Coming Spring 2022....
and so forth
Linking the 7stanes
Discover the amazing landscapes between the infamous 7stanes trail network and enjoy tales from the trails as author Clive Forth looks back on 30 years of riding, racing, and working in the mountain bike industry.
The route takes in singletracks, gravel roads, drovers tracks, and quiet country lanes, from the Galloway Hills in the southwest of Scotland passing the Southern Uplands, Moffat Hills, Eskdale, Ettrick, and on up into the Tweed Valley.
The 7stanes trail network has become a popular destination for many riders, project development started back in the early '00s and the final trail at Ae Forest was completed and signed off in July 2005. Since their opening, the trails have seen various upgrades and additions, the trails you find on the ground now have been established for some time.
A few years after the Ae Line trail was opened a relay race appeared on the 7stanes scene, the concept was pretty simple, one rider would complete a lap of the RED grade trail, and another would ride the road section in between, the aim was to complete the 490km course in under 24 hours. Fast forward a few years and in 2009 mountain bike Endurance legend Rob Lee would complete the challenge solo, riding all of the RED trails and the road section in between in sub 24 hours.
I grew up with Rob and introduced him to riding back in the early '90s, I was part of that support crew who planned the logistics and adapted the route to better suit the solo effort, basically, we ended up taking a longer route between Dalbeattie and Kirroughtree to avoid the busy A75 trunk road. Even with this addition Rob still managed to set another high bar in the sport and one that has not been matched to date. Since then I have spent many days riding spots in between the 7stanes trails, in the summer of 2019 whilst out in the hills I found myself reflecting on that day and it dawned on me that with all the knowledge of the area I had gained over the years of living here I could probably put together a route consisting of mostly off-road sections, and ones that are actually enjoyable to ride with no silly hike-the-bike or bog slogging. Inspired by Rob's ride I set about piecing together a definitive, user-friendly way to bike pack through southern Scotland taking in all of the 7stanes.