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  • Trail Centres Near Aberdeen/ Dundee?
  • Premier Icon andykirk
    Free Member

    Hello
    Looking to organise a day out with some pals and wondering where the best place to go is? We don’t do black runs, but we do do reds and on-site coffee shops… Probably within an hours drive of Aberdeen in any direction. My knowledge of this part of the country is poor.

    Premier Icon mikejd
    Full Member

    Don’t think you’ll find trail centre riding within an hour of Aberdeen. Nearest probably Fochabers (Moray Monster trails) or Glenlivet. Fochabers no on-site coffee, and I think the Glenlivet cafe closed.

    Premier Icon dougie80
    Free Member

    There aren’t any trail centres, at least none with facilities. In the Aberdeen area there is Kirkhill Forest off the A96 just after the new interchange for the bypass as you head to Inverurie. There are also some trails around Countesswells/Kingshill Forest which is just south of Kingswells off the A944.
    Further out is Scolty at Banchory, there are a few cafes on the main street for post ride socialising. After that it’s out to Aboyne/Glen Tanar and then Ballater. It’s all natural riding rather than trail centre type stuff so Trail Forks is your best bet to find the trails. The nearest trail centre I think is Glenlivet which is a trip over the Lecht from Deeside.

    Premier Icon Mat
    Full Member

    There’s nothing that really fits the bill, that’s what these guys are trying to sort out Gravitate. I’d go to Ballater, maybe a touch over an hour. Quite a few nice coffee shops and lots of nice trails in the surrounding hills. Pop in to Cycle Highlands, I’m sure they’d sort you out with some route advice (or look out Heartbreak Ridge/Green Mile/Mastermind).

    Premier Icon clubby
    Full Member

    Ballater area definitely best bet. Nice trails around Burn o’vat as well. Not waymarked but easy to navigate.
    Cycle Highlands great for advice.

    Premier Icon Mat
    Full Member

    Love riding round Burn o’Vat, never like to flag it up though, definately one for rule one (don’t be a d***), there’s a certain trail there that’s very popular with families so riding it fast with poor visibility is not a good idea. You never know if there’s going to be kids running along the trail round the next bush/corner.

    Premier Icon cultsdave
    Free Member

    Have a look on trail forks round the Ballater area. Loads of riding to do and plenty coffee shops too. Heartbreak Ridge is a must do there is only one short hard section that is easy walked down.

    Premier Icon andykirk
    Free Member

    Thanks guys, we will give Ballater a shot! And do the 3 recommended trails. I can find Heartbreak Ridge – are the others close?

    Premier Icon Mat
    Full Member

    Yeah green mile is just to the west of Ballater (Coyles of Muick). Mastermind runs off Creagan Riabhach North East of Ballater. All sort of comparable distance loops out of Ballater.

    Premier Icon doricloon
    Free Member

    Fit like loon.
    Pitfichie forest out at Moneymusk has some great trails. About 30mins drive from Aberdeen. Fochabers is brilliant you can spend a day there riding no problem.

    Premier Icon wobbliscott
    Full Member

    +1 for Pitfichie. Some nice trails there.

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Full Member

    Not sure I’d be sending someone who doesn’t do black runs down Heartbreak Ridge or Mastermind 🙂 Ballater is a great option if you want some great natural riding. But if you are looking for trail centre type fun (lots of interesting features but none beyond a certain level of difficulty) then it might not be what you are after. This isn’t a value judgement by the way. Both types of riding are fine in my book. But the OP did say they were looking for trail centre type riding.

    The “problem” with the natural stuff is that it can be miles with nothing remotely technical then a bit that may be beyond you. As someone who also enjoys reds but tends to avoid the blacks, I’ve had lots of days out round here where I’ve ridden for hours and walked the only technical bit. Fine for me as I’m mainly out for the views, but could be frustrating if you are wanting guaranteed riding fun.

    I’d also be a bit careful with Trailforks. It’s a fantastic resource and I use it a lot, but remember that the grading is done by whoever submits it so should be taken with a pinch of salt. There is some “macho grading” on some trails in my experience. Also, getting back to my point about natural trails above, the grade often seems to reflect the average rather than the toughest bit as far as I can tell. Take something like the Green Mile. I think that’s graded blue, which is fair enough as most of it isn’t technical at all. But there are still a couple of steep bits that could catch you out if you are not expecting them.

    I was also going to suggest Pitfichie as an option that’s a bit closer than Ballater and more of a trail centre. It’s a bit old school in the sense that, if you follow the route as it was designed (which hardly anyone does to be fair) then the climb to the triangulation point is at least as technically challenging as the descent from it. But there are a few well marked routes some (often tougher) off piste stuff and the views are great on a nice day.

    If you want trail centre and food then Fochabers is a good choice, although mat take more than an hour, especially if the A96 is busy. There are some nice Cafes, a decent chippy and a great Ice Cream parlour. The Moray Monster trails have received a bit of a makeover recently. The red loop is probably at the tamer end but a nice mix of swoopy fun and some rooty sections with more loose rocky stiff on the blue trais. Even the black is mainly just black because it’s a narrow track on the side of a steep slope. Don’t look down and most of it is fine.

    Glenlivet would have been ideal before the cafe closed and is still fun if you want a red route with short optional black bits and a climb that is a bit more fun the the usual fire road options.

    Bear in mind that these are all the thoughts of a middle aged mincer so may not be what you are after. But I thought it might provide some context to the other advice (which is all good too of course).

    Premier Icon paladin
    Full Member

    Id go for fochabers.
    The blue and black at ordiquish are good fun, and the red at whiteash is also nice (although I rarely use the waymarked climb now and take a more pleasant detour).
    5 minute pedal down to town for chippy or icecream shop, or the cafe at the garden centre.

    Premier Icon joshvegas
    Free Member

    Is the gulley monster still in plce at fochabers?

    That’s a black worth riding and i can barely ride a blue without falling off.

    Premier Icon paladin
    Full Member

    joshvegas

    Member
    Is the gulley monster still in plce at fochabers?

    That’s a black worth riding and i can barely ride a blue without falling off

    yep .

    The trails at ben aigen are closed now tho

    Premier Icon cultsdave
    Free Member

    Not sure I’d be sending someone who doesn’t do black runs down Heartbreak Ridge or Mastermind

    Heartbreak Ridge is our go to loop with the wives in tow and they all love it. My wife loves Red and Blue trails at Glentress but tends to avoid the blacks and she loves HBR so it is fine apart from one short rocky section 3/4 way down.
    It is a great loop with great views and is a must do (in nice weather).

    Premier Icon highlandman
    Free Member

    Drumtochty off trailforks, with café in Auchenblae..?
    Again like most of the above, it’s more old skoool trail, handbuilt and rooty,twisty & mostly loam.

    Premier Icon hairyscary
    Full Member

    If you go to Drumtochty I would recommend the Strawberry Tarts at Castleton Farm shop an cafe.

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