Tag Archive: Women-Only

  1. Mountain Lassies Enduro Raid Lite | Easy > Intermediate

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    Enduro Raid Lite™

    Entry Level Enduro!

    Different vibes, different attitudes – because sometimes you just want to ride with other women. We get that, and this trip’s for women looking to progress from trail centre to more natural trail riding; the Enduro Raid Lite is a great introduction to enduro and gently eases you into the UK’s enduro epicentre – the Tweed Valley in the Scottish Borders with tons of support from our friendly coaches.

    Home to the best loved 7Stanes Glentress and Innerleithen trail centres, in 2009 MBR Magazine set out with us in pursuit of the disused, the forgotten and the remote – and since then the area has become infamous for its gnarly off-piste trails. Join us on this guided bike adventure and we’ll surprise you with some of the more introductory enduro trails to be discovered!

    The Trip

    The Tweed Valley’s riddled with superb riding – what we’ll work towards are some of the spiciest, fun, natural trails in the world.

    • Type of TripEnduro Backcountry and trail-centre link ups to access unforgettable technical ‘enduro’ descents
    • Trip Grading2+
    • How Long? Two nights / days (ask us about longer trips!)

    Here’s what you can expect

    • Graded Rides Every trip is packed with two superb guided rides (Saturday and Sunday)
    • Accommodation Two nights fantastic B&B accommodation right at the heart of the riding (Friday and Saturday)
    • Professional Guides Expertly trained, hugely experienced but most of all great fun and with a wealth of local knowledge to share!
    • Professional mountain bike coaching to help you improve your technical skills and ride with confidence
    • Post ride yoga with local expert combining breathing techniques and flow-based strengthening movement
    • Comprehensive Support Including First Aid and mechanical assistance throughout your trip
    • Detailed pre-departure information
    • Trip photos
    • Join the trip in the Tweed Valley, Scottish Borders

    Trip Dates

    • Available exclusively on your preferred dates

    Believe the Hype!

    Believe us when we say there’s a whole load more to the Tweed Valley than just the phenomenal trail centres – why else would the Enduro World Series roll into town two years on the trot?!

  2. Mountain Lassies Torrid Affair | Intermediate

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    Torrid Affair™

    Magical Wilderness

    It’s not easy to put into words – different vibes, different attitudes – because sometimes you just want to ride with other women. We get that, and we’ve been excited about running women’s mountain bike tours in Scotland since day one. So, close your eyes for a second – imagine being transported to a world of rock slabs, towering mountains, glens and sea lochs stretching as far as the eye can see. Add mountain bikes and you’re getting close to the landscapes and terrain we’ll be riding on the Torrid Affair mountain bike adventure – check out our bike partner’s video and our guest reviews for a flavour of what’s in store!

    We’ve been exploring this area for 10+ years, and it might sound corny but no matter how often we ride in this remote corner of Scotland the sheer scale of the mountains and the quality of the trails never fail to blow us and our guests away as we unload the bikes and take our first pedal strokes deep into this magical wilderness.

    When we shared this epic place with Danny Milner of MBR Magazine he was smitten after the very first pedal stroke into the glens:

    “A torrid affair: The hills around Torridon in the Scottish Highlands are beautiful enough to inspire a holiday romance, with GO-WHERE as our trusty chaperone.”

    They voted it ‘Trail of the Year 2011′ after spending a week with us cherry picking the best riding in the area, so come find out whether they were exaggerating or not!

    And as if the opportunity to ride in this remote corner of Scotland wasn’t reward enough in itself, where conditions and stamina allow, we explore the whole northwestern corner of Scotland, and load up and hop over the sea to the Isle of Skye to take on the might of the rugged Cuillins too!

    The Trip

    Every sense, every muscle, every skill in your mountain biking armoury will be challenged and rewarded in equal measure as we ride in a landscape where dinosaurs wouldn’t look out of place – the North West Highlands and Islands of Scotland are a truly must ride destination!

