Mountain Biking in Southern and Central Scotland
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This guidebook describes 21 mountain biking routes in central and southern Scotland, including the 7stanes in Dumfries and Galloway, and cross-country routes in the Campsie Fells, Pentland Hills and Lammermuirs, the Galloway Forest, Tweed Valley, Cheviots and Lowther Hills. The routes range from 17 to 66km, graded from moderate to very hard.
- Dry weather is hard to guarantee in Southern and Central Scotland though summer is the likeliest time for dry trails. However, every season has its charms - so long as rain and mud doesn't scare you - and winter really can be a wonderland.
- Glasgow, Milngavie, Greenock, Lochwinnoch, Glentrool, New Cumnock, Moniaive, Durisdeer, Wanlockhead, Sanquhar, Hownam, Kirk Yetholm, Peebles, Traquair, Innerleithen, Longformacus, Gifford, Balerno.
- The routes are intended for mountain bikers with at least some experience and a reasonable degree of fitness. There are no 'easy' routes in this guidebook, hence routes are graded 'moderate', 'hard' and 'very hard' Any 'difficult' or 'technical' sections are indicated. The general lack of signposts and other waymarkers endemic to Scotland makes navigation more of a challenge than in other parts of the UK
- Must See
- The Campsie Fells, the Pentland Hills and the Lammermuirs, the Galloway Forest, the Tweed Valley, the Cheviots and the Lowther Hills of Dumfriesshire.
This guidebook describes 21 mountain biking routes in central and southern Scotland. It includes the 7stanes trail centre in Dumfries and Galloway, as well as cross-country routes in the Campsie Fells, Pentland Hills and Lammermuirs, the Galloway Forest, Tweed Valley, Cheviots and Lowther Hills. The routes range from 16.5 to 66km and are graded from moderate to very hard. Taking between 2 and 7 hours to complete, they are intended for reasonably fit mountain bikers with at least some experience.
Detailed route descriptions are accompanied by 1:50,000 OS mapping, and the selected routes set out from various points across the area, including Greenock, Glentrool, Peebles and Milngavie, with good access from both Glasgow and Edinburgh. The guidebook also gives an overview of what the region's MTB trail centres have to offer, including the famous 7stanes trail centre, along with advice on equipment, maintenance and safety.
Southern and Central Scotland is renowned for its superlative MTB trail centres, but the region's rolling hill country is also traversed by an extensive network of tracks, paths, forest roads and other trails providing endless possibilities for 'free range' mountain biking.
Mountain biking in southern and central Scotland
About the routes in this guide
Getting there and getting around
When to go
Tools and maintenance
Rights of way and other users
How to use this guide
Abbreviations and symbols used in the route descriptions
Other trail centres
Whitelee Wind Farm
Route 1 Durisdeer, Daer Reservoir and Wedder Law
Route 2 Lowther Hills loop
Route 3 Shinnel Water and Scaur Water loop
Route 4 Carrick Forest Four Lochs loop
Route 5 Glentrool and the Galloway Hills
Route 6 Windy Standard loop
Route 7 Belford to Cocklawfoot: Windy Gyle loop
Route 8 Kirk Yetholm and the Pennine Way
Route 9 Minch Moor and the Three Brethren
Route 10 Stake Law and the Gypsy Glen
Route 11 The Tweedsmuir Hills: Natural Tweed
Route 12 The Lammermuir Hills: Longformacus and Wedder Lairs loop
Route 13 Gifford and the Hope Hills
Route 14 The Pentland Hills: a rollercoaster route around the reservoirs
Route 15 Misty Law
Route 16 Greenock Cut
Route 17 Kilpatrick Hills loop
Route 18 The Campsie Fells: Dumgoyne and Earl’s Seat
Route 19 Mugdock Country Park loop
Route 20 Carbeth – Cameron Muir loop
Route 21 Glasgow waterways loop
Appendix A Bike shops and mechanics
Appendix B Other useful contacts
Ordnance Survey provide map coverage of central and southern Scotland in 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 scales (
Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer series
- 342 Glasgow, Paisley, Rutherglen & Kirkintilloch
- 341 Greenock, Largs & Millport
- 348 Campsie Fells, Kilsyth, Strathblane & Fintry
- OL 38 Loch Lomond South, Dumbarton & Helensburgh, Drymen & Cove
- 328 Sanquhar & New Cumnock, Muirkirk & Moniaive
- 329 Lowther Hills, Sanquhar & Leadhills, Wanlockhead & Crawford
- 318 Galloway Forest Park North, Glentrool, Loch Doon & St John’s Town of Dalry
- 345 Lammermuir Hills, Dalkeith, Bonnyrigg & Gifford
- 344 Pentland Hills, Penicuick & West Linton
- 337 Peebles and Innerleithen, Eddleston & Ettrickbridge, Traquair & Yarrow
- 336 Biggar & Broughton, Culter Fell & Dollar Law
- 338 Galashiels, Selkirk & Melrose, St Boswells & Lauder
- OL 16 The Cheviot Hills, Jedburgh & Wooler
Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landranger series
- 64 Glasgow
- 63 Firth of Clyde, Greenock & Rothesay
- 57 Stirling & The Trossachs
- 77 Dalmellington & New Galloway, Galloway Forest Park
- 71 Lanark & Upper Nithsdale
- 78 Nithsdale & Annandale
- 66 Edinburgh, Penicuick & North Berwick
- 67 Duns, Dunbar & Eyemouth
- 73 Peebles, Galashiels & Selkirk, Tweed Valley
- 80 Cheviot Hills & Kielder Water
The most up-to-date 1:50,000 scale Ordnance Survey mapping has been used for the routes in this guidebook. At the time of going to press, the information on the maps included in this guide was accurate. Older copies of some maps may contain information that is at odds with what is included here.
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Ride 8 : the required OS Landranger map number is 74 not 80.
A welcome guide encouraging adventurous off-road days out; most welcome and really useful.
Fitting nicely into a jersey pocket this guide has all you need. Even a dyed-in-the-wool-road-tourer is likely to feel the urge to get out the the knobbly-tyres and head off into the wilderness for a ride …. well, probably a bike and hike …. and the keen rough-stuffer or off-roader will be licking their lips.
Seven Day Cyclist
"The thing I liked most about this guide is the plenty food for thought it's given me for planning my own routes in the hills and new ideas for places to explore - especially as almost half the routes are easily accessible by train. Route instructions are concise but very clear and helpful. The book got quite wet whilst changing route plans in January's icy sleet yet survived unscathed, so it's pretty robust.
An inspiring read - and not just for mountain bikers."
Eleisha Fahy, ScotWays
Since moving to Scotland from the south of England in 2006, Peter has developed a passion for the Hebrides and takes every available opportunity to get out among the islands. He lives in Glasgow with his wife, Fiona, and Dougal the Labrador. Peter also writes about his walking and cycling trips on his blog site at www.writesofway.com.View Articles and Books by Peter Edwards
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