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OCHILS THE NOO

Think you know which is the best mountain biking town in the UK? After a weekend of riding trails local to the city of Stirling, Sanny reckons it might just be time to reconsider your opinion.

“There’s a voice that keeps on calling me, Down the road, that’s where I’ll always be…” Readers of a certain vintage (‘80s kids) will now be scratching their baldy heads to recall the theme tune to a low budget kids programme from our Canadian friends. It was, of course, The Littlest Hobo – a tale of a German Shepherd dog that wandered from town to town, saving the day along the way.

Had Hobo been Scottish, he might have stopped in Stirling although I suspect the reception he would have gotten back then would have been more of the ‘Get tae f###, ya mangy, rabid mongrel!’ before having a half-eaten chip poke launched at him. Fortunately for the mountain biking hobo who finds themselves whizzing up the A9 to the riding honeypots of the Cairngorms, Torridon and beyond, there is a veritable feast of trail treasure (and mixed metaphors) to be discovered.

If you only know Stirling as the place with the castle, the Battle of Bannockburn where one entitled royal bampot sought to wrestle the throne from another entitled royal bampot, and the site of a weird, pointy monument dedicated to someone played on screen by a diminutive Antipodean with a penchant for inappropriate public outbursts [he’s talking about Braveheart – Ed], you are seriously missing out. Put on a brew, put your feet up and let me shine a little light on this hidden gem.

Stirling – Gateway to the Highlands.

Located at the very heart of Scotland, Stirling isn’t necessarily the first place that springs to mind when you think of towns and cities with great mountain biking on their doorstep and which are destinations in their own right. Sheffield, Aviemore, Innerleithen and Peebles regularly top the list, but to ignore Stirling is to do it a great disservice. In the last issue, the lead feature and cover (modesty forbids me from saying who wrote that fine piece of work and took the pictures…) highlighted the virtues of riding Ben Ledi, a fine Scottish mountain a mere 20-minute drive from Stirling. Previously we’ve waxed lyrical in the magazine about the virtues of riding Dumyat and the trails around the University of Stirling campus, two great ride areas both easily accessible from the town. However, there is so much more within easy riding distance of the heart of Stirling that it would be remiss of me not to tell you a little about what awaits, you should you decide to take the road less travelled.

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About Singletrack

Editorial: Old Friends UK Adventure: Ochils the Noo Classic Ride: All Weather Lake District Column: Jason Miles International Adventure: Revelstoked Tech: When Did It All Get Good? Editors’ Choice 2019 Pete’s Pros: Jamie Nicholl Bike Test: Bling Bikes Still Going: Lucky Shorts International Adventure: Davos On The Cheap Interview: David Cachon International Adventure: Greek Highland Hopping Last Word: Unhealthy Obsession