Glentress is Scotland's biggest and most popular mountain bike centre, and the unofficial hub of the sport of mountain biking in Scotland. It is, in short, a phenomenon and the flagship 7stanes centre.
Where do you start with Glentress? It is Scotland's biggest and most popular mountain bike centre, and the unofficial hub of the sport of mountain biking in Scotland. It is, in short, a phenomenon and the flagship 7stanes centre.
At weekends the car parks fill up, the café buzzes with people and the hire bikes shift faster than you can say, 'Any mediums left?' (The trick is to book in advance). Why is this so? Because the custom-built trails - there is an enviable network of approximately 70 kilometres of dedicated single-track, being added to and improved on all the time - are top drawer. But also because the atmosphere, assisted by the Hub café with its fine coffees, wholesome soups and carb loaded homemade cakes, is friendly, welcoming and fun. And the curious thing is that it doesn't seem to matter how busy the café and car parks are, there is always ample room on the trails. You tend to pass other riders, and have them pass you, but logjams are rare.
The development of the trails at Glentress began with the popular red route, built by the trail building guru Pete Laing, way back in 2000. Continually developed and tweaked since then, the Red Route is the most popular at Glentress and includes the legendary Spooky Wood Descent which packs some 18 jumps, 17 tabletops, 4 rock drops and twelve 180-degree bermed bends into its 1.6kms. In short, it is brilliant. The beauty of the red route for many is that it involves a long uphill, with the single-track zigzagging through the forest, but all this is followed by the ultimate reward: an exhilaratingly long downhill ride, all the way back to the trailhead. It is the route that converted many to the thrills of mountain biking, and it continues to deliver.
The Blue Route, meanwhile, is a fantastic option for those with less experience. There's still a significant amount of climbing involved but the trails have been carefully crafted with novice riders firmly in mind - good solid surfaces, mellow climbing gradients and fun, thrilling descents. It's best to start at the trailhead, climb as far as the Buzzards Nest carpark then descend back down to the trailhead (8km), or if feeling very fit do the upper loop of the Blue Route as well (16km total).
Opened in 2007, the 4.5km green route is a cracking wee trail for first time mountain bikers, families or those who haven't been on a bike in a while. Although short, the real beauty of this route is that over half of it is on purpose-built (beginner friendly) green-grade single-track. The Skills Area, near the Buzzard's Nest car park, is also great for newcomers, young or old. It's 1.5kms long and contains many of the features found out on the longer routes.
The black route is at the other end of the scale. From the long, gruelling climb to the mast, to the rocky trails that make up much of the 29kms, to the exhausting Deliverance Loop that drains any remaining energy around two-thirds of the way round, is an epic and technically demanding route.
Three feature-packed trails in the popular Freeride Park next to the Buzzards Nest car park provide an ideal spot for riders looking to style it up and progress their skill levels even further (and maybe scare themselves too!).
Mountain bike instruction is available at Glentress, with courses available for all levels of ability, and a popular Kids Club runs on Saturdays. Night riding is also popular at Glentress with Wednesday evenings being the busiest.
Work continues to improve Glentress, with ongoing maintenance and tweaks to the existing trails, and an ambitious and well-equipped new visitor centre, Glentress Peel, opening Easter 2011.
Green - 4.5kms
Blue - 16kms (or 8kms)
Red - 19kms
Black - 29kms
Orange - freeride park 3 trails
There is also a skills area located near the Buzzards Nest car park.
The Hub in the Forest 01721 721736
Bspoke Bikes 01721 723423
Glentress Bike Hire 01721 729756