Pentlands – give me your best descents

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  • Pentlands – give me your best descents
  • epicsteve
    Member

    Black Hill is probably the best descent in the Pentlands, although it'll be a little soft at the moment.

    The track running down to Thriepmuir from the gate west of Hare Hill is also pretty good.

    Current favourite is off the top of Allermuir towards the golf course, then climbing back up slightly to descend down towards the Dreghorn lay-by (via the big flat tank tracks)

    There's another scalextric off the top of Cape Law towards Phantom's Cleugh, with an optional plummet straight off the side.

    I've found a few new trails that could link together very pleasantly starting behind Caerkton (excuse the spelling, the one behind hillend) and wrapping round to the foot of Hillend.

    Cue the nay-sayers…

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    The trick to the Pentlands is the right choice of bike. On a 5-6" travel full sus you're right, they're dull (but convenient for an after work blast should you happen to live in S.Edinburgh).
    Do it on a short travel race HT or, better still, on a CX bike and it's much more fun! 🙂

    Kit
    Member

    I was appalled at the state of Black Hill when I was up there recently, so will probably avoid it from now on. The descent from the gate to Threipmuir is nice, but usually a climb for me.

    Have done the Cape Law to Phantom's descent straight off the hill which was fun. Been up Allermuir once, can't be arsed with the hike-a-bike generally but might give that a shot soon. Don't really know any of the stuff at that end of the Pentlands.

    And thanks for the advice from a non-local, James!

    Kit
    Member

    A few folk on here were recently extolling the virtues of the Pentlands. Having ridden them for 4 years now, I'm pretty sure I've ridden all the best stuff (such as it is).

    So tell me about the descents you know and love, and I'll see whether there's anything new in there for me.

    Some starters:
    Nine Mile Burn descent from Cap Law
    Poet's Glen
    Track from below East & West Kips to Green Cleugh
    Scalectrix and down to entrance of Bonaly Scout Camp

    epicsteve
    Member

    I live in Balerno so haven't really explored the east end of the Pentlands either.

    I've not been up Black Hill for at least a year but will continue to avoid it if it's chewed up at the moment.

    On that note Kit, i've been having a lot more 'fun' in the Pentlands now that i've started aiming for the nasty climbs.

    The Allermuir climb was my first scalp, and the bug has now bitten.

    One of the classic Pentlands descents runs off the side of Allermuir, won't bother trying to identify it as its quite a skinny one, but the area is well worth an explore (8 years riding in the Pentlands, and most of the new stuff i'm finding at the moment is on the Allermuir ridge, lots of sheep tracks and traverses)

    I'm always up for meeting new riders b.t.w, all my mates are now glentress regulars, anyone fancy a stealth Pentlands ride some evening?

    Kunstler
    Member

    Black Hill was dry and dusty last Thursday night (apart from the always boggy bit). Things were a bit soggier on Monday so I gave it a miss. I hope it'll dry out again soon.

    I came down into Edinburgh by the path from Easter Kinleith to Torphin – great views across the city from there. I narrowly managed to avoid a large, stray cow across the track half way down. It nearly got tipped.
    Haven't down the Capelaw descent for years but I always loved the city views at dusk when coming back that way.

    erm.. waht's 'scalectrix'?

    Someone (may have been Druidh on here) coined the term for the cart track descent off harbour hill, because there are two very obvious parallel lines all the way down.

    I just used it for the capelaw descent to phantom's as its pretty similar.

    Easter Kinleith to Torphin is a beauty, big natural rhythm section all the way down. When you hit tarmac there's a sneaky left hander which is really overgrown at the moment, but is good fun, takes you down to the lower road, just above the water of leith.

    waveydavey
    Member

    I have only been riding the Pentlands for a year now, and you guys have opened my eyes to what's really there.

    To concur Black Hill was good last week when it was all dry, but I suspect it's a slog now. And Easter Kinlieth to Torphin is great both down and up.
    Haven't even been over Allermuir yet, I must give it a go.

    Yeah, what is scalectrix?

    Kit
    Member

    Easter Kinleith to Torphin is a beauty…

    It used to be, but for the last couple of years its been badly cut up and now seems to be permanently muddy. When it was just a fast grassy descent it was excellent. The singletrack down to the WOL though is still ace 😀

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    And thanks for the advice from a non-local, James!

