With a range of high-spec trail centres plus an almost infinite number of natural trails, Scotland is a major destination on the world mountain biking stage. And here in Peebles, we’re lucky to live, work and play in one of the biggest mountain biking hotspots of all … an area that looks set to only get hotter for those with a love of hurtling around on two wheels.
Just take a look at all the mountain biking events that take place locally. This coming weekend (19-20 Aug) sees the 2017 Whyte Endura Scottish Open Champs, which is due to finish off this year’s TweedLove season in style. Featuring a full complement of 500 riders, the event has become something of a UK enduro classic, with pro athletes mixing it up with mere mortals to be crowned King and Queen of the Hill.
A wonderfully inclusive discipline in mountain biking, enduro is essentially a stage-race format where riders transfer – often riding together with buddies – between a series of timed downhill sections. Although the big riders are very much in it to win it, enduro is a fun, friendly and hugely sociable way of racing bikes.
This year’s Scottish Open Champs sees a new event base just down the road in Innerleithen, with race stages on both the Caberston and Traquair sides of the valley. And for those who have already competed in two other events earlier in the year as part of the TweedLove Triple Crown Enduro, it’s a chance to score some serious bragging rights. The fact that the rather brilliant Innerleithen Music Festival is also on this weekend is even more of a bonus for spectators and riders alike.
For visiting riders, the event offers a chance to sample just a small part of the vast network of trails found locally – a network that continues to grow and grow. While ‘unofficial’ trails continue to be created high in the forests all around, our two local trail centres at Innerleithen and Glentress are also set for an upgrade.
As part of a multi-million pound plan to upgrade facilities at Glentress, Forest Enterprise Scotland recently revealed that more than £1 million will be spent on around 16km of new trails, including a larger skills area, a range of taster trails, additional descents linking existing trails, plus Enduro-style sections. Meanwhile, headed by a new Tweed Valley Mountain Biking Development Coordinator, consultations are taking place on how best to develop the trails at Innerleithen. Exciting times!
If you haven’t yet tried mountain biking, and are not sure what all the fuss is about, then you really need to give it a shot. And there’s certainly no better place to come than right here in the Tweed Valley – an area widely regarded as Scotland’s premier mountain biking destination.
Photography: Ian Linton
This year’s Whyte Endura Scottish Open Champs takes place on 19-20 August, with an event base in nearby Innerleithen. If not competing, head along to some of the many viewing points for a taste of the action. For much more on the event, plus the huge range of trails to be enjoyed locally, check out this race video from last year, https://vimeo.com/180707134