Singletrack Issue 114 GPX File

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Ulster Says Yes!

Ian from Rock and Ride Outdoors shows us round his home trails in Northern Ireland.

Words Ian Bailey Photography Caolan Hawkins

Loosely tracking a section of the Ulster Way, this classic ride skirts the foothills of the Mourne Mountains while linking sections of sumptuous forest singletrack. All done in the shadow of Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland’s highest peak.

Summer can be a bit of an abstract concept up here in Northern Ireland, a land not exactly renowned for its temperate climate. All we know is that at some unspecified point between March and October the slop will temporarily subside and for a fleeting moment we’ll smell dust in our nostrils and hear the buzz of tyres on dry roots. Those joyous occasions remind us that we have way more than our share of top-class trails, handily compressed into a tiny geographical area, particularly in the locality of the Mourne Mountains, County Down. Inevitably, mountain biking has flourished here, despite the weather, with several local trail centres developed and a plethora of hidden woodland trails tended by a dedicated selection of local builders.

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