Latest Posts

  1. #GuideLife :: Battling Demons

    Balancing being a mountain bike guide with a healthy competitive streak can be a tough game to master – our man Paul shared a quick insight with us from his recent weekend on the hill.

    Border Raid enduro Weekend Paul Cunningham Scotland

    “How a weekend can change! Only popped down to Inners to go ride a couple of stages for fun with my mate Ritchie…thanks to Andy and Fraser from No Fuss Events and fast forward…I only went and got a late entry to the Innerleithen round of the Scottish Enduro Series!! Gulp.

    Race day came – my awesome new Santa Cruz #HightowerCC was primed and ready to go…hit Stage 1 & 2 flat out feeling ‘sweet’ then on the way to Stage 3 I found out about my fellow Teammate @janeykennedy and her brutal crash!

    With demons in my head I slipped and slid my way through 3, backing off a little and keeping the wheels firmly planted through the final stages.
    What an epic race and event, buzzing with my bike and feeling confident in my Sweet Protection – so chuffed with 10th in the Vet’s. Get well soon Janey!”👊 👍

    📷: Finlay Anderson

    Like riding enduro? Then check out our Border Raid weekend trips.

  2. #TravelTuesday

    It’s #TravelTuesday and we’ve got two pretty compelling end of season reasons to squeeze in a last-minute #mtb trip to Scotland.

    Mountain Bike Holidays Scotland

    1. Save 25% on our last remaining Level 3 Border Raid enduro weekend (8th to 10th September) :: use discount code RAID25 at the checkout and the final spot is yours for just £235.
    2. Mega-cancellation deal on September’s ’Torrid Affair’ (16th to 23rd) :: use discount code TORRID350 and two places are available for £645 (a whopping saving of £350).

    Available on a first come/first served basis – grab them while they last! BOOK NOW

    T&Cs apply; not available in conjunction with any other offer.

    Photo: Sven Martin

  3. Soul Trails and Torrid Affairs

    @svenmartinphoto recently spent a few days in the Northwest with a bunch of RAD women as part of our second Soul Trails mountain bike adventure in partnership with our friend Anka Martin – this time around, it was an extra special Torrid Affair.

    By all accounts it’s going to be one for the history books and we were super lucky to have Anka’s hubby and world-class snapper Sven along for the ride on this one – check out his image gallery!!

    Soul Trails Scotland Torrid Affair Womens Mountain Bike Holiday

    We hope you’ll all agree, Scotland is INCREDIBLE!! In 2018, we hope to run another Soul Trails adventure with Anka…WATCH THIS SPACE.

    p.s. there’s one Torrid Affair trip left this year (Sept 16 – 23) and with limited availability. 

  4. Mountain Royale :: August Special Offer

    Feedback on the revamped Mountain Royale tour is blowing us away right now! New trails, new accommodation, new hospitality – check out the latest trip photo gallery for a flavour.

    It’s all come together just the way we’d hoped, and to celebrate we’re offering the last available spot on the August 12th to 18th trip for just £670 (a 25% saving of £225).

    Cairngorms Mountain Bike Holiday Mountain Royale

    Available on a strictly first come, first served basis – to grab this killer last-minute deal, simply hit ‘BOOK NOW‘ and enter the code #mountainroyale at the checkout! [UPDATE :: NOW SOLD OUT]

    *T&Cs apply.

  5. Mountain biking with friends in the Cairngorms

    The Cairngorms has always been a special place to me. It’s where I first started mountain biking in the 90s, when my partner, Andy McKenna, who introduced me to mountain biking, dragged me around the Cairngorms to do the infamous Cairngorms tour.  I wasn’t very experienced back then and what I remember most is the suffering, thinking how many more miles have we got to go, not really taking in the scenery or much of anything. If you asked me what I rode I wouldn’t be able to tell you because all my energy was focused on the physical effort to get me around the loop.

    Cairngorms and bikes

    Times have changed. 20 years on and I have taken to love my bike and the places it takes me. I’ve been lucky to ride all over the world and meet the most amazing people along the way. But for some reason, at the start of this year, I had a strange urge to go back and do the tour, although a version which would would keep me motivated and challenged. I wanted to go back, not just as the passenger but to do it because I wanted to do it and knowing I have the confidence to take myself and my friends away into the mountains for four days. I had also ruptured my calf the year before and I was keen to do the tour around the one year anniversary to show myself I could do something substantial on a bike again.

    Cairngorm map

    So early in the year, I started to plan.

    Maps, and bike bag.

