September has been a great month for cycling in Dumfries and Galloway. So much to do: The Tour of Britain; Mountain Biking…..and “The Slab” (but more of that later).
The Tour of Britain has certainly caught the imagination, with loads of events in the run up to what I think is the eighth time the race has been in our region. I had a great time going round some beautiful countryside looking for the perfect vantage point for the perfect shot for the perfect photo for the blog. And then before you could say “Take the lens cap off dummy!” they were past.
These guys cycle reeeally fast!! I did however get some very interesting shots of the entourage behind them.
What the region has really become famous for though is Mountain biking and it is rapidly becoming something of a Mecca for the sport.
Some years ago the Forestry commission started to develop their forests to encourage more use with some amazing wildlife, A Dark Sky park (which we will visit in a future blog) and by developing what is now a world famous series of Mountain Bike trails called “The 7 Stanes”, one of which is 10 minutes from our front door,which give cyclists of all abilities a beautiful and safe environment to enjoy their sport in an area of outstanding beauty.
Now I am fairly new to mountain biking so when I went to the Dalbeattie 7Stanes trail the other day I picked the “Easy” route, although I venture to suggest the planners were using a different dictionary from mine when they called it “easy”. I felt it prudent to avoid trails with names like “The Terrible Twins” “Spooky Wood” and “The Slab” (but more of that later).
It was however absolutely beautiful. Early on a crisp Scottish autumn morning, I had the entire forest to myself. The trees were covered with dew-laden cobwebs which looked like Christmas decorations
and the Rowan trees were absolutely full of berries which my wife says is a sure sign that we are going to have a “hard” winter or a “mild” one! And she is invariably correct!!
The “Easy” trail is mostly on forest roads, about 11 km long and for a couple of hours, with zero mobile phone signal in absolute solitude, it was just a lovely way to spend a morning.
Oh, did I mention “The Slab”?
Well “The Slab” is a rockface of sheer granite which is in fact not on the “Easy” trail.
Just go on to “You Tube”, type in “The Slab Dalbeattie”, and have fun.
Some people manage it really well and others……not so much!
Will I do the Slab one day….Possibly. You will know when that is because the month before will be the blog of how Hell has just frozen over!
I will however be delighted to offer a bottle of champagne to the first of our guests who posts a video on “You Tube” of them doing “The Slab”.
Next month……Its Rutting Time.