by Ben Haworth
Trail Guide by Michael W Smith…
Where to begin? Kirrougtree keeps coming up in forum posts as a must do in the 7 Stanes trail developments. Situated in the depths of the Galloway forest park it can seem like 30 mins too far from the rest of the riding but don’t let the extra distance put you off, this is one of the best around. The only thing you will want to do after your first visit is to come back.
The trail builders here have put a bit of everything into the trails and are not content with it, there plan seems to be to eradicate the dreaded fireroad, if they get their way the whole of the trail will be singletrack.
As you would expect with a Stanes trail centre there is a bit of everything starting with a mainly fireraod & quiet tarmac Family Friendly Green (6km), a more interesting but straightforward blue (10km) with a 4km extension moving on from these starter loops is the Red and Black.
The Red and Black form a figure of 8 loop with the red forming the first & last quarters of the black loop (Red 17km, Black & Red 31km). The Red is great value a bit stiffer than some of its 7 Stanes colleagues with plenty of fun to be had the sequence of Nutcracker, White Witch & Rivendell should give you enough fun to get all the way back up the hills you just dropped down. The red returns from there with a combination of tough climbs and flowing singletrack all the way back to the car park collecting the flowing blue to finish.
For those wanting the whole challenge the Black departs from here with a bit of a slog along the fireroad (Unless the trail fairies have been back in the meantime). From here the trail throws you into technical climbs rocky runs and sublime (if pedally) singletrack to the trails iconic feature McMoab. A giant lump of exposed granite with a creative pathway routed through it using little blue arrows. This will test all your balancing trials tricks and wonder if the grip will ever give in (The answer may be no). Play here as much as you like but remember there is still a lot of trail left to ride
Leaving McMoab there is a short sharp lungbuster of a climb to dispatch before one of the longest section of singletrack going all the way down to the road. Just a few more sections left including “Hissing Sid” with a great collection of technical rocky corners to test all comers before rejoining the Red to complete the ride.
The Black is one of the tougher of the 7 Stanes trails packing a punch and with all that singletrack it feels a bit further than the 31km on the trail map – make sure you have plenty of food, fitness and spares if you are heading out there.
Food – The on-site Cafe is aimed at casual forest ramblers but will hapily sell muddy bikers huge teas with great cakes. There is some hot food available at reasonable prices. Opening hours are seasonal so check the 7 Stanes website for further details.
Parking – One of those big 7 Stanes car parks with enough space for vans too. There is no overnight parking.
Parking Charges are around £2-4 /day
Concise directions From Dumfries Follow the A75 towards Newton Stewart about 2 miles before you get there at Palnure turn right (signposted Forest Vistiors Centre) and follow signs.
Postcode for Sat Navs DG8 7BE