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Bikemagic Trail Guide: Balblair, Sutherland

11:03 12th October 2012 by Nikalas Cook
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Destination: Balblair, Sutherland

View to the west from the top of Balblair mountain bike trails

Want to get away from it all?

If you like your XC on the technical side, enjoy the feeling of rock under rubber, want to escape the crowds and crave for riding with a real out in the wilds feel, then Balblair should be on your list of mountain bike destinations.

How to get there

From Bonar Bridge take the A836 west towards Lairg for about one mile and the car park is signposted on the right.

Sat Nav: Bonar Bridge

Facilities

Only parking on-site but there are toilets and a cafe at the nearby Carisdale Castle Youth Hostel.

Trails

The short 3km blue trail is a decent enough leg loosener. It’s a fire road climb to gain height and then a fun descent including some tight switchbacks that takes you back to the car park.

Mountain bikers on the blue trail at Balblair Forest

Balblair’s blue trail is a decent leg loosener

It’s then onto the black which offers a short 7.5km option or a long 11.5km option. When fully open it offers slabby rock sections, boardwalks, fast bermy descents and plenty of testing climbs. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, there’s a major phase of trail improvements in place involving significant diversions, so check out the Forestry Commission website and maybe hold fire until the work is completed.

Nearest bike shop

This is the West Highlands so bring all the spares you’ll need or you’ll be in for a long drive.

Other info

Balblair is often lumped together with nearby Carbisdale and the Kyle of Sutherland Mountain Bike Trails. You’ve also got Golspie 25 minutes up the road so there’s plenty of riding to be had in the area.

Useful links

Forestry Commission – Balbair Mountain Bike Trails
Scotland Mountain Bike – Balbair guide

Location Map:

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