Scotland boasts some of the most beautiful cycle routes in Europe, for fans of the road or the mountain. From woodland trails to roads carved through glens, you are never far from a world-class bike ride.
Lying south of the central belt are the “7 Stanes” routes. Comprising routes for all ability levels they are so-called because of the “stanes”, or stone sculptures, you can find on each trail. From beginners to advanced bikers, these award-winning trails will give you a flavour of Scotland’s ever-changing landscape.
Glentress and Innerleithen, The Meteorite Stane
We start our journey with the most northerly locations. The two routes are situated so close together that they are frequently combined. Just an hour outside of Edinburgh, Glentress offers a range of routes for all levels; while Innerleithen is suited to more advanced cyclists.
Check out the Meteorite stane, with its peculiar design and Klingon carvings offering an otherworldly feel.
Newcastleton, The Border Stane
Moving directly south, we find Newcastleton. This trail is thought to be the quietest of them all, with many describing it as the “best-kept secret”. Situated in the south-east, Newcastleton combines a blue trail suited to all riders and a red trail for the thrill-seekers.
The Border stane is carved with the lyrics for Auld Lang Syne on the north side and Jerusalem on the England-facing south side.
Forest of Ae, Talking Head Stone
Moving inland, next on the route is the Forest of Ae. Situated just outside Dumfries, Ae hosts a range of trails. From family-friendly routes to an extreme downhill trail, Ae also has an area for those looking to hone their skills away from the trails.
The massive Talking Head stane weighs in at well over a tonne and is carved with a face looking over the village of Ae and the Solway.
Mabie Forest, The Ghost Stane
Following the compass south, we find Mabie Forest. Fairly close to Ae, Mabie offers a similar range of routes catering for beginners through to more advanced bikers.
Snaking through vast woods, Mabie makes for a perfect spot to stop and check out some wildlife. With the woodlands and the edge of a Loch closeby, keep an eye out for badgers, red squirrels and ospreys.
The Ghost stane is a white marble sculpture of a ghostlike Summer dress. Appearing to stand by itself, the dress is engraved with a local lace pattern design.
Dalbeattie, The Heart Cleft Stane
The most southerly trail on the route, Dalbeattie offers a more relaxed feel. With slower trails perfect for sightseeing, the height gives a prime spot to take in the sprawling coastal scenery.
The Heart Cleft stane is a massive granite sculpture from the local quarry. Dalbeattie was once the primary production point for granite and the engraving highlights the global reach the region once had.
Kirroughtree, The Gem Stane
Heading west, we next stumble upon Kirroughtree with a range of trails and a singletrack route for the pros among us. Boasting a “Dark Sky” park, Kirroughtree makes for one of the darkest spots in Scotland (and Europe).
Spend a night under some of the most prominent starlight you are likely to find in the country.
With this trail being regarded as the “hidden gem”, this stane was designed to represent the reputation Kirroughtree holds amongst riders.
Glentrool, The Giant Axe Head Stane
We finish up with Glentrool, the most westerly point on the route. Not only boasting a range of mountain biking trails, this attraction also includes a lengthy forest road biking route. Beautiful woods and incredible scenery around Loch Dee are always on the cards.
The Giant Axe Head stane is emblematic of the area’s stone-age past. The sculpture closely resembles an actual axe of the time and is further engraved in runic text.
Holidaying in a Roseisle campervan allows you the freedom to get out and explore multiple cycling trails across one trip. Break out of the 9-5 routine and take in some beautiful scenery.
Roseisle campervans are designed to be used for cycling trips, with multiple bike racks on many of our vehicles. If you have your own bikes simply attach them, pack your supplies and hit the road!
Be sure to tag Roseisle in any pictures you manage to take of the famous stanes!
*your ability to safely carry out the ideas in this article may change with developing Government advice in your country and those you plan to visit. Stay safe and visit gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19 for the latest guidance in Scotland or gov.uk/coronavirus for the latest guidance in England.
You can also keep up to date with specific trail openings here
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