    The first thing on the list was knowing who to do it with. Lynne, Anna and Emma immediately came to mind, strong, resilient women that I knew could cope with anything thrown at them. These skills were essential, what if the weather turns, we get lost, we run out of daylight, someone gets injured – all eventualities had to be covered.

    Lynne was too busy coaching for Air Maiden, Anna got sick two days before the trip so that left me and Emma. At this point I didn’t think the trip would happen. I felt it was important for there to be three of us, for safety reasons, but more importantly if the banter dried up, would there be enough of us to spread it around. But I knew Emma would be the right person for the job, she is tough, her banter is certainly of a very high standard and she was training for the Trans Provence, which was in 6 weeks time. She’d never done a four day trip around the mountains before so it was going to be a good experience for her before heading to France.

    Emma looking at map

    Our trip started in Blair Atholl on what was a very sunny day. It was the beginning of May and this was the first of the sunshine we’d had after a long winter. Andy, my other half drove us to start of the the trail head, we compared our EVOC bike packs for weight distribution, discussed spares, tools, food, water and had a quick check on the map.

    Emma and Aneela checking bags

    It was the first time Emma had carried so much on her back which I found quite amusing. I am used to the weight with being a MTB guide for Go Where Scotland but for Emma it was a first. For someone who is a top end rider, it was funny to see her wobble on single track as we made our way across the Gaick. But she soon got used to it.

    Emma on the Gaick

    It was a fantastic first day. We talked the whole way until we came to the junction for Inveruglas for Aviemore where we had our first stop of the day. The sandwiches were out, and just as we were starting to chill in the lovely sunshine, a young Ozzy Osbourne look-alike stopped his vehicle on the dirt track and asked, ‘Hi girls are you alright? Do you know where you are going? Have you got enough scoobie snacks? ‘You got everything you need?’ We politely said we were fine and off he went with his business disappointed that we didn’t take up his offer. We were surprised by his chat, we couldn’t believe that in the middle of nowhere, we would come with no map, nor would we have enough ‘scoobie snacks’ to keep us going!

    In fact, this kind of chat happened to us for the rest of the trip, like ‘have you got enough medical supplies on you’ to ‘I hope you have an emergency signal up the top’ to ‘have you been watching too much Danny Macaskill’? We wondered if we were two men would we have received the same chat?  Were we not capable of looking after ourselves? Surely not! I think they couldn’t believe seeing us carrying bikes in places they might not have ever imagined seeing a bike. Our ‘Danny Macaskill’ comment was on day 2 where our ‘alternative’ tour took us over Ben Macdui, Scotland’s second highest mountain. We wanted to ask back but were too polite ‘have you been watching too much Bear Grylls?’

    Hike a bike on mountain

    Day 2 and again the sun was shining but we knew that there would be snow near the top, but didn’t realise how much. Our hike a bike took us longer than expected and we were pleased when we got to the top. We also had plenty of friendly walkers to keep us entertained as we climbed to the summit. ‘Nice bikes‘ was a comment we heard often.

    Bike on top of a mountain

    But when we got there a funny thing happened. We wanted to get down as soon as possible! Quick photo and a snack and off we went looking for the trail that would take us to Braemar.

    Mountains with snow

    On the plateau there is no defined path, the snow was covering large sections of the mountain but our map reading skills were spot on and we found our path after descending snow fields that were hiding the path. It was down all the way to the Lin of Dee. From here we took to the road to Braemar.

    Our next day took us up Lochnagar. We knew this was going to be another big day, but for some reason it was more chilled than the day before. Think it was something to do with knowing that we had got over Ben Macdui even though the technical and endurance skills needed were just as hard. My favourite part of the day was when a cloud came over as we passed the waterfall route down to Loch Muick. We hadn’t had felt a cloud in the sky for three days. Emma even named her strava day as the ‘one cloud in the sky’ route.

    Hike a bike

    After a couple of hours hike a bike we took the descent all the way to the bothy at Glen Callater which we could see in the distance. We had all that to descend, it made us happy.

    Bikes descending mountain

    When arriving at the bothy we had a wander inside and had a debrief on our aches and pains and started to laugh at ourselves at how much of our conversation focused on this!

    From there we carried on back to Braemar. Another epic day in the bag.

    Bike and bothy

    Our final day was through Glen Tilt. For some reason we were on a mission (or maybe I was on a mission) to get to our final destination.

    Glen tilt

    Again we had beautiful sunshine and even had time to stop and see the waterfalls before we made our last leg towards Blair Atholl. We hardly saw anyone, we talked less and enjoyed the peace and tranquility. After 5 hours it was over. We were in Blair Atholl and back a lot quicker than was planned.

