Tearing down the side of a mountain, getting covered in mud and peddling faster than you think your legs should naturally go might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but at Rockinvans we don’t like to recommend anywhere without test driving it for ourselves. So, with that philosophy in mind, on a sunny Saturday at the end of March, Frazer, myself and our adrenalin loving friend Colin headed to Glen Tress, one of the 7 Staines mountain biking resorts.
Glen Tress is located just over an hour away from Glasgow near the picturesque village of Peebles. There are 2 routes to get there: either by heading East on the M8 or along the more scenic country route.
On arrival we picked up our hire bikes from the on-site bike shop and began to plan our routes for the day. At the 7 Staines resorts the different tracks are marked up in a similar system to that found at any ski resort: Green tracks for the beginner, moving up to blue, red or black for the expert. Being our first time on the mountain we thought we’d give the blue track a go to test the waters (the Rockinvans team don’t do green) before tackling the red run head first.
As much as the idea of cycling up hill for an hour and a half filled us all with dread, I have to report hat the reality was much more pleasant than expected. The different tracks wind their way along, providing a scenic but challenging ascent. The team all quite enjoyed this part and time seemed to fly by, although our thighs let us all know about the next day! We faced a small detour at the top due to recently fallen trees, but that didn’t detract from the beautiful and exhilarating 35-minute descent. With banked corners, tabletop jumps, drop offs, balance beams, this route had it all. The adrenaline was flowing: “I feel alive” was the cheesy mantra of the day courtesy of Colin.
After an amazing lunch in the purpose built café at the foot of the hill we tentatively ventured back up for a shot at the mighty red run. The most difficult of all the runs takes you right to the very top of the mountain, which was worth it for the view alone. Forty-five minutes later we were safely back at the base station, covered in mud, knackered but having had a truly brilliant day.
We hired bikes from the Alpine shop at the base station for £20 for the day. The bikes were hard tails and brand new.
For anyone looking to take a Rockinvan, the guys in the bike shop told us that the best place to camp over night is up at the buzzard nest car park. This car park is about a 5 minute drive half way up, there are portable toilets up there and we’re told this is the area to be if you’d like a little privacy.