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Glentress Ride Guide: Mountain Biking in Scotland

Guide to Glentress which is the UK’s mountain biking mecca and is home to over 50 miles (80 km) of hand built and natural trails.

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Glentress in Tweed Valley

Glentress is the UK’s mountain biking mecca and is home to over 50 miles (80 km) of hand built and natural mountain biking trails.

If you have a full or half day to spare or even a few hours after work in summer and want to take part in some adventure travel activities to get the adrenaline pumping or just want to enjoy a casual ride with the kids through a beautiful setting then Glentress has something for everyone.

Glentress Mountain Biking Trails in Scotland

Photo by addypope

Getting to Glentress

Situated in the heart of Glentress Forest near the village of Peebles in the Scottish Borders it is only a short 40 minute drive from Edinburgh and 1 hr 15 minutes from Glasgow.

It boasts a huge selection of trails with a variety of different skill levels from the gravel and paved green trails to the expert black graded trails which are not for the fainthearted.

If you have never been mountain biking before then don’t be scared. The Glentress Skills Area is the perfect place to start. It is green graded on a simple, safe and not-too-long loop which allows you to build confidence and practice your riding skills on features that you might encounter on the trails further up. Just tackle what you feel comfortable with!

Been mountain biking before (or just want to watch some crazy people in action)? Then the Glentress Freeride Park is where you want to head. With a variety of features including small, medium and large jumps it gives you a chance to showoff and improve your skills.

Glen tress Mountain Biking in Scotland

There really is something for everyone, which is why you can never get sick of the place as there is always new levels to progress to.

Riding at Glentress

When you arrive you have two options. Start at the bottom car park and start a hard thigh burning 20 – 30 min uphill slog. Or start at the second car park half way between all the trails.

I will never forget my first time there, I though I was doing pretty well when we started at the bottom only to watch as a woman boosted past me exclaiming it was her third time up that day!

Arriving in the second car park you can either take various trails back down, spend some time in the free ride park and skills area or keep climbing to reach more trails.

Obviously the higher you go the better the views. Overlooking the picturesque Tweed valley, sprawling green hills and cute houses dot the countryside. Absolutely fantastic on a rare sunny day in Scotland.

Glentress Mountain Biking Tweed Valley view

Photo by squarehead

The best bit about the Glentress mountain bike park is that there are so many trail options you easily can do a different combination every time you go. Personally I like to ride right to the top then head all the way down to the bottom. That way you get at least 40 minutes of downhill.

Alternatively Cole likes to go up and down several smaller sections a few times to break the monotonous climbs. With all the smooth fast flowing trails merging together there are loads of opportunities to get up some serious speed in a controlled manner.

Our favourite blue trails like “Berm Baby Berm” and “Good Game” flow through the dense forest with small tabletop jumps that you can rollover if you are not that confident and berms to get you around the corners faster.

The world famous “Spooky Wood” red trail has a killer climb before one of the best descents ever. Starting with three rock drops the trails then just flows and flows and flows across open hill country before entering the dense forest below.

The Hub at Glentress

The Hub at Glentress where you can enjoy a cake and coffee after riding - Photo by Tuftronic10000

Glentress Facilities

Not only is the biking awesome but the facilities are superb too. There is a new café, plentiful car parking, an excellent bike hire store and a first aid center just in case all located at the brand spanking new Glentress Peel. For more info check out the local Glentress Forestry site with all your trail maps, guides and directions.

All these amenities give Glentress a great vibe and make for an excellent day out. We love sitting outside the café with a hard earned cake/coffee combo soaking up the atmosphere and listening to all the stories of the days riding.

So next time you are looking for some adventure travel activities, pack a picnic, pump up your tires and get out there!

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Laura

    February 27, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    It looks magical! I would definitely go for a ride through all these green forests.

    • Cole

      February 27, 2012 at 7:20 PM

      I hope you get to one day Laura. Have you been mountain biking before?

  2. Caro from Passport and a Toothbrush

    February 27, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    30 minutes uphill! WOO! But really, I never knew of this network of trails, very cool! And the scenery, unsurprisingly, is just stunning! Good work!

    • Cole

      February 27, 2012 at 7:19 PM

      Scotland definitely has some of the best scenery in the world and it is even better when it is from a secluded mountain biking track!