    Swimming in waterfalls

    If you asked me if I remembered anything from the last time I rode around the Cairngorms, my honest answer is that I wouldn’t have even known that I’d been there before. It certainly felt a lot easier, there was no suffering and agreed that we could have done that trip in three days instead of four. It was a good feeling to know that we both still had lots more to give. We’d already started talking about plans for the next one during the journey back home.

    Women on top of mountain

    Thanks to Emma for being such a brilliant partner, I couldn’t have asked for one better and all her hard work paid off with an amazing 5th place at Trans Provence 2017!

    Emma smiling at bothy door

  6. Why Women’s Mountain Bike Trips are so Awesome

    We’re lucky enough to have made the Guardian’s list of the ten best women’s activity holidays and so here’s ten reasons why an all women tour with Go Where Scotland is so awesome:

    1. We’re the only outfit in the UK that runs women’s MTB trips by women for women. Our guests are always impressed with our female guides which do everything from travel logistics to bike set up, trail repairs, and generally making the trip run perfectly.

    2. Our guests are strangers to begin with but they’re good friends by the end of the weekend. #besties

    Mountain lassies

    3. The feedback on our last trip was 10/10 for everything: our guides, choice of trails, riding, the food and cosy accommodation in Innerleithen. Ruth Phillips, who was on the trip said it was one of the best experiences of her life. By the end of the trip she was walking taller  knowing everything she had achieved  over the weekend.

    Minch moor ride

    4. The ratio of guides to clients means that everyone is well looked after and means that different ability levels in the group are supported to enable everyone to get something out of the trip.

    Guides drinking coffee

    5. We share our infectious enthusiasm for mountain biking and it certainly rubs off on all our guests. Good banter and a sense of humour is an essential part of the job description!

    6. Everyone feels challenged enough to stretch their riding abilities making our guests come away with a feeling that they want to ride more. Everyone’s so proud of their achievements it does wonders for their confidence.

    Southern upland way ride

    7. They learn new skills and build their understanding of a bike that helps them to ride so much better (like suspension set up, using a dropper post and positioning the saddle in the right place).

    Juliana bike

    8. No one feels like they are holding anyone back. Women encourage and support each other and it doesn’t matter about who’s at the back of the pack.

    9. At the end of the day we talk about our best bits, line choices, and basically tell each other how awesome we all are! All over a beer…or two.

    10. We make it fun, it’s a holiday after all!

    If you want to join us this year we have a a couple of spaces left on our remaining tours.

    Look out for more women’s trips in 2018!

  7. Women’s Mountain Biking in Scotland Is On the Up :: Air Maiden 2017 Rocked

    I’m (Aneela) and I’m a proud Air Maiden free ride veteran. For anyone that doesn’t know – Air Maiden is ‘the’ women’s freeride mountain biking event in Scotland, if not the entire UK. I was there when it all first started way back in 2008 and I remember how nervous I was (along with everyone else!) especially during the main event. Come competition time, it was time to put all my new skills into action and showcase what I’d learned. Looking back I couldn’t believe what I achieved. It was the best feeling ever knowing I could jump higher, drop bigger and feeling very proud that I’d done all this in the space of a weekend.

    Aneela jumping mountain bike at air maiden

    I loved it so much I did it again in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013… Nine years on and the event is still going strong. It’s the only women’s free ride event in the UK where it comprises of two days coaching rounded off with a unique free ride competition on Sunday afternoon. This year I had the chance to talk to a lot of the women who participated in the event. The vibes were certainly different to the days when I was a participant. The women didn’t seem as nervous or anxious and I reckon the skill level was way higher.  It shows how times are changing and that more women are advancing in the sport.

    Air maiden Womens mountain biking Scotland Big smiles for big jumps during practice on Saturday

    Lynne has got the right formula for this event. It’s at the right pace for everyone with a gradual build up to what everyone is waiting for – the kicker! It was great to see everyone progress as the gap on the kicker got bigger and bigger.

    Womens mountain biking Scotland Air Maiden Kirsty giving it laldie on the blinged up 2017 kicker

    Air maiden womens mountain biking Scotland Does Sarah (Ginger Spice) even know that the gap’s got ‘BIGGER’??

    What makes this event so successful is the fun element. Almost every participant came out in their best riding attire from Ginger Spice to the Princess Unicorn to bumble bees, sheep, ladybirds and donkeys! You couldn’t have asked for a more fun and supportive environment.

    Air maiden Scotland women freeride mountain biking What a bunch of animals! Fancy dress mandatory at Air Maiden…

    I asked Lynne Armstrong, who is the legend behind Air Maiden what she thought of the weekend.