    • Type of TripAll-mountain
    • Technical Grading and above
    • Endurance Grading and above
    • How Long? 6 nights / 7 days (Saturday to Friday)

    Trip Highlights

    • An expertly curated week-long mountain bike adventure in the Northwest Highlands and the Inner Hebrides Islands
    • Local hospitality gems we’ve had the pleasure of trying, tasting and testing over the years
    • Optional private whisky tasting
    • Mini adventure on the beautiful Isle of Raasay (includes ferry tickets)
    • Professional Guides – expertly trained, hugely experienced but most of all great fun and with a wealth of local knowledge to share!
    • Accommodation in a stunning lochside lodge in the heart of the Northwest Highlands – the perfect hub for your adventure
    • Delicious help yourself buffet breakfasts to set you up for the day
    • Logistics and comprehensive support including backup vehicle, First Aid and mechanical assistance throughout your trip
    • Detailed pre-departure information
    • Trip photo album

    Trip Dates

    • Available exclusively on your preferred dates

    If you have different dates in mind please contact us to discuss opening up a new trip for your group.

    Essential Information

    Itinerary*

    Saturday

    Trips typically begin with a fresh coffee (of course!) and a rendezvous around 08:30 in the Tweed Valley with alternative pick-ups in Edinburgh, Perth and Inverness (full details are sent out beforehand).

    After high-fives and handshakes, a last-minute supply run may be the order of the day, then we safely secure our precious cargo onto our custom bike trailer, load the minibus, turn on the tunes and kick off the adventure!

    As we truck north to our secret loch-side HQ, we’ll treat ourselves to a tasty post-lunch ride on some lesser-known trail delights. By the time we swing into the Glen we’ll be ready to crack open the beers and rustle up a hearty dinner – and maybe even enjoy an ale or a dram* by the fire overlooking tomorrow’s mountains.

    *Maybe best not overdo it though…Day 2 might be a big one!

    Sunday

    Waking up to 360 degree epicness – stunning views of mountains rising straight from the loch; it’s quite a spot to polish off a hearty breakfast, drain the last drop of fresh java from the cafétière before donning bike gear, fettling bikes and steering a course for those very same peaks.

    Day 2 could be a ‘three-sandwich’ kind of day…whichever route we pick, prepare to be out in the mountains all day, picking the best lines amongst the boulder strewn singletrack the northwest highlands are notorious for. You can expect the bike to be over your shoulder or on your back at points – the riding in this part of Scotland has its challenges for everyone, but the best descents in Europe are well worth the effort. And the awesome mountain backdrop helps take the sting out of the climbs so don’t forget your camera!

    Plus, we all know the beer tastes sweeter when it’s earned.

    Monday

    On day 3 it’s time to return to the big mountain buffet for a flavour of your choosing: there’s no shortage of new trails and new views to blow your socks off! With a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast under our belts, there should be plenty of fuel in the tank to get right back to it and get stuck in to the good stuff.

    By now you’ll be getting your eye in, and hopefully understanding why we just can’t keep ourselves away from this place. Big climbs, big scenery, big smiles: it’s all there to be earned. Serious days call for serious relaxation back at base though, so alongside a hearty evening meal we can raise a glass to our achievements so far.

    Tuesday

    We’ll see how everybody’s feeling after two big mountain days – today’s an optional chill-out or ‘lighter’ ride day on the enchanting island of Raasay.

    You might be curious to see the area at a slightly more leisurely pace, or just burning to know what the local whisky tastes like! As good as it is, this part of Scotland has a lot going for it to compliment the great riding, so we’ll make sure to show you a little of the special character of the area.

    Wednesday

    Today’s one of those mornings where the mountain views from a cosy bed may slow up progress for a while, but what’s waiting for us on the Isle of Skye has a stronger pull than the duvet!

