Bike: Drumlanrig

[Good views from the western reaches of Copy Cat]

One of the less-known strings to Drumlanrig Castle's bow is that one of the castle blacksmiths may have invented the pedal cycle, though history is a little murky on the matter. Assuming there's truth in the tale, it's fitting that the estate now has an excellent, well-developed network of cycling and mountain biking trails fanning out in all directions from the castle. They're a worthy rival to the better-known, pace-setting 7stanes mountain biking centres elsewhere in the region. The green-graded routes often follow tarmac lanes, while the Copy Cat blue tends to keep to forest tracks. That leaves most of the exciting single track for the undulating Old School red (plenty of roots, but not too hilly) and much steeper Magic Eight Ball black routes. You can hire bikes by the hour at Rik's Bike Shed; Rik's apparently been here since he was on stabilisers - well, nearly - and can offer useful advice on which trails to tackle (he built them!).

[Singletrack approach to Farthingbank Loch on The Old School]

Name: Drumlanrig ★★★☆☆
Location: Drumlanrig Castle, off minor road a mile north-west of Carronbridge, G.R.: NX 851993 ///topping.flap.positives
Open (2017): Daily, April to October, plus some winter dates
Cost (2017): You need a ticket for the castle grounds: £6 (adults), £3.50 (children)

Routes:  3+13+5+9 km 9 km 15 km 8 km. Map here.
Terrain: see website
Bike hire: Rik's Bike Shed on site (stables area)
Weather today: Cloudy, some bright spells, temperature in mid teens.

[Coldstream Loch on The Three Lochs trail]

[Into the woods on The Old School]

[Farthingbank Loop on The Old School]

[Descent through Carse Wood on The Old School]

[The green, blue & red routes all finish with the entrance drive - not bad for a grand finale!]

[A replica of the world's first pedal cycle, on display in the visitor centre]

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