The good people in the Tweed Valley, a verdant and arboreal slice of the Scottish Borders, have been working hard over the past decade or so to make their region a veritable Mecca for mountain biking. In fact, they didn't need to do much – the woodland, and the steep hills already meant that the area was popular with bikers - but the trail centre at Glentress, the wonders of the woods around Innerleithen, and the all-too-rare prospect of a UK uplift have cemented the place's standing as a little slice of mountain biking heaven, right here in the UK.
Even better, the area is also relatively straightforward to get to from wherever you happen to be in the UK, too – if you're in the south it's not as far as the Trossachs, being only a short(ish) hop and a skip from Carlisle – and once you're there, the towns and villages boasts plenty of places for the weary mountain biker to lay their adrenaline sozzled head after riding, eating a mountain of food and enjoying the convivial surroundings of the many hostelries in the area.
But we're not here to talk about beer! Even before the area became known for the all-encompassing thrutchfests of the Golfie (as the Tweed Valley Forest Park around Kirnie Law is affectionately known) and the well signposted adventures of Glentress, there were plenty of goings-on from a two-wheeled perspective. And here, for your delectation, are just a few.
Here you will find fair weather, gentle routes; long, non-technical routes for those who really like to work their legs; highly technical routes that require your choice of startling finesse, brute speed, or terrified squeaking (or possibly all three) and everything in between.
But where to base oneself? Well, that's the question. Innerliethen is probably the obvious choice – although it's smaller than Peebles, more of the trails are a little closer. But then, Peebles has arguably more amenities and accommodation and a similarly welcoming air for mountain bikers. In fact, the only thing the two of them lack is a railway station (or, okay, an airport, but now we're just being silly). If you don't have a car, you're faced with a bit of a ride after disembarking the train at Galashiels - although it's a pretty lovely ride, for all that.
Although the region is relatively lacking in altitude (well, from a Scottish perspective). the weather can still get a little - uh – interesting, especially in the winter, so it's always a good idea to make sure you've got everything you might need. Something warm to wear if you're hanging about, some snacks, spares and a rudimentary first aid kit would be a minimum. But don't let such concerns put you off. The riding around the area really is first rate – and if you don't fancy a long day of climbing in the saddle, then the uplift and the trail centre is always an option!
This Tour takes in a little of everything - it wanders up and over the glorious Gypsy Glen, before popping over the river for a quick blast on some of …
Hawick Upon Tweed, despite being the largest town in the Tweed Valley, tends to be somewhat overlooked by the mountain biking fraternity because of the bright lights of Innerleithen and …
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This route is something of a doozy, throwing in some of the more technical challenges of the region along side some enormous wide-open space riding; this is truly an all-around …
This ride is a must for folks who want to experience what the Tweed Valley has to offer besides the groomed trail centre, or the high-octane tech-fest.From Innerliethen, the climb up through Traquair Forest is enough to disabuse you of the notion that this will be a snooze-fest, as it scrambles up a surprising amount of height gain through a variety of switchbacks.
What's a mountain biker to do when the weather's so wet you'd get drookit (Scots for 'drenched') from just opening a window? Well, they'd go out anyway, of course! This …
The eagle eyed amongst you may note that there is another Tour elsewhere in this Collection which encounters the Three Brethren, but fear not! This route encounters the brothers from a completely different direction, and a completely different starting point.It's also a very different ride - there's little that's technical en route, but there are some absolutely fabulous views and quite a different feel to the terrain from the north.
A big day out in the saddle, this one. Plenty of climbing, plenty of descending, a bunch of road work, lots of high-grade tracks, and just enough spice to keep it interesting! As the majority of the off-road riding is on well-surfaced tracks, it's also a good one to ride if the weather is, shall we say, somewhat less than clement.