    We’ll pick a tasty route – whether an epic point-to-point, a stunning coastal loop, or a short uber-technical alpine sortie, or even a combo if time and stamina allow. We’ll grab coffee and cake after the ride (are you sensing we like our coffee!!) and by the time we roll back to HQ in the evening, it’ll be time for a loch side BBQ, a hearty home-cooked meal or some pub fayre served locally.

    Thursday

    Retracing the ancient coffin road (singletrack) across the Applecross Peninsula we’ll climb onto an exposed headland with stunning views all around, before weaving our way to the coast, climbing and descending on some of the world’s most ancient rock. Singletrack created by the Gods!

    Your prayers will be answered because the ride finishes nearby one of Scotland’s finest and friendliest seafood restaurants – the Applecross Inn. After a late lunch at the Inn, we’ll travel over the UK’s most alpine pass – Bealach-na-Ba – to catch the setting sun as we truck back to HQ. There might be some legs that are glad for the relief, but we reckon your head will be bursting with ideas and dreams to come back here!

    Friday

    Just as you’re getting into the groove, you realise it’s our very last day…after a relaxed breakfast, we’ll sort out our kit, take one last look at this incredible part of Scotland before starting our homeward journey south.

    *The itinerary provided for each trip is representative of the types of activities contemplated, but the route, schedules, itineraries, amenities and mode of transport may be subject to alteration without prior notice due to local conditions, circumstances or events.

    Trip Grading


    We want you to pick the right mountain bike trip in Scotland for your fitness and technical ability – it helps ensure you’ll be riding with people of a similar skill level and can ride at the pace you want to ride at.

    We’ve developed a trip grading based on our experience riding the terrain that features on our trips, as well as meeting and learning from riders from all over the world and understanding their expectations.
    Please read the following guidelines carefully to ensure you pick a mountain bike holiday in Scotland suited to your skill and fitness. If you are unsure if a trip is right for you, please contact us.

    Technical Ratings

    This trip will be enjoyed by riders at grade 3 or above.

    The goal of the Technical Rating is to understand the ability of the rider as it pertains to obstacles, conditions and trail design. This means it has nothing to do with your physical endurance, but is instead strictly a measure of your technical ability. Making sure you accurately rate your technical ability will ensure you have an exciting ride, while remaining within your ability level to keep you safe.

    We use ‘+’ to designate when a trip is at the top of a grading e.g 2+ is just below grading 3; and ‘++’ when a trip grading subsumes all other higher gradings e.g. 3++ would be suitable for 3+ riders as well as grading 4 and 5 riders.

    Rating: 3

    You are a confident mountain biker and have been riding technical terrain for at least 2 years including exposed singletrack and rough landrover track, on uneven, loose and frequent steep gradients, with frequent variation in trail surfaces from rocks to roots. You are comfortable riding on trails approximately 12 inches wide that vary greatly in their stability and may be unpredictable including loose rock. You are comfortable regularly traversing unavoidable obstacles such as roots, rocks, logs and drop offs up to 15 inches tall, and some obstacles encountered may exceed that.

    Rating: 4

    You are an expert mountain biker and have been riding expert level trails for at least 5 years. You think of yourself as a ‘mountain biker’ and you already know that the more competent a bike handler you are beforehand, the more you’ll get from the trip; you’re confident riding unpredictable terrain and using bunny hopping and front/rear wheel lifting techniques and relish unpredictable, varied natural ungraded trail surfaces including a mix of flowy and loose rocky or rooty singletrack, landrover tracks, steep technical climbs (including hike-a-bike sections) and descents, frequent rocks, slabs and water bar drainage features.

    You are comfortable riding on trails of any width that are highly unstable and are completely unpredictable including loose rock. You are comfortable regularly traversing unavoidable obstacles such as roots, rocks, logs and drop offs well over 15 inches tall, and many obstacles encountered will exceed that. You are comfortable riding any technical trail features that may be present on the trail.

