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 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.

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