  3. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    February 29, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    One of my favorite ways to explore an area! I like places that have good bike trails. Much safer 🙂

    • Cole

      March 1, 2012 at 12:14 PM

      Definitely safer. Unless you are a bit reckless like me and get all out of control going downhill haha

    • Cole

      March 1, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      Its a fantastic spot Laurel. Where did you hike?

  4. Laurence

    February 29, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    I’ve always wanted to get more into mountain biking but never quite gotten round to it. This looks like it was a great adventure.. maybe I should just get on with it!

    • Cole

      February 29, 2012 at 9:12 PM

      Definitely start mountain biking Laurence. You can escape to so many places! And you don’t have to be that good to do most trails either especially at a place like Glentress.

  5. Cherina

    March 1, 2012 at 2:24 AM

    This looks beautiful! I didn’t realise it was so close to Edinburgh. I wonder if there is a bus down there. Might have to check it out- could be good thing to do while I’m there in April.

    • Cole

      March 1, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      There is a bus down to Peebles which is a couple of miles down the road. You can hire bikes in Peebles then bike out to Glentress along the cycle routes 🙂 Let us know when you come in April!

  6. Bret@ Green Global Travel

    March 1, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    I’ve been mountain biking a few times, but definitely prefer the flat jungles of Mexico to 30 minutes of hills! Kudos to you for giving it a go…

    • Cole

      March 1, 2012 at 4:56 PM

      We go down every couple of weeks and love it! Although jungles in Mexico sound pretty good. What about the heat?

  7. cheryl

    March 13, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    I’m very sure I’d fail largely at mountain biking … but I’d be willing to try it out for sure! And what a beautiful setting. 🙂

    • Cole

      March 14, 2012 at 9:40 AM

      I am sure you would nail it Cheryl. It is literally like riding a bike 😉

  8. Christina (Jandal Road)

    March 17, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Ah I love Scotland. Pity I never went on a biking tour there. Only took my bike to uni every morning when I studied there. Good to know about Glentress, looks magical!

    • Cole

      March 18, 2012 at 9:02 AM

      It’s a shame that you didn’t make it to Glentress Christina. We love it there and just waiting for the weather to warm up a bit (and for some more sunshine) so that we can start going every weekend again.

  9. S-J

    March 7, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    Well worth checking out other 7Stanes MTB centres, Glentress is cool but Kirroughtree is my frave and loads quieter even at the height of summer you’ll hardly see a soul on the trails 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      March 8, 2013 at 8:16 AM

      We have actually been to a couple of the other 7Stanes mountain bike parks 😀 Loved Kirroughtree although wish we had a better idea of where we were going since we only had a day there! We are just lucky that Glentress is only about 45 minutes drive from Edinburgh. Makes it a perfect evening trip after work in summertime 😉

  10. Dan @ A Cruising Couple

    May 5, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Looks beautiful and a looot of fun! We did a 3-day cycling trip but stuck to the roads along the coast of Taiwan. I’d love to give mountain biking a go. Thanks for sharing!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 5, 2013 at 4:19 PM

      Mountain biking is definitely one of the best adventure sports you can do! Especially as most tracks are graded so you are not out of your depth straight away 🙂

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Adventure Travel

Summer Events to check out in Surfers Paradise

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The weather is already heating up on the Gold Coast and everyone is getting ready for some hot days on the beach. Christmas is just around the corner and with it all the big summer events and festivals that happen at this time of year. Surfers Paradise is at the centre of it all and makes a great base for exploring the Gold Coast and attending the events on the Gold Coast’s summer schedule. There is plenty of places to stay in Surfers Paradise, so book yourself a room and check out some of these fantastic summer events.

Australian PGA Championship

Pacific Pines Resort is one of the premier golf courses in Australia. The country’s biggest golf tournament will make its way here from the 30th of November until the 3rd of December, where the best golfers from Australia and overseas will compete for the title. This is a must attend event for golfers, and there will be plenty of food and entertainment on offer across the four days.

Beachfront Markets

The foreshore in Surfers Paradise comes alive every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday night, with over 100 market stalls filling up the esplanade. The iconic Beachfront Markets will continue throughout the summer and provides the perfect opportunity to get out and about on those warm summer nights, browse the stalls for some unique buys, and then head out on the town for dinner.

