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The cycle Drumlanrig red route

Location: By Thornhill, Dumfriesshire

Map: Trail map available at start

Distance: 12 miles (20km)

Time: 1.5-2 hours

Terrain: undulating; singletrack

Nicknamed the Old School, this red-graded mountain bike route is great for improving your handling skills. Shorter blue and black trails also weave through the woodlands at the Drumlanrig Estate in Dumfriesshire.

A trail map, while not essential, can be purchased from the estate's cycle shop, which also houses the Scottish Cycle Museum. The red route begins by following an estate road left before diving into the trees. Watch out for walkers where paths cross.

You'll notice pretty quickly that the trail surface is full of roots, adding spice to the tight corners while demanding good bike control. The roots feature throughout the trail, which is best avoided in the wet. The route twists and loops up to a bail-out point after four miles (7km).

From there, you can either join the blue route or return to the start. Continuing on the red, you'll find there's plenty more technical riding. Unlike most mountain bike trails, this one has few features – apart from the odd jump and a short section of north shore – but this more natural singletrack has its own rewards.

Back at Drumlanrig Castle you should take a look at the cycle museum, where pride of place goes to a replica of Kirkpatrick Macmillan's original bicycle. Outwith the summer season, there is no charge to park and use the mountain bike trails. For cycle shop opening times go to www.drumlanrig.com.

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