I had a great day at the weekend on the Drumlanrig Castle red/black trail. It was an unexpected find as it’s a pretty unknown trail down in the south of Scotland, not even a member of the forestry commision’s legendary 7 Stanes, and it’s not particularly man-made.
That turned out to be it’s strength though as the trail is a tricky little effort, twisting and winding through trees and rocks, up and down as the land takes it. There’s roots a-plenty waiting to slide your bike’s front tyre and some nasty uphills that just come out of nowhere. Unlike more man-made trails it seems like this area has been developed through bikers simply going for a yomp in the forest and finding the best route through. Sometimes you have to watch out or you’ll lose the trail but it makes it feel like that much more of an adventure.
One more modified section is made for speed though as you pedal like crazy around an undulating track through a more sparsely wooded area. It’s a great wee section with enough berms to keep the speed up and enough trees to duck under to let you know exactly how fast you’re going. The exit is a straight downhill into what was an axle-deep muddy puddle on the damp day I was there. If it’s the same on your visit it’ll have you screaming and laughing like a schoolkid as you whiz out of the trees and create your own bike tsunami.
The facilities are enough to put plenty of specialised biking areas to shame too with showers, changing rooms, a free bike wash and a mountain bike shop on offer. You can even check out the castle after to feign a bit of culture.
If you’re wanting to go back to basics, move away from the downhill speed, and test your pure bike handling skills for a change then Drumlanrig is a great day out. Ride this root-strewn, slide-fest a few times and you’ll wonder how you ever found the ultra-grippy, rocky steps of the man-made trails a problem.