Christmas in Surfers Paradise

Experience Christmas in true Aussie style by attending the popular Christmas in Surfers Paradise event that fills up Cavill Mall from the 13th – 24th of December. The entire mall is transformed into a festive wonderland, Surfers style. Even Santa himself will be wearing boardies and travelling in a surf boat sleigh. The kids will love getting to visit Santa in the mall, and the whole event ends with the popular Carols on the Beach on the 23rd of December. Where else in the world can you experience Christmas Carols on the beach on a hot summer’s night?

New Year’s Carnival

Surfers Paradise is one of the best places to celebrate the New Year in the country. The New Year’s Carnival happens on the foreshore of Surfers Paradise across five days from the 27th of December until the 1st of January. It will be one big celebration with lots of rides and fun filled activities, music and more. On New Year’s Eve, you can enjoy massive fireworks displays over the water, with three different displays lighting up the skies above the Gold Coast. There will even be an earlier fireworks display for the little ones. This is definitely the place to be to bring in the New Year.

Magic Millions Carnival

One of the first big events to check out in 2018 will be the extravagant Magic Millions Carnival. On from the 7th until the 13th of January, the Magic Millions Carnival is the premier event of the summer horse racing season. This is a $10 Million horse race and it is sure to be a huge event, with all the glitz and glamour and socialising that goes with it. On the 9th of January, head to the Surfers Paradise Foreshore for the Barrier Draw, where you can watch the horses on the sand and enjoy food and beverages from the stalls. The big race day will be held on the 13th of January.

Burleigh Pro

Surfing is huge on the Gold Coast and one of the best surf spots is at Burleigh Heads. The Burleigh Pro has grown to become one of the biggest surfing competitions in Australia and will see some of the world’s top surfers compete for the title. Local surfers and visitors should definitely attend this one. The Burleigh Pro will be held from the 25th – 28th of January.

Sand Safari

One of the more unique and interesting events to check out this summer will be the 2018 Sand Safari. This arts festival focuses on Australia’s talented sand sculptors, who will compete in the Australian Sand Sculpting Championships. These sand artists carve out incredible, often life sized sculptures entirely of sand, and you will often be truly awed by what they are able to create. The main sculpture competition takes place on the beach along the Surfers Paradise foreshore, however this is a big event from the 2nd to the 25th of February, and you will be able to find special sand sculpture exhibits all over Surfers Paradise.

Summer of Surf

The Summer of Surf is a massive event which will see the country’s best Ironmen and Ironwomen compete in a gruelling six discipline event across six rounds, including the highlighted IronMan and IronWoman competitions. These athletes are the epitome of endurance, and the competition will hit Surfers Paradise for round five of the competition on the 3rd and 4th of February.

The Village Markets

Burleigh Heads is one of the most picturesque and laid back places on the Gold Coast and well worth heading to for a few hours. A good time to visit is during the twice monthly Village Markets which have become an integral part of the Burleigh atmosphere. This popular and laid back market has a beachy, artsy feel to it, and you will find all kinds of unique buys here from the many stalls on offer. Street food stalls are also a big thing here so you can sample some delicious delicacies while browsing the stalls. Finish the day by relaxing on the beach, or sit down for a drink at the Burleigh Surf Club.

Whether you’re looking for a destination for a family holiday or just wanting a quick getaway to unwind this summer, Surfers Paradise is a great choice. With so much happening from cultural night markets to world class sporting events, you are sure to find something of interest in this iconic Gold Coast location.

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Adventure Travel

Top 5 Adventure Activities for a Vacation to Las Vegas

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Mention a vacation to Las Vegas and one of the first things people think about is the hotels and gambling.  And while these are major attractions to the city, they aren’t the only things you can do in and around Las Vegas.  Here are five ideas for fans of adventure holidays.

Helicopter trips

One of the best ways to see Las Vegas from the air is from one of the helicopter trips on offer around the area.  These offer a unique view of the city and its startling hotels.  It is also a great way to see more of the surrounding area – the Grand Canyon, the red sandstones at the Valley of Fire State Park and even the Hoover Dam.  Helicopter trips are great fun and often come with extras such as rafting tours along the floor of the Grand Canyon or exploring the area on an ATV.