    Rating: 5

    Level 5 is reserved for our Level 4 Expert riders who live and breath mountain biking and take every opportunity to manual, nose-wheelie and bunnyhop the trails. You love the biggest, most technically challenging trail features – up or down. Speaking of which, you also know that in order to go down, you must pedal (and carry) up and can handle any trail conditions or obstacles identified in Level 4.

    Endurance Ratings

    This trip will be enjoyed by riders who rate themselves 3 or higher for endurance.

    The goal of the Endurance Rating is to understand the ability of the rider as it pertains to overall physical endurance. Riding on the road or in “Spin Class” is great and all, but mountain biking is a completely different animal (ask anyone who has made the switch). The reason being is that the terrain is changing every second, which forces your entire body and your mind to be involved in the exercise process. This exertion will cause exhaustion to set in a lot quicker than you think. Be sure you read the descriptions carefully because we want you to have fun out there, not think this is a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

    Rating: 3

    You are an avid mountain biker riding twice a week or more, and the weather isn’t a big factor for you. You are at an above-average fitness level, and regularly do other activities that qualify as exercise. You usually find yourself riding for 3 hours on the trails, you’ll ride on consecutive days, and you ride at a moderate pace.

    Rating: 4

    You are a very avid mountain biker, who is considered an ‘athlete’ by friends and only getting out on the trails twice in the week is a bad week for you. Riding and exercising is a frequent part of your weekly routine: you relish sustained challenging riding including long rides of 4 – 6 hours at a moderate pace for four or more days in a row. The weather is never a factor for you, rain or shine – you are riding.

    Rating: 5

    You are fit! You devour 6 – 8 + hour rides for five or more days in a row. You are an XC or Enduro racer who probably missed their flight to the World Cup / Enduro World Series this year because you were too busy training so you opted to come for a ride with us instead. You train on your mountain bike daily, and you are comfortable riding on trails for distances in excess of 60km per day and climbing vertical in excess of 7000 feet in a day. You ride your bike everywhere, in all weather conditions, and would likely enjoy riding in a hurricane.

    Accommodation


    Where we stay during our mountain bike tours of Scotland plays almost as big a part in the overall experience as the trails we ride.

    We use a wide variety of accommodation, from wild camping and bothy huts in remote wilderness settings to rustic hostels through to comfortable and friendly inns and guest houses, luxury self catering lodges, castles and everything in between.

    Lodge

    On this trip, we stay in a ‘lodge’ on a bed and breakfast basis – think of it a bit like a ski lodge (without the snow obviously!); a comfortable self-catering vacation rental chalet in the heart of mountain biking heaven.

    Our lodges provide a fantastic base in a prime location to come back to at the end of a big day in the hills – with the added benefit that you don’t need to unpack and repack throughout your trip, and the flexibility of full catering, laundry and drying facilities at your disposal.

    Food & Drink


    Mountain biking in Scotland means you will be hungry (very hungry!) and despite the remoteness of this particular trip, there are opportunities to enjoy great fresh Scottish fayre and of course a dram or two and a fine local ale!

    Breakfasts

    Breakfasts are included and are provided on a help yourself continental style basis to set you up for the day e.g fruits, yogurts, muesli, cereals, porridge, juices, breads etc (dietary requirements are taken into account from your booking).

    Lunches

    ​There will be opportunities for you to buy packed lunch provisions to carry on the rides, or, depending on routes we may enjoy a great cafe stop or lunch at a traditional Inn (your guides will let you know the plan each day).

    Evening Meals

    Some meals are enjoyed in locally selected inns and bistros, and for the rest, provisions will be purchased on your behalf by ourselves to enjoy preparing meals at the beautiful accommodation facilities. A lochside BBQ is also a regular occurrence (your guides will let you know the plan each day).

    Budget

    We estimate a budget of £20 to £35 per person per day is adequate for lunches and evening meals with refreshments.

