Mabie has a different mood about it. No matter how hard you ride you always get a chilled out feeling at Mabie, probably due to the serene woodland surroundings and natural feel to parts of the trail.
Though close to Dalbeattie and Ae - it sits slap bang between the two - Mabie offers something different again. While Dalbeattie is all hard, granite trails and open, sweeping vistas, and Ae resembles a fun park, with its manmade trails, jumps and bumps, Mabie offers something akin to a more natural mountain biking experience.
Here you will find softer trails, with roots a more common obstacle than rocks - though fear not, these trails have been constructed with mountain bikers in mind, and there is some great singletrack - downhill and uphill.
Recent work has "refreshed" several sections of the red grade Phoenix Trail. There has also been a new make over for Vadars Lair, the introduction to The Dark Side Trail. Mabie also boasts some fantastic novice friendly blue and green trails, which provide a great introduction to single-track riding.
The ever popular Phoenix Trail is 19kms of hugely enjoyable red-grad trails. From the start the trail climbs gently until Butterhole Climb takes you abruptly uphill and on to The Ridge. Then follows the only significant road section in the whole ride, after this it is single-track (nearly) all the way. First a long entertaining traverse leads to Descender Bender.
The descent that follows justifies the effort of the initial testing climb. Sweeping berms, as well as some off camber corners, on a well-constructed track that speeds you down to a small river crossing - The Burn Splash - before the aptly name Scorpion - perhaps the most severe climb included at any of the 7stanes centres. It is a brief but explosive leg-burner.
Catch your breath for the thrilling Roller Coaster, and then The Elevator, takes you sharply uphill, via sections of North Shore leading to a fantastic ridge with views across to the nearby town of Dumfries.
The Bad Step follows soon after and this time there is no soft option other than getting off the bike and walking, it is not as bad as it looks though and a confident approach should see you down okay. The final section, Rattle 'n' Hum, speeds you on, weaving around the trees, over more slippy roots, and back to the car park.
And then, for the mad, bad and dangerous to know, there is the Dark Side, so called because it is 'the most technically demanding, hair raising 2kms of legal timber to be found on Forestry Commission land in this country.'
Situated in a corner of the forest away from the main trails, the Dark Side is black grade North Shore and is for experts only. Even then, those who do fancy riding it are advised to walk it first. More thrills - and skills - can be gained in the skills area found close to the trailhead and those of a more Freeride persuasion need look no further than the Mini-X if styling it up and hanging out is the aim of the day.
The onsite Grierson & Graham cycle centre can arrange bike hire, retail sales and repair and there is also a cafe offering refreshments and a wood-burning stove - ideal for drying off after a wet day's biking!
Green - Big Views Loop, 8.2kms
Blue - Woodhead Loop, 10kms
Red - The Phoenix Trail, 19.2kms
Black - Mabie's Dark Side, 2kms
Orange - Mini-X
Lochbank Loop, 12.5kms
Grierson & Graham 01387 270275
Castle Douglas Cycle Centre 01556 504542
Kirkpatrick's Cycles 01387 254011