Mostly, this is random stories from my various trips as I collect them, but I've a wee backlog to get through too and those will pop up occasionally.

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Pentlands Mountain Biking Routes

In the course of my several years mountain biking in and around the Pentland Hills, I started to explore some of the little tracks I'd often see. As a means of working out how these joined up I documented them on Google Earth. It makes for quite an extensive network.

If you are interested in discovering some of these for yourself, you'll find a link to the .kmz file here. You will have to load up Google Earth to see it, whereupon you can click to enable/disable the various layers and modify it to your hearts content!

Please look after these trails. Overuse makes them miserable for everyone.

As an example of one to follow, try this;

From Harlaw car park, head through the main gate and keep straight on through a couple of open fields currently planted with cereals. When you get to a signpost, head left towards Glencorse. Go through two gates (2nd sign post at the 2nd gate) and up towards Maidens Cleugh. There are some wooden water-bars here which need to be hopped. The bottom one is the largest. When the path starts to flatten out, pause a moment to look at the view behind you. The path then descends slightly to another gate, overlooking Glencorse Reservoir.

Go through the gate and take the lovely, fast descent, at first through some muddy/peaty ditches but then over more loose gravel. There are a couple of stone water-bars here which you need to look out for as you'll puncture if you hit them too hard. Follow the track all the way to the reservoir, where you go through a gate and meet the Glen Road.

Turn right and follow this tarmac road alongside Glencorse Reservoir.You might catch a glimpse of mink and there are some Canada Geese often in residence. When the road crosses a little causeway, look out (usually to the right) for a Grey Heron as he's often in this area. The road climbs up to Loganlea Reservoir. then along its banks. When the tarmac ends, look for a signpost to Balerno.

Follow this track across the meadows. These get very soft when wet, but are great riding when dry. Over Johnstons Bridge and you're into Green Cleugh. Pass the wee waterfall at Lovers Loup (look out for Peregrine Falcon) and ride through the narrow pass. Just before the pass opens out again, look for a small, gravel path coming down from the right. Push up this path (yes - I know some folk can ride it). Don't worry if you miss it, just wait until you reach the next gate and you'll see an even steeper path - push up this one instead.

You are now on the Black Hill. When the path levels out, stop for a breather and look around you. On a good day, you can see from Goat Fell on Arran, all the way across to Argyll, Ben Lomond, Ben More, Ben Vorlich, the Lawers Group and right up to Glenshee.

Now start on the Black Hill descent. Another one to be avoided in wet conditions but it can be an absolute blast. Many folk rate this as the best track hereabouts. Either let the suspension absorb all the rocks or (like me on the rigid), pick your way through for more "cerebral" fun. When you get to a gate, go across/through it and across a little causeway.

Turn left at the end of the causeway and follow the track along the shore of Threipmuir Reservoir. When it's about to enter a stand of trees, look sharply to the left and you'll see a narrow band of singletrack. That's your path along the shore and some rooty fun. This pops out at the dam, which you go up and over. Now turn left and follow the gravel track parallel to the dam until you see a little footbridge over the outflow. Cross the footbridge.

You now have a fast, wide, gravel track or some more rootiness. Guess which I recommend? Turn into the woods and just follow your nose across whichever option takes your fancy. These rooty detours pop out onto the gravel track again, but when they do so, just look for your next opportunity to dive in for laughs, laughs, laughs.

All the fun must, however, come to and end, so just cross the outflow from Harlaw Reservoir, ride along the top of the dam and you'll find yourself at the Ranger Centre. Go along the tarmac road with the high blackthorn on your right and you'll come back to the car park.

Get back to the car. Ponder all of those other tracks you saw heading off at various places and congratulate yourself. You're now a Pentlander.

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