    Buying Provisions

    On the journey north, we’ll be stopping off in the city of Inverness – here we will refuel and have access to a great selection of lunch, snack and alcohol supplies. During the course of the trip, as well as relying on local suppliers, on occasion, we arrange online shopping deliveries to our accommodation.

    Included

    Included

    Experience a week exploring the best trails of the Northwest Highlands and the Isle of Skye expertly curated to pack an unforgettable punch

    Professional Guides (two minimum) – expertly trained, hugely experienced but most of all great fun and with a wealth of local knowledge to share!

    Six nights accommodation in a stunning lochside lodge in the heart of the Northwest Highlands

    Help yourself buffet breakfasts to set you up for the day

    Free transport (start/finish of the trip)

    Shuttles throughout the trip

    Mini adventure on the beautiful Isle of Raasay (includes travel and ferry tickets)

    Backup vehicle

    Qualified first aid assistance

    Mechanical assistance throughout your trip

    Your first meal with refreshments is our welcome to you (no cost)

    Ping-pong (everybody’s favourite!)

    BBQ facilities on the lochside deck

    Apres-bike swimming in the Loch!

    Full kitchen, laundry and drying facilities

    Secure bike storage

    Bike wash facilities

    Detailed pre-departure information

    Trip photo album

    Excluded

    Meals and drinks except breakfasts and those stated above

    Travel Insurance

    Personal Equipment

    Additional transportation or accommodation should you be unable to complete the trip

    Extras

    Bike Rental

    Equipment Rental

    Vehicle Rental

    Additional accommodation before, during or after the trip

    Additional transportation

    Baggage / bike box collection & storage

    Single room supplement (if applicable)

    Logistics

    Outward Travel

    Initial departure point: 08:45, Co-op Supermarket​, Innerleithen (free parking available)

    Pick-up point two: 09:30/45, Edinburgh Park train station

    Rendezvous point: Lochside Avenue entrance / Premier Inn (Gyle) side of the track (Edinburgh Airport Tram connection is available​, 12 min journey)

    Pick-up point three: 10:30/45, Perth Services Travelodge Hotel​, Perth

    Pick-up point four: 12:30/45, Aviemore Train Station ​, Aviemore

    Journey time to the accommodation in Strathcarron is approximately five hours excluding stops

    Near Aviemore, we’ll have a quick lunch in a fantastic bistro and afterwards enjoy a short two hour ride to sample the trails and stretch the legs before continuing northwards

    In Inverness – approx 17:00/30 – we’ll refuel and pick up essential supplies before the last leg of our journey to Strathcarron, arriving at the lodge approximately 19:30

    Return Travel

    At the end of the trip, we will be arriving back in the Edinburgh (Park) area around 15:00/16:00, and Innerleithen by 16:00/17:00

    Luggage & Bike Transportation

    For all trips, there is allowance for one large holdall plus riding backpack per person

    Regrettably, we do not have provision to store/carry bike bags and boxes during trips – please ask your accommodation e.g. in Edinburgh if they can store it for you; most will be happy to. Please request this service in advance

    Bikes are securely carried (fully-assembled) and attached to our custom Burtech trailer and should be ready fully assembled for the trip start

    We always recommend guest bikes are fully insured

    Equipment

    Suitable Bikes

    A fully serviced 3 – 6 inch travel full suspension bike with dropper seatpost and hydraulic disc brakes is recommended

    It’s entirely possible to take part in our trips on more modest setups or hardtails but we find that over the course of several consecutive days riding, the added comfort and confidence of a full suspension trail bike is a real asset, and enhances the overall experience

    Rental Bikes

    If you prefer not to travel with your bike, or you’d like to try something new, we have access to some of the best full suspension mountain bikes available from brands including Santa Cruz, Juliana, Trek, Orange and Whyte to name just a few

    If you’re interested in hiring a great bike, we have fantastic deals from our retail partners– available from £50 per day – so please just ask or add this option to your trip on the booking page

    If you’re hiring a bike, for your safety and comfort we always recommend bringing your
    own helmet and pedals

    Groups & Individuals


    We welcome solo travellers (in fact most of our guests travel solo) but did you know that if you’re making a group booking (2+ riders) you’ll automatically save money at the checkout (e.g. up to £75 for a group of seven) whether you’re booking for a club, colleagues, friends or family – whoever’s in your tribe.

