  Power, power, power and commit to getting up over and down them your bike usually finds its line.  I cannot express enought that this trail has just about THE best flow anywhere.  It mixes up its sections beautifully; it’s not eroded; its well cared for; the World MTB something or another is being held there next year and it has flow, flow, flow, flow, flow.  It’s sublime. 

McMoab is at its further point.  A humpy granite load of rock sticking out the ground with blue arrows painted on to show you the way it mecca for any budding trials specialists.  It goes one forever and ever and according to Rick, brilliant to ride with amazing grip.  Kept him happy for well over 45 mins.  Time was ticking on though and we’d nowhere near finished and little did we know they’d only gone and saved the best to last. 

Heartbreak Hill is a steep unforgiving climb up to a fireroad where you meet Black Craigs.  Here the fun really starts and it just got better and better and better.  This section of singletrack is to die for, the flow is just amazing, technically challenging but totally ridable – that’s if you tell yourself you can.  Only one or two tricky step downs / slab uphill sections caught me (and Rick) out but it was amazing.  Words cannot do it justice, you just have to go there once in your life and ride it. 

When the trail merges back with the red you think, great now I can have a rest, think again.  This is one of the toughest red trails we’ve ridden too and its certainly no walk in the park to get back to the trail centre.  Seeming to go on forever in its brilliant flowy way, we were now running out of food (1 gel remaining) and light (7.45pm).  Bumping into the only other biker out there today, who was in the same boat, we rode back together laughing like drains in the car park at how fabulous that trail really was.  Approx 38kms and 800mtrs of climing.  WE WILL BE BACK AND YOU MUST RIDE IT.  That’s an order !






One response

4 12 2014

I’m not worhty to be in the same forum. ROTFL

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