A guest blog from Mike Murray at Road and Mountain Bike Reviews
Scotland has lots to offer, from exploring the Scottish Highlands, amazing craft beers, beef, seafood and a cheeky whisky after a long day riding.
Scottish trail centres can be ridden all year round. Mountain biking enthusiasts from around the world come to Scotland to take advantage of the open mountain paths, steep climbs and the dare devil drops through the forest.
Not to mention the break taking landscapes. If you can ride fast here, then you will have the skills to tackle any trail. We will now look at some of the most recognised Scottish mountain biking trails.
Kirroughtree may be hard to pronounce. Its even harder to reach. However, it’s definitely worth it. Situated in the southwest corner of Scotland.
If you feel like you have driven to the middle of nowhere. If you keep driving you will reach Kirroughtree. A rocky, and rooty single track through the forest. Home to one of the longest black listed loops in Scotland called Black Craigs.
The fast flowing, rocky terrain, and technical features will test your mountain biking skills. One of the biggest highlights of Kirroughtree is the well-known “McMoab stabs” that are based on Utah trails.
The climate and scenery in Scotland are quite different. Kirroughtree is one of the seven stanes mountain biking destinations.
The drive to Glenlivet is breath taking. Home to the world renowned Glenlivet whiskey that is definitely worth trying after a day at the trail. Glenlivet trail can be found in the heart of the Glenlivet estate.
One of the main benefits of the Glenlivet trail is that it's designed for mixed abilities. The technical parts are optional, and allow you to build up your confidence at your own pace.
Situated on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park, well-known for its ancient woodlands visited by walkers and backpackers.
Glenlivet has two incredible trail loops. The single-track cuts through the forest with some extraordinary landscapes that makes the climbs fade from memory. After a day at the Glenlivet trail, a visit to the distillery at the Glenlivet estate is highly recommended.
Laggan Wolftrax is situated in The Highlands. Most well-known for its rocky black trail, Ayres rock, that tests the bravest mountain bikers.
The red loop has upper, and lower sections that allows you to get a quick exit if it gets too much. Its near Fort William and is worth a visit, or a quick pit stop at the Dalwhinnie distillery for a refreshment.
There is a small shop called Bothy Bikes that offer bike hire, servicing, or purchasing a mountain biking necessity. A great place to ask any trail related questions.
Comrie Croft is situated in Perthshire and has won many awards for the unique trail and offering on site accommodation. It offers a 12-mile network of single tracks with a variety of blue, red, or black trails.
One of Scotland’s best berm filled trails that have technical, rocky or rooty single tracks.
A really good trail for all the family. There is a skills park and a full-sized pump track. Facilities at Comrie Croft include an onsite shop and a café. Guests can choose between a hostel bed, camping, and Nordic katas.
Glentress – (Tweed Valley)
Glentress has over 55 miles over single-track loops alone. The busiest trail centres in the UK, with over 300,000 visitor per year. A brilliant trail centre to take the family as there is a trail for all abilities.
The Glentress trail has long, but not too technical trails. Ideal for tackling on a sunny day. The views are truly stunning.
For less intense trails, the GT Red and Blue lines are definitely worth trying. The Spooky woods is one of the most ridden trails in the UK, offering tabletops, descents and pure speed.
Situated 22 miles south from Edinburgh, it is easily accessible. There are lots of natural trails to explore and it offers a true mountain biking haven.
Innerleithen (Tweed Valley)
Only a short ride from Glentess. However, it feels like you have landed in a different world. The downhill trails at Innerleithen are renowned for being the best in the UK. No wonder why British mountain bikers do so well on technical World cup courses.
Innerleithen has a mix of natural and endure trails built by Dick Hamilton, cutting through the forest and offer steep drops. There are plenty of options for riders of different abilities.
A new uplift service was created in 2018, known as Adrenalin Uplift that operates Monday to Friday. You might want to try the Cresta Run; a hand-built trail. Offering you a twisty, tight and rooty trail.
Golfie is only across the road, it’s a perfect way to test your biking skills on the challenging steeps and roots.