    You're welcome. I'm still right though. 😉 And I've ridden there more than enough to know the trails and have an opinion on them!

    cynic-al
    Member

    Allermuir ridge down to the ski slope then left to Swanston

    balfa
    Member

    Current favourite is off the top of Allermuir towards the golf course, then climbing back up slightly to descend down towards the Dreghorn lay-by (via the big flat tank tracks)

    Yeah definitely the pick of the bunch for me. Not sure what you mean by the big flat tank tracks though. I normaly head into long plantation and then out to the dreghorn bypass junction. Shouldn't miss out the singletrack along the side of the barracks though.

    I quite like the latter parts of the descent from Fala Knowe round to the west of the rifle range. Bit wet most of time in the upper parts but the lower bit is super skinny singletrack with exposure. Be sure to follow the contour of the hill after the metal plate thing for even skinnier singletrack. Not for the fainthearted!

    This one looks to have huge potential (the trail running north) but i don't know anyone who's tried it. One for a dry weekend…

    http://maps.google.co.uk/?ie=UTF8&ll=55.819473,-3.391975&spn=0.001709,0.004125&t=h&z=18

    balfa, i like the trails in the long plantation, the flat tank tracks i was talking about are to the left hand side of the plantation if you're looking downhill. basically big flat landy tracks i think, lead to the same junction.

    I think you may be talking about sticking to the wide gravelly track which sits above the golf course, the descent i'm talking about starts on the knoll above that gravel track, and traverses the hill directly above the plantation, back towards allermuir.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    I think most of my favourite riding in the pentlands is in bonaly woods… Short fun descent on the left (looking down), wood-and-log stairs and roots just on the other side of the burn, DH tracks up above that, lots of less interesting options bouncing down through the woods. Well worth spending the time exploring this patch I reckon, I guarantee I've not found everything there is yet.

    Kit
    Member

    Allermuir ridge down to the ski slope then left to Swanston

    i.e. head down straight off Caerketton to the fort? That's pretty steep isn't it?

    Try going off the flotterstone side of Caerketton a little, then contouring round the hill, brings you out just beneath the fort, no daft steppy bits required! there's also a left turn just before Caerketton that takes you down to the top of the ski slope, its nice and skinny + gravelly.

    There's some beautiful trail at the foot of the Caerketton crags (above the scree) but there's some serious rocky trialsy stuff at either end to be negotiated, not really worth the effort.

    AlasdairMc
    Member

    There's a nice swoopy descent that gets really tight coming SW off Castlelaw down a landy track (not on map) and that finishes up just before the rifle range. It's probably a bit boggy at the moment at the top, but it's great fun if it's dry.

    The top of the Cauldstane Slap going North is quite fun until it turns into hike a bike, and I reckon going South on it to West Linton would be good too as it's a lovely climb.

    ijs445ra
    Member

    13thfloormonk – I would be up for a Pentlands ride one evening, i am normally out Tuesdays and Thursdays (and yet still unfit).

    e-mail in profile.

    Cheers

    AlasdairMc
    Member

    Me too, but I'm only on an SS at the moment as I'm awaiting delivery of a rotor for my other bike.

    I'm based in Balerno.

    Post something up on mtbscotland.net if you're looking for Edinburgh folk to ride with.

    waveydavey
    Member

    I'll be up for a Pentland ride too, email in profile.
    Most evenings suit.

    Kit
    Member

    I'm out tonight 😀

    Would be good to meet some other Edinburgh riders, my email is kitcarruthers at hotmail.com

    Kit/ijs I'll mail you.

    Waveydavey, can't see your email in profile?

    I was half planning a ride from the co-op at 7 (meeting a mate who finishes work at 7)

    waveydavey
    Member

    oops, it should be there now.

    Can't make this evening though, poo.

    epicsteve
    Member

    I'll be up there at some point tonight as well – not sure when and where though. I'll either be on a black Epic or, more likely, a grey Cotic Soul.

    Hmm…. my plans are looking decidedly ropey now.

    epicsteve did i see you and company at the foot of the red road (dreghorn end) last night?

    I was on a white charge wearing a very bright Kona top, almost fell off into a deep puddle in front of you?

    epicsteve
    Member

    epicsteve did i see you and company at the foot of the red road (dreghorn end) last night?

    I was on a white charge wearing a very bright Kona top, almost fell off into a deep puddle in front of you?

    Wouldn't have been us. We stayed in the area around Thriepmuir and Harlaw, and the only person I saw falling off or close to falling off last night was my son – several times. Got most of them on film as well.

    There seemed to be quite a few other groups up there last night – we maybe saw 4 or 5.

    epicsteve
    Member

    Post something up on mtbscotland.net if you're looking for Edinburgh folk to ride with.

    The mtbscotland folks organise quite a few rides however I think it's fairly rare for them to ride up in the Pentlands nowadays.

    ijs445ra
    Member

    I would be struggling to make 7 tonight as i do not have a bike at work.

