Mountain biking in Scotland: Six beginner’s routes to get you started

Mountain biking can be hair-raising, but there are plenty of courses available for beginners
Mountain biking can be hair-raising, but there are plenty of courses available for beginners
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IT’S fast, it’s thrilling, and it can be scary. But mountain biking isn’t just for daredevils. Alison Campsie runs down Scottish trails even beginners can master

Glentress, Dumfries and Galloway, 2.8 miles

The Callendar Estate near Falkirk has easy trails leading to more challenging routes

The Callendar Estate near Falkirk has easy trails leading to more challenging routes

Take in some stunning views of Peebles, the Tweed Valley and the surrounding hills on the easiest trail at the world-famous Glentress Forest mountain bike park. The route climbs gently to the Narrow Neck viewpoint before descending onto Janet’s Brae. It’s a fairly easy route, but you’ll get a true feel for the sport as you speed through tight tree-lined gaps and take on 180 degree turns.

www.glentressforest.com

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Ae Valley Route, Dumfries and Galloway, 5.6 miles

The Deeside Wayt from Aberdeen to Ballater offers a fine biking route in stunning surrounds

The Deeside Wayt from Aberdeen to Ballater offers a fine biking route in stunning surrounds

This green-graded trail is an entry-level route with a beautiful view over the Water of Ae near Lockerbie. It’s a pleasant mix of single track with forest roads with easy gradients and just one short-sharp climb.

www.7stanesmountainbiking.com/Ae

Callendar Estate, Falkirk, 2.5 miles

The beginner’s green route will give riders gentle slopes to navigate plus a prime view of Charlie’s Stanes, which mark the 1746 Battle of Falkirk Muir. A boardwalk will take riders up a gear with options to go to the next level on the blue route (2.5miles) that features a series of gentle hills and a couple of twisting drops. Riders will move through Craigburn Wood before returning to Howierig Moss, the starting point for the largest network of trails in central Scotland.

www.callendarestate.co.uk

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Deeside Way, Aberdeen to Aberdeenshire, 41 miles

Starting at Duthie Park, Aberdeen, this route stretches for 16 miles along the banks of the River Dee to Banchory, close to good points of interest, including Crathes and Drum Castle. It’s a flat route in the main so it won’t be exceptionally challenging, but it’ll be enough to get your legs and lungs stretching as you power on through some beautiful scenery and woodland to Kincardine O’Neil and Aboyne before reaching Ballater. You could strap your bike onto your car to Banchory and take the two-wheeled option east from there.

www.deesideway.org

Crail to Kingsbarns, Fife, 4.1 miles one way

This former railway track will take you from one pretty East Neuk town to another, where riders can reward their efforts with a trip to Kingsbarns Beach. Head east out of Crail towards Balcombie Links Hotel and take the farm track past the neighbouring caravan park. You’ll push through some fine, open agricultural land before arriving on the edge of Kingsbarns.

www.dmbins.com

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Glenlivet Estate, Highland, 5.5 miles

Right in the heart of Cairngorms National Park, these trails are sure to thrill when you are feeling a little more confident. The blue route is the fun, easier route with some climbing and sweet, flowing trails in a fine setting.

A twisting short ascent will take you to Gauger’s Lookout, which casts down over Spooky Wood. A single track descent will lead to Ankers Alley, with a short twisty ascent to follow. The blood will be running for a bracing finish through the Copper Worm and the final Barrel Run.

www.glenlivetestate.co.uk