Fort William is one of the most famous mountain biking trails in Scotland. Hosting the UCI DH World Cup sixteen years ago, witnessed by an amazing 20,000 mountain biking enthusiasts. The weather changes as often as the trail changes- you can expect four seasons in a day.
In addition to the technical trails, there are many family friendly trails for all abilities.
Scotland is brilliant for taking part in some open mountain biking. You can ride anywhere as long as it’s done in a reasonable manner. Sticking to well-designed paths and not damaging the land, or conflicting with other road users.
If you don’t feel confident navigating Scotland on your own you can contact a mountain biking guide.
One of the main benefits off going with a local mountain biking guide is taking advantage of their local knowledge, and make the most out your time out on the trail. They will make sure you get to see some amazing views.
What to expect at the Trail Centre
Visiting a trail centre is a brilliant way to hone your mountain biking skills in a safe and controlled way. However, they can be intimidating when you first arrive.
When you arrive at the trail carpark there is normally a charge for parking. Don’t forget to pay as it will be going towards the general up keep of the trail. You will see people looking hardcore on expensive bikes. However, don’t be intimidated as everyone had to start somewhere.
The majority of trail centres will have trail grading to help you pick a trail that best fits your ability and personal preference.
Green – easy and family trail. Most commonly fire roads or bike paths. Normally fairly short and are ideal for first timers
Blue- beginner trail. Similar to green trails. However, there will be more single tracks, climbs and longer trails. You might find a few mellow rocks, berms and roots to get your MTB juices going.
Red – intermediate trails. For more advanced riders. You will find more single tracks, more technical, tricker drops and descents. The majority of red routes are still rollable.
Black – expert trails. They consist of technical climbs, steep drops and big jumps. Momentum is your best friend when tackling tricky trail.
Pro Line – For the professional, for crazy mountain bikers with large drops and jumps. If it your first time at the trail. It may be worth keeping well away.
The majority of trail centres have a bike shop to get some basic necessities. Some include bike hire, servicing and maybe some refreshments. It may be good to check the trail website for the particular facilities at the trail. If you have any questions regarding the trail the bike shop is definitely the place to go.
If you’re thinking of visit a trail for the first time don’t forget the basic necessities for a day of mountain biking- a tube, multi tool, snacks, water, bike bump and waterproof clothing. Check the weather so you are prepared for the unpredictable British weather.
Spending a lot of time at the trail you will come across other mountain bikers with different ability levels. If a fast rider comes up behind you move over to the side safely. On the other hand, if you want to get past someone give them a polite wave to let them know your intention.
We hope you have enjoyed the article on “The Best Mountain Bike Trails in Scotland" and found it more helpful and informative. You may like to read our comprehensive Beginners Mountain biking guide at Road and Mountain Biking Reviews. .
I love discovering and trying Scottish food and drink. It is an important part of seeing and experiencing the country and there is a lot of great stuff out there. Here is an innovative product- Scotland's very own cola, made in Glasgow with heather extract.
I love the design of the can that features Scotland's national animal, the unicorn. It looks slick and contemporary. 'Made with Scottish water & heather extract' is printed on the front, so you are left in no doubt as to the unique, Scottish qualities of this drink.
On the rear of the can there is a neat infographic that further explores the features of this drink, including that it is suitable for vegans.
It has been several years since I last drank cola from a well-known brand, but Alba Cola tasted pretty much exactly like I remember cola to taste like. I had waited until a day where I was really thirsty to try it and it did the job very well of satisfying the thirst. It was fizzy and sweet and I did pick up something subtle with the heather flavour, but not hugely noticeable. I really enjoyed this drink and I think it is great that there is such a thing as a Scottish cola.
An ex-Motherwell footballer, Chris Ewing, noticed that in France there was a growth in regional colas. People there preferred to champion a locally made cola rather than the big brands and Chris thought a similar demand could exist in Scotland. He teamed up with Niall Holmes to create Alba Cola.
Alba Cola can be found mainly in independent retailers, so if you come across it give it a go and let me know what you think.
My name is Colin Baird and I want to see all of Scotland by bicycle.