    To secure a booking, we require a 25% deposit when the reservation is made, with the balance payable within 60 days of your booking commencement. For bookings made less than 60 days before booking commencement, full payment is required at the time of booking.

    Expert Guides


    Our guides are fully trained and qualified to the highest standards required to operate in the mountain environments where our trips take place.

    “So what, we’re a bunch of friends, we ride lots and we’re pretty good at navigation.”

    We hear this all the time, and we don’t want to baby anyone. That’s why we offer self-guided packages too, once we’re confident that our clients will be safe first, and have a great experience second.

    Scotland is a beautiful but wild place. When you pay for our services, you’re paying for the reassurance that we know our way around the mountains, how to read people, the local conditions, logistics, fix mechanicals and always have a another ‘plan A’ up our sleeve.

    As well as being extraordinarily great human beings (as standard!), all our mountain bike guides hold, as a minimum, the Mountain Bike Leader qualification and emergency outdoor first aid qualifications. We believe these to be the most robust and rigorous qualifications in the business and the minimum standard for running trips like ours in Scotland. They’re not easy to come by but your enjoyment is our business.

    Safety


    An adventure wouldn’t be an ‘adventure’ without a degree of risk. It’s our job to manage those risks so you have the best time possible. As well as substantial field first aid kits, your mountain bike guides will be packing (or distributing among the group) essential group emergency items including mobile telecom’s, VHF long-range radios, emergency survival shelters, and extra emergency clothing and supplies.

    Speaking of guides – we operate with the highest ratio of professional guides to clients in the industry. The current regulations permit one guide per group of eight. We don’t agree this is acceptable. We’re a lot more comfortable with at least two staff per eight clients, and a maximum group size of eight in the sensitive mountain environments we run our trips. Sure, we might not be the most profitable outfit in the industry but we strive to be the safest.

    We employ robust late back procedures, and every trip is fully risk assessed. While no one can guarantee a 100% safe trip, we do everything possible to minimise risks. And long before we depart we ensure the trip is suitable for you – none of this one size fits all approach – it simply doesn’t work.

    Environment

    Only one thing matches our desire to enjoy Scotland’s amazing outdoors and that’s our commitment to contribute to sustainable adventure tourism in Scotland.

    We operate ‘small footprint’ mountain bike adventures to minimise any negative environmental impacts of running our business. We are often asked about running large group trips in remote, sensitive locations but in line with our safety and environmental policy – that’s not really our forté.

    As well as being members of the key environmental organisations in Scotland, we encourage our clients to consider their interaction with the environments they are riding wherever possible. We also make use of local hospitality, products and services to ensure our trips contribute economically to the rural environments we enjoy so much. We took another small step in the right direction recently by becoming members of ‘1% for the Planet’. But we must do more.

    Financial Protection

    Consumer Financial Protection

    Our Consumer Financial Protection insurance protects your money. This is in fact a legal requirement but not every adventure company even knows this and some choose to ignore it. Why? Because it’s expensive and complicated to become fully insured in this way, and not every application is accepted. Ours was. Your money is safe with us.

    Tour Operators Liability

    Did you know that in the UK it’s us, the tour operators, who are liable for all aspects of your mountain bike holiday bike package in Scotland? That’s why we have ‘Tour Operators Liability Cover’. Always ask your supplier if they have this insurance. You need it and they should have it.

    Reviews


    We work hard to maintain high professional standards but you probably wouldn’t know it because we’re having way too much fun. Ten years on it still puts the biggest smile on our faces when our clients take time out to tell us how much they enjoyed their mountain bike trip in Scotland. See what ‘Our Clan’ have to say about their mountain bike holiday on Google and via our trip reviews.

