I hadn’t been out to Carron Valley for a few years so I decided on Sunday that I would pay the bike trails there a visit and stretch the legs. It’s only half an hour “ish” in the car from the Ae7 warehouse, so it’s easy to get to. With the bike loaded and the weather looking good, I thought I’d pick up Gordon the Crazy Chef (you need to know him to understand!) and take him along for entertainment value.
The temperatures were down a touch from the previous days, however, it was still dry which is not a thing you get to say often in Scotland. The Forestry Commission trails at Carron Valley are like a distant little cousin of the 7stanes trail centres but there’s something just fun about the 10.5km loop. It’s graded red & orange (freeride) although it’s not a particularly difficult ride. Leaving the car park behind we set off up the initial climb through the woods. The Crazy Chef hadn’t been doing much exercise recently and was giving more than his usual uphill moans and groans as we pedaled onwards. Coming out the singletrack climb we hit the fire road and followed this for just over a km before the fun times started. Cutting back onto the singletrack at Eas Dubh you sweep down and hit a couple of rocky features, switchbacks and little drops & jumps. The trails are all smooth and the recent weather made it really dry, causing a bit of drift on some corners!
Back on the fire road before some more fast singletrack sections where you can crank it and get a good blast. There’s obviously been surface work done fairly recently and it’s proper smooth at the moment. Coming out of these sections you follow the sign to the orange graded “The Runway”. It’s like a good old fashioned, fast, park style section with plenty jumps, doubles & berms to put a smile on your face, well it made me smile anyway. Even the Crazy Chef rolled in talking about how it reminded him of his BMX days.
A few people like to slate Carron Valley (some people just like to moan) and I know there’s politics with the routes there but all in all it’s a great little circuit that should be ridden with fun in mind. If you want bigger, steeper, longer, harder then head for Fort Bill or the Alps. Alternatively ride faster, do it twice and smash some press ups out between stages!