With adventure tourism attracting more than 415,000 visits to Scotland each year and Scotland hosting the 2010 Adventure Travel World Summit in October, VisitScotland has produced a list of some of the country’s top mountain bike and cycle routes so visitors can explore them this summer.
Some of the top cycling routes are:
The world class 7stanes
Named after the Scots word for stone with trails across Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders, each of the 7stanes is home to a stone sculpture reflecting a local myth or legend.
Newcastleton lies on the border between Scotland and England with shorter routes than those found elsewhere. There are gradings for cross-country trails and forest roads, making for a great activity for all the family. Kirroughtree Forest is popular with children since it is home to an excellent play area.
The Big Country route at the Glentrool centre provides magnificent views of the Galloway hills during the 58-mile ride. The Forest of Mabie (pronounced like “maybe”) is the original mountain-biking venue in southwest Scotland.
For those looking for some real tests, the red-graded Hardrock trail at the Dalbeattie centre has some challenging black-graded sections – ominously named The Slab, Terrible Twins and Volunteer Ridge. The forest and village of Ae (the UK’s shortest place name) lie just 20 minutes from the motorway (the freeway, to Americans) but you wouldn’t believe it when you cycle along its quiet trails.
Glentress is an award-winning biking centre. It has trails of all grades, a top-notch café, a bike shop with bike hire, changing and showering facilities, and a friendly atmosphere. Innerleithen, situated just a few miles south east of Glentress, is home to some of the UK’s finest downhill and free-ride trails, as well as a red-graded XC route.
Lying in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Fort William is the capital of Lochaber and one of the major resorts of the Scottish Highlands.
‘Fort Bill’ lies at the heart of Lochaber and is the area’s nature capital. The town is easily accessible from Glasgow and the central belt, and in turn provides good access to the Highland and Islands.
Nevis Range and the surrounding area of Lochaber boasts a vast and varying choice of mountain bike trails, from cross-country trails and white-knuckle downhills to relaxing forest trails that are sympathetic to even the most inexperienced of riders.
Lochaber is at the heart of the Outdoor Capital of the UK and is also host to the UCI Mountain Bike & Trails World Championships track.
Laggan Wolftrax is set in the Cairngorm National Park, Scottish Highlands. Wolftrax has built a strong reputation for some of the best purpose-built mountain bike trails in the country. It is easily accessible, being only a short drive from Aviemore and Fort William.
Set in the beautiful Strathmashie Forest, Wolftrax provides a green-graded beginners’ trail, a fast red-graded route and a black-graded trail and features the “2 Ton Drop” and the “Back, Sack and Crack Attack”.
The Fife Coastal Path
The Fife Coastal Path stretches for 150 kilometers from the Forth Estuary to the Tay Estuary. The path offers a range of walking and cycling experiences, from the easy and level to the wild and demanding.
For more information on holidays to Scotland, go to www.visitscotland.com/perfect.