Bike: 7stanes Innerleithen
|[A rare break in the climbing at Taniel Hill on the red route]|
Innerleithen is just around the corner from arguably the mountain biking centre of Scotland at Glentress, but the local trails right here are notably quieter and measure up well against their famous neighbour's. It's not a place for beginners though: this 7stanes location is best-known for its downhill courses. There are 4 to choose from, ranging from near-black to very black with dedicated push-up paths. The only other (and easiest) trail is an 19 km red cross country route, arguably at the tough end of its grading due to an almost constant ascent of over 400 metres vertical. We loved the fast downhills which dominate the second half of the circuit, but watch out for the black-graded features peppering the descent at Cadon Bank.
|[Optional steep section with bypass path on the red route]|
📌 7stanes Innerleithen ★★★☆☆
Location: B709 just south of Innerleithen, G.R.: NT 336358 ///stretcher.belonged.ranked
Cost: Free (but with parking charge)
Routes: ⬤ 19 km ⬤ variants only ⬤ downhill trails. Map here.
Terrain: see website
Bike hire: Alpine Bikes in Innerleithen, about half a mile from the trailhead.
Weather today: Sunny intervals developing after morning rain, trails wet in places.
|[Good views into the Borders Hills from higher parts of the red route]|
The 7stanes are the gold standard in Scotland (and UK) mountain biking centres, dotted across southern Scotland. Between them they offer world-class trails with difficulties ranging from the benign to the bananas. They're so-called due to seven sculptured stanes (or stones), one located at each of the centres (except Innerleithen, often considered a sister site to nearby Glentress):
>> Ae ★★★★☆
>> Dalbeattie ★★★★☆
>> Glentress ★★★★★
>> Innerleithen ★★★☆☆
If you're at all curious about mountain biking, put the 7stanes at the very top of your list.
|[The Stell Burn Climb is merely the start of the gruelling ascent to Minch Moor on the red route]|