    “What made the event are the women who came to ride. It’s incredible to see what they have achieved and I was blown away by the level of enthusiasm and passion for improving their skills. It was a great event and I can’t wait for 2018. I’ve had my first booking for next year and I haven’t even started planning it.”

    Lynne styling it up on her Juliana Roubion

    I’d say it was Lynne’s best event yet, it had it all from great coaches, Juliana demo bikes from JungleFlotec Suspension on standby to help with mechanicals, Greg Dickson on photo duties, and great camaraderie among all the helpers, sponsors and participants. But most important of all was the level of progression for everyone with big smiles at the end. Well done to all the women who participated.

    Big hugs to the legend of Air Maiden from her good pal Aneela

    Enjoy my video and get signed up for 2018.

  8. Keep it Local

    To us and the smooth running of our mountain bike tours in Scotland, Alpine Bikes in Innerleithen and Glentress are more than just a bike shop.


    They’re as much a part of the clan as our crew of guides – fettling, prepping and delivering the highest quality bikes and service above and beyond, time after time.

    And now, as a Santa Cruz and Juliana stockist / demo centre our guests have the opportunity to ride the same bikes we love. Winning!

    They’re a funny-looking bunch but don’t let that put you off.

    Thanks Matt, CJ, Dan & Neil xo


  9. Is this the best mountain bike trail in Scotland?

     

    Think of a wild Scottish landscape combined with world-class mountain bike trails and you will likely conjure a romantic image of Glen Coe, the vast wilderness of Torridon, the infamous Fort William or the foreboding Cuillin on Skye.

    ‘I can’t wait to head up to the north-west of Scotland with my bike’ I say to Aneela.

    ‘Ah but you should go to the east’, she replies. ‘Nobody thinks to go east but the riding is amazing…’ Her gaze trails off with her thoughts to a far-flung place and I’m left feeling curious.

    There’s very little that Aneela, Andy and their team of guides don’t know about mountain biking in Scotland so when they impart some free personal advice you make sure you file it at the forefront of your memory, ready to reference at the soonest opportunity for dreaming up your next escape.

    A majestic landscape of rugged mountains, pristine rivers and enchanted forests; what’s so special about the north east of Scotland anyway?

    From its source in the Cairngorm Mountains, the River Dee flows east towards Aberdeen, through a stunning landscape of impressive peaks, lush forests and heathery moorland. An area that captured the hearts of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, ‘Royal Deeside’ is home to Balmoral Castle and the Birkhall Estate. It has been a popular holiday destination with the Royal Family for numerous generations.

    You’re probably thinking ‘but mountain biking isn’t a very regal sport…’ This is true but the Royal presence has arguably helped to preserve the tranquillity of this remote corner of Scotland. If you’re looking for an authentic Scottish getaway without the swathes of tourists, then you’ve come to the right place.

    The area is steeped in history that extends far beyond the royal connection. Macbeth was defeated at Lumphanan and it is believed that the first Highland Games took place in Braemar. The ancient Pictish standing stones, kirkyards (churchyards) dating back over a thousand years and tales of ghosts, witches and curses, all add to this magical Scottish experience.

    The Cairngorms National Park also protects a diverse range of wildlife. As Andy and Aneela’s carefully considered routes swoop through this unspoilt landscape you might even catch a glimpse of a wildcat, capercaillie or golden eagle.

    To the north, the River Spey delivers pristine water to the distilleries of some of the finest Scotch whiskies. In fact, over half of Scotland’s distilleries are located in Speyside (the Whisky Triangle) so there’s plenty of choice for a well-earned post-ride dram!

    The important bit – what about the riding?

    The Mountain Royale mountain bike tour promises to tick a lot of boxes; heathery singletrack, long and steep descents from the UK’s highest summits, granite slabs and rollercoaster trails through ancient forests. There’s even a secret ribbon of perfect singletrack that is only reached from an old drove road.

    Of course Andy and Aneela don’t want to give too much away. However, if this year’s recce photos are anything to go by I can’t wait to check it out for myself!

    Visit our Book a Trip page to sign up for your next mountain biking adventure

  10. Competition Time – Win a £200 Holiday Voucher

    Evoc Backpack

    What’s in your backpack?

    Here’s the average contents of one of our guides’ EVOC packs. Best guess at what that ‘Lavazza’ coffee wrapper is doing in there wins a £200 voucher towards one of our June Torrid Affairs or Mountain Royale week-long trips in July or August 2017 where availability allows (T&Cs apply).

    For a chance of winning, email: andy@go-where.co.uk 

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