If anybody is considering or ever has the chance to go to Glentress i would definitely do so. Very highly recommended for all types of rider; whether you are an absolute beginner using a rental bike from the shop, or if you are a seasoned veteran who wants a damn good thrill! I went up there from the Midlands and picked a friend up from Leeds along the way. It did take around 6 hours or so but it was worth the drive.
We stayed for three nights in a 'Wigwam' right next to the trailhead, cafe, and bike shop. It was really cheap accommodation, each one has sleeping capacity for 8 people, a fridge and a kettle. The showers, toilets, kitchen, and reception are all in a building only 20m away. Only £20 a night each including bike storage. It just servered as a roof over our heads and some warmth from the -3 degree temperature. Desipte the cold temperature the weather was really good for the three days we were there and did not have one drop of rain! http://www.glentressforestlodges.co.uk/
The trails include a green, blue, red, and black. We did not get round to riding the black but rode the red twice, the freeride park and the blue a couple of times too over two days.
The Blue Trail uses well maintained natural trail but with a 'man made' touch to it. The corners and berms are well crafted and make it very easy for beginners to learn but can be ridden with high speed if you are more advanced. Our favourite section was part of the blue trail called 'Berm Baby Berm' which, as the name suggests, is a very smooth flowing section with at least 20 berms. You can ride it and push back up from the 'Buzzards Nest' carpark.
The Red Trail also uses well maintained natural trail but you need to pick your lines through the rocks and berms more carefully. It's a little steeper than the blue but nothing serious. It is just really nice flowy single track for half of it, then the other half is fairly technical, short, rooty switchbacks. The 'Spooky Woods' is the first part of the main descent and is 3-4 minutes of pure flowing natural track and is possibly one of the best sections I have ever ridden on any trail. The climb is pretty standard, not very technical, just quite long and you can get to the top of the red by doing 75% fireroad if you wish.
The Freeride Park is based at the 'Buzzards Nest' carpark which is the secondary trailhead a couple of singletrack climbs, or a long fireroad climb up the hill. The park itself is very well laid out with log skinnies, jumps, berms, wallrides, and boardwalk. It has good progression between the features and is only a 2-3 minute push up to the three different starting points.
As I mentioned before I would recommend the trail centre to any level of rider and you can't get the full thrill of it without riding for at least a couple of days. The Wigwams we stayed in would be a little more expensive in the summer but are ideal for bikers not needing anything fancy. It's self catered but Peebles is the nearest town just a few miles down the road and there is a couple of supermarkets and plenty of Pubs for evening meals and a drink.
All in all an awesome trip and will definitely be going back. Just trying to make a video now out of all the GoPro footage i have!
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