Mountain Biking Dumfries
Dumfries in the sunshine
It seemed like a good idea at the time to book a weekend to Dumfries at the end of March; there was a chance that it might be dry or there was a chance that there could be snow but either way there would be plenty of options for riding the 7 Stanes trails.
What we couldn’t have expected was the spring/summer conditions that were delivered for the weekend and turned a good weekend into a great one. Twelve happy souls made their way to bonny Scotland with 10 of us at the very good Huntingdon House Hotel, and Alan and Heather braving it in the campervan at the Red Squirrel campsite. The roll call for the rest of the team was Andy, Karen, Neil, Kathryn, Dr John, Kate, Neil, Jenny, Steven and I. Friday night kicked off in the Caven Arms with cracking beer, good pub grub and complimentary onion rings – what’s not to like?! Some of us retired early while others made a later night, made even later when a return trip was required to fetch Neil’s wallet…..
On Saturday we headed to Drumlanrig as most of us had not ridden here and it had been a while for those that had. Drumlanrig Castle is a great setting and the warm weather had done a good job of drying out the trials pretty well – which is good as there are lots of tree roots for that more natural ride. Even better the bike shop had opened early and the owner, Rik, set us off on our way. Just as well the shop was open as Jenny was back there pretty quickly with a broken freehub. As Kathryn and Kate had gone off riding on their own and Heather was walking, our group of 9 quickly became 7 as Neil stayed with Jenny to make sure she got sorted. We hit the trial again taking in the black route that meant Neil G dropped off onto the red as he didn’t want to risk hurting his shoulder. The trails were great fun and we 6 made it back later in the day with only a few scratches. Back at the car park, we all eventually re-grouped as Jenny had taken a hire bike out while Rik fixed hers with Neil the last one back having done an extra loop. We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the sun, drinking tea and eating banana loaf and flapjack courtesy of Heather and Kathryn. The only remaining excitement was when 2 guys came round and asked if anyone had dropped a phone on the trail and it turned out the be Neil’s……there’s a bit of a pattern here!
Saturday night saw us taking in the local curry house which was very good – the teeny complaint being that the only drink they appeared to serve was Cobra – coca cobra, cobra lassie, cobra coffee, etc. (Sorry – you had to be there).
Sunday’s destination was Dalbeattie and a complete contrast to Drumlanrig with the rock slabs that presented varying levels of challenge. A few more scrapes were added to the collection as Neil G fell on his backside taking a sensible walk down one section, Dr John and Neil both fell off the side of the trail, Andy had an argument with the landscape and Karen handstanded into the bushes – laughing all the way! Steven abandoned his bike at the bottom of the big slab as it was very slippy and bruised his ‘front bumper’ or belly – ouch! I am pleased to say that there was nothing worse than some broken skin and we arrived back at the car park to enjoy more snacks that were joined by Jenny’s ginger biscuits.
As the day was so lovely a trip to Kippford was recommended for shandies and a stroll along to the aptly named shell beach; beautiful. A fitting end to a grand weekend. Thank you to all for playing