Hiking

Las Vegas may be a largely desert area and pretty flat, but it is surrounded by mountains and that makes for great hiking opportunities.  Mount Charleston is just to the west of the city and has some great locations to hike including Mary Jane Falls for beginners or Mummy Mountain for more experienced hikers.  Look out for Raintree, the 3,000 year old Bristlecone Pine that is believed to be the oldest living thing in the state.  If you want to upgrade the experience, look out for the rock climbing schools around the city that offer climbing for all levels.

Kayaking

As well as kayaking as part of a helicopter tour, you can go for a more comprehensive kayaking experience in a number of spots around the city.  The Colorado River is one where you can visit spots like Emerald Cove that really lives up to its name.  Lake Mead is another ideal kayaking spot and somewhere you can also try stand up paddle boarding.  There are lots of little islands to explore around the lake, but the winds can be testing so don’t forget your safety gear.

Biking

Hire a bike when on vacation in Las Vegas and you get the chance to see some of the best of the area.  The Red Rock Canyon Loop is a 20-mile loop that includes the famous Joshua trees as well as the red rocks that give the area its name.  A lot of the loop is quite flat.  There are also some good routes around Lake Mead including more challenging ones that use the landscape carved out by lava when there was volcanic activity.

Snowboarding

Being in the desert, Las Vegas isn’t a place you would associate with snowboarding.  But for a few months of the year, the Lee Canyon near Mount Charleston becomes a snowboarding heaven.  It offers something for beginners and also some challenging areas for more experienced snowboarders including some good trails above the lift drop off point.  There is even a lodge that offers hot chocolate and other drinks to warm up between runs.

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Adventure Travel

Top 5 Unusual Luxury Cruise Destinations

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If you love the outdoors and wildlife or are an adventure holiday fan, a cruise may not seem like the ideal holiday for you.  But there are a few cruise destinations around the world that offer both luxury and something different.  Here are five ideas to inspire you to book yourself a luxury cruise for your next vacation.

Australia and New Zealand

Tours around Australia and New Zealand offer the chance to see some amazing scenery, wildlife and also visit some of the top spots around these two Southern Hemisphere countries.  Visit cities such as Sydney and Melbourne in Australia and Dunedin and Auckland in New Zealand as well locations such as the famous Bondi Beach and the island of Tasmania.  For northern areas, April to September is a good time to travel while March to August is best for the more southern locations.  Head to New Zealand in December to March for the driest months.

Japan

The ancient cities of Japan are just part of the attraction of taking a cruise around this country.  Top spots to visit include the capital Tokyo, with its brilliant blend of historic buildings and cutting-edge technology that sums up much of Japan.  Other locations to look to visit include Kagoshima on the southern edge of Kyushu with its palms trees and beautiful sea views.  Hakodate is another popular spot where you can visit the Mount Hakodate Observatory looking out over the sea.

Galapagos

For wildlife fans, the fascinating islands of the Galapagos are one of the dream cruises available.  Here you can see species of animal not found anywhere else in the world including giant tortoises, penguins and hilarious looking blue-footed boobies (a type of bird).  Each island has its own species so there is plenty to see.  December to May are the best times to visit when the seas are calmest and the animals most active.

Central and South America

While many people have experienced a Caribbean cruise, there is also plenty to see and do on the mainland of Central American and down into South America.  You can even find large cruise ships that can travel a distance up the Amazon River, being that it is so wide and deep.  Look for expeditions that allow you to visit Mayan ruins in Mexico or go kayaking in sea caves.  And there is the rich wildlife of the area to enjoy – monkeys, parrots and big cats to name just a few.  You can even find a cruise that takes you through the famous Panama Canal and across to the Pacific coast.

Antarctica

Antarctica might not be somewhere you associated with a cruise, but it is becoming a popular destination for people who want to go somewhere different.  There are places like the Falkland Islands and South Georgia as well as parts of Antarctica itself.  The wildlife is a big draw for people with elephant seals, fur seals and an amazing amount of bird life – who can resist penguins?  It is also a good chance to see historic locations associated with polar exploration.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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