    Trip Tips

    Throw out those skinny lightweight cross-country tyres –  this trip is screaming out for sturdy rubber and big volume casings!

  3. Find Your Inner Enduro

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    We’re mega fortunate to have a community of riders around us who’re not shy when it comes to telling us what they want. And we love it when we can respond by adding a brand new trip to our roster that meets those needs.

    Ta daaa!! Introducing the ‘Enduro Raid Lite’ – a fun intro-level enduro weekend, with mega support from our awesome coaches plus post-shred yoga to help build strength in the right places. There’s seven spots available for the September (27th to 29th) trip and we have an introductory offer – priced £295 per rider.

    Enduro Raid Lite Womens Enduro Weekend Camp Tweed valley Scotland UK

    Here’s what’s included:

    ✓ An expertly curated weekend introduction to enduro mountain biking in the beautiful Tweed Valley (one hour south of Edinburgh)
    ✓ Professional Guides – expertly trained, hugely experienced but most of all great fun and with a wealth of local knowledge to share (Saturday and Sunday rides)
    ✓ Professional mountain bike coaching to help you improve your technical skills and ride with confidence
    ✓ Post ride yoga with local expert combining breathing techniques and flow-based strengthening movement (Saturday)
    ✓ Two nights fantastic B&B accommodation right at the heart of the riding (Friday and Saturday)
    ✓ Delicious buffet breakfasts to set you up for the day
    ✓ Logistics and comprehensive support including First Aid and mechanical assistance throughout your trip

    Tell me more! It’s a trip for female riders looking to gain their enduro wings and progress from trail centre to more natural trail riding. The Enduro Raid Lite is a great introduction to enduro and gently welcomes you to the UK’s enduro epicentre – the Tweed Valley in the Scottish Borders.

    Womens Enduro Weekend Holiday Enduro Raid Lite Tweed Valley Scotland UK

    The Tweed Valley’s riddled with superb riding – the area has become infamous for its gnarly off-piste trails – what we’ll work towards are some of the spicier, fun natural trails. Join us on this guided bike adventure and we’ll surprise you with what can be achieved over two days with expert coaching – before you know it, you too will be shredding the gnar!

    BOOK HERE (using code RAID295).

  4. Soul Trails

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    Soul trails

    WOMEN ONLY CAIRNGORM BIKEPACKING ADVENTURE

    Soul Trails brings a fresh new twist to our Mountain Lassies adventures, and for 2019, we are combining our favourite bikepacking routes with our favourite adventurer – Anka Martin. What makes this trip even more special – every booking buys a bicycle to empower a young girl or woman living in rural Africa.

    Soul Trails is delighted to be teaming up with World Bicycle Relief who provide specially designed bicycles to communities in some of the most deprived areas of Africa. By being part of this trip, you will be making a difference to improving the lives of women through offering the simple solution of providing a bicycle to those who need it most.

    What can you expect? Wild landscapes, beautiful mountains criss-crossed by historic byways and ancient drove roads – passing lightly through glens once used by cattle rustlers, warring clans and local shepherds in times gone by. Pristine ribbons of singletrack leading to peaceful wild camping spots. Bliss.

    Our bikepacking adventure combines our favourite things – mountain biking and minimalist wild camping. Carrying only essential gear, on this journey through the Cairngorms National Park you’ll be immersed in one of the Scottish Highlands most magnificent mountain regions. Travelling self-supported with long days out in remote backcountry – this trip opens up a new world of possibilities and the opportunity to experience Scotland in the raw as we bivouac under the stars. Read Aneela’s blog for a flavour of where you’ll be riding.

    The Trip

    So, what makes Soul Trails with Anka so special? Guaranteed good times. Anka is a true free spirit and loves to be amongst the big mountains. She has many stories to share of of her bikepacking adventures – she’s travelled to many places across the world solo and with other like minded adventurers.

