With two years worth of YouTube and all the talk about this Scottish Mecca called Glentress, Tomks and I finally found the time to make our way up to the Scottish Border Country. The journey up, with horrendous weather, was not the start we anticipated, but on arrival to the campsite, we were pleased to hear after 36hours of continuous rain, the sun was due to shine just for us as we hammered home the last tent peg!! Must be a good omen surely!!!
Anxious to see what the Christmas tree strewn hills had to offer, we kitted and made our way to The Hub.
This well sign posted Forestry Commission run centre, offers all the normalities of a run site, but on a much smaller scale than the Welsh counterparts...the Scottish obviously love their riding muchly more than a cuppa...Well lets see!!
On leaving the car park, we joined the fire road on our way up. Our first taste of trail, despite on the up, it flowed quite nicely, but we were surprised to find the terrain rather tame and not rocky or loose at all. We subsequently found out from a trail builder the following day, much of the Glentress site has little exposed bedrock to rely on some parts, so has to have type2 laid as an alternative base. At least as this centre is very well ridden, half a million in 2007 alone, making this base well bed in. This section had a few surprise alternatives in that it provided opportunity to practice rock steps and skinnies. Taking full advantage, I practiced stopping on the skinny and dismounting! I'm improving my passed on skills from Jedi via Tomks. Cheers mate!
On returning to the fire road, that ascended for quite a time, we settled back for the easy up until we reached the Freeride skills section. We decided after such a long journey getting to this new trail, this section would deserve a return visit and continued on our way on fire road.
PENNEL'S VENNEL. A quick blast of single track to wet your whistle as we then joined the moderate blue route to continue the long ascent to the SPOOKY WOOD CLIMB.
This was so enjoyable despite being a climb, as our minds' eye had already prepared us for ALL the climb being on this terrain... slightly technical with lovely tight little switchbacks to keep your blood flowing.
Out on to a fire road to connect up to the infamous SPOOKY WOOD.
We stopped at the view point benches' for a smackral, then a stroll down the initial 20metres of the pending trail to be ridden. I was slightly in awe of how tame it seemed after viewing videos prior to this visit and with this thought, I knew I was more than capable of doing what the trail deserved.
Mounting steed, seat down, front and rear shocks checked for compression I was ready...
The first kicker felt right. Perfectly executed, I landed square, right gear selected, pump, pump, lets go!!!
I chickened out of just one of the kickers, but was more than up for the rest. The sweeping berms that followed, with the small jumps and tabletops following beautifully. My practice at Swinley ensured all the berms were middled and the tabletops were perfectly pulled of their table cloths...lunch anyone!! Not for us, we had much more fun to discover!
Already?? Fantastic to leave one section with only a quick rest bite into the next.
This section was just as awesome with berm after berm and jump after jump. Although towards the end, hitting HIT SQUAD HILL, we came across the most rootist, twisty, quite technical part of the ride for me. With dry roots and wet Kenda's I struggled to retain control of my steed and had stop to regain posture before I could continue.
After more connecting fire road, a decision had to made weather to take the short cut to the northshore trail or do PIE RUN on to MAGIC MUSHROOM. The latter was opted for.
This was so much fun, graded as black/red, it gave options of different routes to take, as we mixed and matched our way through until we finished this descent to link up with the fire road and the last jumpy single track to fire road back to The Hub.
I must say, for such a well known, spoke about trail, I found the ascent a doddle, no technical knowledge required at all really, but I loved the way the descent flowed, one section after the other...just so cool.
And Spooky Wood?! I got just as much a kick out of the UP as I did the DOWN! Just great!!
An absolute must ride for anyone who gets the opportunity to visit the top end of the country...but do it twice in the day... the hot chocolate taste sooooooo much better!
Where next??!!! Opps, forgot, Scotland, I already here;-))