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THE BORDERS OF THE BORDERLANDS

Olly thinks we’re overlooking a great trail network, and the perfect remote brew spot.
WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY OLLY TOWNSEND

“I ground the beans fresh this morning”, said Kevin, opening a small ziplock bag and pouring a carefully measured dose into his portable cafetière and setting it on top of his gas stove. A backlit jet of steam was rising vertically from Clive’s stove, signalling that his lunchtime brew was almost ready. Dom, over in the corner near the window, had set out his tea making apparatus neatly on a small table and was busy brewing up his perfect cuppa too.

It’s often said that you can judge a mountain biker by the type of bike they’re riding, or their choice of clothing or even what kind of helmet they’re wearing. But I think you can make a more informed opinion of your riding buddies by looking at what they’ve chosen to bring in their packs to make the lunch stop better. The fact that three of my group had decided to pack stoves and a brew kit with them said a lot about their attitude to riding – make it as fun, sociable and civilised as you can!

Not grousing.

Our lunch venue of choice was a small bothy high up on the Northumberland moors. The moors in this area are pretty wild, with very little in the way of shelter if the weather isn’t playing ball. Finding the nearest café or pub means losing a lot of height and heading to the valley bottom. Luckily, the local grouse shooting community has created a series of small bothies and these are kept unlocked so that other users of the moors can access them in times of need. Like when you need a table to lay out your brew kit. They’re not exactly palatial, but they’re dry, reasonably warm and designed for outdoor users – no one will bat an eyelid if you come in cold, dripping wet or muddy (although you are expected to leave it in decent condition when you head out). On the day of our visit, we had the bothy to ourselves and after a long, hot summer, the trails were mainly hardpacked and running fast, so we didn’t leave muddy bumprints or drip trail juice all over the floor.

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About Singletrack

Editorial: Finding Your Place Chipps is away in Moab, so Hannah has taken over. She thinks Moab is all very well, but there might be even happier places to be. UK Adventure: Snowdon All Ways Tom Fenton thinks that riding all the bridleways on Snowdon in one go is a good idea. Surprisingly he finds friends willing to join him. Will they ever join him again? Column: Jason Miles Jason asks us to mind our manners while we’re riding, or in the supermarket. International Adventure: Vancouver’s Treasure Islands Ryan Stuart takes a tour of the slow paced islands where quiet trails lie waiting. Classic Ride: Borders of the Borderlands Olly Townsend takes us on a classic moorland yomp in Northumberland’s quiet fringes. Interview: Tracy Moseley - Mother Hucker The queen of enduro isn’t slowing down as she adds motherhood to her titles. Bike Test: Ti Hard Our very own Bruce Willis lookalike, Andi Sykes, tests out three titanium hardtails from Kingdom, Nordest and Sonder. Editors’ Choice Our team pick out their product, place and bike highlights of 2018. International Adventure: Risking It For Polish Champagne Dorota Juranek goes on her rst bike packing trip, through the snowy urban decay of Poland. Charlie Says: Abus Alarm Lock Charlie the Bikemonger checks out the Abus Alarm Lock. Beyond The Review: In My Shoes Products don’t just get tested, we live with them. Hannah looks at the relationship between her shoes and her riding. Climbing Up In Trentino, Stepping Back In Time Pete Scullion and trials rider Ali Clarkson take their ill prepared bodies round 100km of history in the Italian mountains. Last Word: Highland Heist Charlie the Bikemonger reveals his criminal past.