    How about Pentlands one evening early next week?

    Lastly, me and one or two others are planning on Innerleithen, 11am on Friday if anyone is interested.

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    My favourite is from the top of the dreghorn climb (between allermuir hill and capelaw hill) to descend south to glencorse across the western face of castlelaw.

    cynic-al
    Member

    Kit – Member

    i.e. head down straight off Caerketton to the fort? That's pretty steep isn't it?

    I don't know the names but all the way along the ridge and down the end, yes pretty steep and rutted, don't recall a fort though, you hang left at the top of the ski slope.

    Premier Icon kennyp
    Subscriber

    Black Hill is great, but only when it's dry, or frozen.

    There's a lovely run from the foot of West Kip down to Green Cleugh. Gets nice and rocky near the bottom.

    There's some man-made (okay, yoof-made) stuff in the woods on White Hill. Some of it's too technical for me. Outside the same woods there are some great, very steep, grassy descents to just behind the scout camp.

    There are various descents off Capelaw.

    There's a nice descent goes round Castlelaw, leaving the main track at the cattle grid.

    There's a huge piece oh singletrack we call the Nail Trail that goes from near Red Moss down to the middle of Balerno. The gradient is very gentle (you have to pedal the whole way) but it's very tight and twisty through the trees and goes on for ever.

    There's a good wee descent off the top of Bells Hill.

    Loads more stuff too. We should have a big STW ride up there one evening sometime, say early September.

    epicsteve
    Member

    There's a huge piece oh singletrack we call the Nail Trail that goes from near Red Moss down to the middle of Balerno. The gradient is very gentle (you have to pedal the whole way) but it's very tight and twisty through the trees and goes on for ever.

    Haven't ridden that for ages – how overgrown is it at the moment?

    There's a good wee descent off the top of Bells Hill.

    Which way? Down to Maidens Cleugh or to the west towards Black Springs?

    Just back in from a quick spin in the Pentlands this evening – it's quite muddy in places at the moment. The singletrack east of the track from the Maidens Cleugh path to the top of the Currie road was particularily so.

    AlasdairMc
    Member

    kennyp – the Nail Trail is pretty boggy at the moment up the top section, however you can extend it by riding parallel to the road heading W from the startpoint as there's some singletrack all the way through the forest, then taking a right and following another tree line. This option is drier as it is used less, but has a few fences that breaks it up unfortunately. It's not as flowy but makes for an alternative.

    I measured it as a mile long, it rejoins the main trail just at the footbridge.

    epicsteve – I think it's just through lack of anyone organising anything, or there being better alternatives. You might know TargetP (aka Nick) who I believe does a weekly ride from Balerno but I can't rememver the day.

    epicsteve
    Member

    kennyp – the Nail Trail is pretty boggy at the moment up the top section, however you can extend it by riding parallel to the road heading W from the startpoint as there's some singletrack all the way through the forest, then taking a right and following another tree line. This option is drier as it is used less, but has a few fences that breaks it up unfortunately. It's not as flowy but makes for an alternative.

    I like that way – the initial singletrack beside the road is flowing then there are some trickier, rooty bits later on. Closer to Balerno there are some more flowing & faster bits again. I've never actually met anyone else riding in there (just the odd dog-walker etc) except when I was taking mtbscotland rides through there – and even then perhaps only 2 or 3 times.

    Might go up there tomorrow morning.

    Premier Icon kennyp
    Subscriber

    The last time I rode the Nail Trail was about 4 weeks ago. It was overgrown but still rideable. Definitely boggy in places but still good fun. I don't actually ride it that often because it drops you out in the middle of Balerno, but it is my favourite piece of Pentlands night riding come the autumn. We sometimes end up there before dropping down into Balerno, then climbing up on the track behind the rugby club where eventuallly you come to a gap in the wall that has a cracking, quite steep and bumpy, drop down to the Water of Leith path.

    As for Bells Hill, if you come up from Harlaw towards Maidens Cleuch, turn right and you can ride up the path at the side of Bells Hill. On the other side are a variety of sheep tracks leading down the other side, though it's best staying high and left. Eventually it brings you round to the tarmac road leading up from Flotterstone.

    I owe some of my happiest riding moments to that Balerno trail, i think i've got my bike set up just perfect to really whip through the corners and bounce over the roots.

    I only ride it in the driest of conditions though, i think its just too good to tear up in the wet, it was only a couple of years ago that the top section was nice loamy soil without any ruts or bogs. Would love to fill in that slurry pit at the bottom though…

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