Top 3 Scottish mountain biking destinations

Thursday, 22 December 2011 11:49 AM

There's nothing quite like the thrill of mountain biking, and if you're itching to discover some world-class trails, make sure you book a short break in Scotland. Read our guide to discover the nation's top three mountain biking spots.

Fort William

Scotland has long been heralded as one of the world's greatest mountain biking destinations, brimming with fantastic, challenging trails in stunning surroundings.

To discover some of the best, Fort William is an excellent choice of destination. Pack up your mountain bike gear and come here to be in the Highlands' top mountain biking centre.

This area boasts a variety of trails suitable for tackling all year round, which is great if you're looking for some flexibility in terms of when you travel.

If you're just starting out with the sport, you might want to give the Banavie to Gairlocky route a try, which follows the Caledonian Canal. At 15 miles, this is a reasonably long trail to start you off with, but it's particularly gentle and immensely scenic.

Meanwhile, those seeking a challenge should venture up Cow Hill. If you start this 7.5 mile trail at Braveheart car park, you can polish off any road stints early on - and the top of Cow Hill offers fantastic views over Fort William below.

Kirroughtree

Kirroughtree is a destination famous for the calibre and length of its singletrack mountain bike trails - and boasts paths for people of all abilities.

Indeed, the cycling options here include everything from green runs to punishing black trails that only the most experienced riders will want to tackle.

If this is your first foray into the world of mountain biking, start off slowly by riding the Bergaly Wood trail - a green track that will ease you in gently.

Those keen to test their mettle, however, might be more interested in The Twister and Black Craigs routes, which are graded red and black respectively. Expect to face some tricky challenges on these - particularly if you choose the latter - as these twisty trails feature geographical obstacles.

Situated close to the Kirroughtree Visitor Centre and Cafe is the skills loop, which is the perfect place to pull on your mountain bike shorts and hone your abilities. Here, you will find terrain suitable for people of all abilities, giving all visitors the opportunity to improve.

The Witch's Trails

Situated in the Leanachan Forest, the Witch's Trails - which are close to Fort William - have both a variety of skills loops and a number of waymarked routes to try.

Indeed, the 2007 World Championships were held here, giving the destination a particularly strong appeal among keen mountain bikers. If you're itching to give a world-class course a try, head to the Witch's World Champs trail.

Featuring steep climbs and high-speed ascents, this exhilarating red-graded track also has black-graded options, making it a real challenge for experienced riders.

While being relatively short, the skills loops here have some excellent features and cater for beginners right through to experts, so you can be sure that whatever level you're at, you'll have the chance to improve.

So, if you can't wait to discover one of the world's top mountain biking destinations, why not start planning your short getaway to Scotland today? With a wide variety of incredible trails to choose from, the nation cannot be beaten when it comes to exhilarating tracks and great scenery.
 

Mountain biking in the Alps

Mountain biking in the Alps

What could be better than a bike ride in a beautiful setting, with enough fresh air to fill your lungs and the type of rolling, twisting trails that can only be found in remote places?

Top 3 places to cycle in the UK

Top 3 places to cycle in the UK

When the sun is shining, you may be the first to reach for your cycle clothes and gear, grab your bike and hit the road for a day of pedalling. However, in the UK it is easy to make a holiday from your favourite pastime as there are some great places to cycle.

Fort William - a great short break destination

Top picks for a Scottish spring break

Scotland is a wonderful place for a short break at any time of year, although it really comes alive in the spring. Come to the country during the season and you'll be able to see flowers blooming and trees start to grow new leaves after the winter. While plenty of destinations make for amazing getaways, here's a guide to some of the best.

Nice is a beautiful coastal destination

Top 3 French seaside resorts for a weekend getaway

France is an excellent destination to travel to for a weekend break from the UK, as it's so close. If you've got your heart set on having a bit of sunshine by the seaside, check out our suggestions of the country's top spots for a short getaway by the beach.

Hiking and biking in the Mallorca mountains

Biking and hiking in the Mallorca mountains this winter

Bikers and hikers searching for an action-packed winter break on the Spanish island of Mallorca this year should consider an ideal short break at the Hotel L’Avendia. The hotel is a boutique mountain bolthole in the centre of Soller and will remain open from November to February for the first time to offering exclusive rental for groups of friends and family.

Top 3 destinations in Europe for caravans

Top 3 destinations in Europe for caravans

Caravan enthusiasts who are lucky to have Europe on their doorstep can choose from a number of different places to visit, as the continent offers something for everyone.

Cologne's cathedral is a must-visit

Top 3 German cities to visit on a short break

Germany is the perfect destination to choose for a short break, as its major cities are all within an easy flight of the UK. With so many fantastic places to visit, though, it can be hard to narrow down your options. So, here are three of its top cities to explore.

Have a lovely long weekend in Saint-Tropez

Top 3 things to do on a villa break to Saint-Tropez

If you are keen to embark on a luxurious long weekend away but haven't yet decided where to go, you should think about visiting Saint-Tropez (or St Tropez, as it's sometimes spelt). This glamorous coastal town is the ideal place for a short break, though upon arriving you may be tempted to extend your holiday a little longer!

Coffee with a local in Amsterdam

Amsterdam

This week IdealShortBreaks.co.uk is in Amsterdam drinking strong black coffee with local Machteld Ligtvoet, who gives us tips on some of his favourite local haunts – including where you can go to find one of the best views of the city.

Top five alternative Christmas markets

Alternative Christmas markets

Forget the likes of Germany and Eastern European favourites, Budapest, Krakow and Prague this year and why not head to some alternative Christmas market destinations for something a little different this festive season?