High school mountain bike club conquer Glentress forest

Riders stop for a quick group photograph before the descent.

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A total of 18 pupils of the Arran High School Mountain Bike Club travelled to Peebles for an all too brief weekend of mountain biking, on the trails of Glentress and Innerleithen, both part of the world famous Seven Stanes, earlier this month, writes Stephen Garraway.

Arriving late at our bunkhouse accommodation, we disembarked from the Kilmory mini-bus and unloaded both staff cars and trailers, checking the bikes for adjustment and storing all of our weekend clothing. More importantly our food was put away and the pizzas cooked in two ovens. Surprisingly, 24 pizzas didn’t seem to take too long to cook. By now most of the club wanted to get down to the local Cardrona pump track, so Matt and Robert oversaw that adventure, even taking a quiet generator and lights to enhance the fun.

On Saturday morning, leaving around 9am, we split into two groups, with the more accomplished riders going by minibus to Innerleithen whilst the other group cycled mainly off road to the nearby Glentress. Unfortunately for the first group, the rider and bike uplift service was fully booked and as this particular trail was long and steep and under very wet and cold conditions, it was suggested that they cycle up to a nearby hill, Pirn Cairn which has many quiet trails. Picking them up later, at 3.30pm I met a very wet and muddy crew, all beaming from ear to ear at the experience they had enjoyed, riding on unfamiliar trails. It was good to see pupils revelling in mountain biking so much, even with the weather thrown at us.

Meanwhile, back at Glentress, Kim and Ewen were still out and about with the other pupils who were all experiencing the best trails and skills sections of a very busy Glentress. Mountain biking seems to be becoming more and more popular and we came across more and more people now using eBikes, to ride up the long hauls.

There was a group of over 100 women riding whilst dressed up in Halloween costumes, on an annual orienteering treasure hunt and that was very entertaining in its own joyful way.

On Sunday morning we all cycled to Glentress again, for some more mountain biking and it was satisfying to see the more experienced pupils assisting others with their skills. After a couple of hours it was back to the bunk house to clean and get cleaned before we were on the road again, back to Arran.

All in all, a very worthwhile weekend for the club albeit a short one. We would like to thank Ewen McNeice, once more, and Matt Webb, of Ride Arran, for volunteering their time and assistance for the pupils of Arran High School. Readers may be unaware that we are an entirely self-funding and voluntary Club, so please give us your support by voting for us in this year’s Co-op Community Fund.

We are currently taking groups out three nights per week, one of which is all girls. We teach cycle maintenance and pupils volunteer for trail repairs regularly. If any readers would like to assist with trail repairs, please get in touch.

Pupils enjoy the long descents with the ramps and water providing extra fun. No_B48bike01

Riders stop for a quick group photograph before the descent. No_B48bike02

Riding high, pupils enjoy a small natural ramp. No_B48bike03

Glentress provides excellent cycling paths in beautiful surrounds. No_B48bike04

A minor injury is dealt with before getting back on the road. No_B48bike05

Good old fashioned exhilarating and muddy fun. No_B48bike06

Cyclists take a quick break before setting off again. No_B48bike07