Off piste in the heart of the beast
The end of last week was my second trip away this year (the first was our little blat up to the Lakes) and it required yet another healthy sit in the Vito Sport. After an engine-off hour in Bath’s stand-still traffic though I was on my way and just over six hours later, I’d made Innerleithen.
I don’t mind van miles – there’s something reassuring about blasting through the greyness on the way up north and landing out the other side surrounded by rolling countryside and hills. Is Wordsworthian a proper term? If not, then it is now.
Tebay services was the only stop on the way for an obligatory steak and ale pie and Mars bar cake. Why can’t all services be like Tebay?
It was dark as I hit the final stretch of windy B-road blasting along the undulating combination of hairpin bends and humpback bridges alongside St. Mary’s Water all the way to Inners.
I stayed at Glentrail House, a massive bunkhouse run by Richard and Deidre Latimer. The Tweed Valley Tourist Consortium’s Mountain Bike Hospitality Scheme is designed to help local businesses cater for the needs of the increasingly large volume of two-wheeled tourist traffic and Glentrail is a shining example. Massive bike storage/fully kitted out workshop, huge shower and room for 15 muddy bikers all across the road from the Traquair Arms pub.
Thursday was spent with Chris Ball and his BASE Mountain Biking boys. If you’re a school-leaver hoping to make it amongst the pro race ranks then you need to look out for the full feature in MBUK 263…
After a day watching the boys blasting the Inners DH track and a bit of play time for myself aboard the Morewood it was time to catch up with Nick from The Bike Lodge and Andy from GoWhere for a Chinese buffet and a few bottles of Stella.
Friday morning and snapper Andy McCandlish and I hit the local bakery before meeting up with Hotlines’ Pete ‘Jesus’ Scullion, Chris Hutchens and Bike Lodge Nic for a tour of some of the area’s lesser-known gems. Again, you’ll have to wait for the full feature but I’ll just say that I’ve never experienced such a diverse range of riding in one relatively small area.
Limbs aching it was gone seven by the time we finished up and I was in no shape for another six hours in the van so I rang my mate Angry Gav in Edinburgh and headed through for a few beers and too much Embarrassing Bodies.
If you haven’t already booked a weekend’s riding in the Tweed Valley I’d get on one of the above links now and get her sorted. You won’t regret it… Features to follow.
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