    • Learn from Anka’s experience as one of the world’s most seasoned riders, racers and adventurers – on and off the trail.
    • Ride in wild settings, enjoy the rugged landscapes while being on the journey taking on new challenges and finding new-found flow.
    • Go home with memories of a truly unforgettable experience and make lifelong buddies from around the world.

    Based on our favourite traverse of the Cairngorms, this bikepacking journey begins and ends in the small town of Blair Atholl. Over four days, you’ll be riding a 200km feast of mountain biking in the splendour of the Cairngorms and Deeside across some of Scotland’s most beautiful glens and long forgotten tracks we’ve uncovered over the years.

    Two nights are spent bivvying under the stars, out in the wild with nothing more than what you’re carrying on your bike. The other two nights you’ll be treated to some real highland hospitality in handpicked guest houses or inns. This way you get to experience the best of both worlds and have a bit of luxury (like hot showers!) along the way.

    Completely self supported, all you need for this adventure is your bike and the right kit to make your journey through the Highlands! Our professional guides will be there to help and fill in any missing blanks for you, whether that’s loading up your bike, getting your bivvy set up for a good night’s sleep or what food to cook!

    Don’t worry if you are a first time adventurer and have lots of questions about kit. We will guide you on what to bring with you or we can help organise you with kit if you don’t have your own such as bikepacking bags to load on to your bike, sleeping bag, camping mat, stove, tarp or bivvy bag.

    • Type of Trip
    • All-mountain

    • Technical Grading
    • Endurance Grading
    • How Long? This is a four day guided self-supported bikepacking adventure starting in Blair Atholl on Wednesday 4th September. We end our journey back in Blair Atholl on Saturday 7th September, having a night to chill after our big backcountry adventure before we head back to Edinburgh on Sunday morning.

    Here’s what you can expect

    • A four day journey self supported by bike exploring the lesser known trail gems of the Cairngorms and Deeside
    • Professional Guides – expertly trained, hugely experienced but most of all great fun and with a wealth of local knowledge to share!
    • Bed & Breakfast Accommodation for two nights at the beginning and end of the tour
    • Two nights wild camping
    • Food – Breakfasts and snacks included (for other meals, you’ll stock up in small towns as we pass through them)
    • Logistics and comprehensive support including complementary transportation at either end of the trip, First Aid and mechanical assistance throughout your trip
    • Detailed pre-departure information including Bikepacking kit list (Bikepacking kit can be rented directly from us – please contact us for more details)
    • Trip photos
    • Join the trip in Innerleithen, Edinburgh or Perth (alternative arrangements may be possible – please contact us to discuss)

    2019 Trip

    • Wednesday 4th to Sunday 8th September
    • Price £840 (includes price of a bicycle for World Bicycle Relief)
    • Essential Information

      Itinerary*

      Wednesday

      Did somebody say coffee?

      Trips typically begin with a fresh coffee (of course!) and a rendezvous around 8am in the Tweed Valley with pick-ups in Edinburgh and Perth (full details are sent out beforehand).

      After high-fives and handshakes, a last-minute supply run may be the order of the day, then we safely secure our precious cargo onto our custom bike trailer, load the minibus, turn on the tunes and kick off the adventure! 

As we truck north to the start of our adventure, we’ll get our bikepacking bags loaded onto the bikes and make sure everything is hanging together on the bike before we begin our journey.

      From the small town of Blair Atholl we will make our way through the southern Cairngorms and ease ourselves into the ride through the Gaick on a mix of gravel and singletrack. It won’t be too long until you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, in wide open landscapes and not a soul in sight.

      The final part of the day, we will wind our way through Glen Tromie to our accommodation. By the time we reach there, we’ll be ready to crack open the beers and fill ourselves up with a well deserved hearty dinner at our accommodation. You’ll be guaranteed to get a good night’s rest after our first day’s ride!

      Thursday

      After a good breakfast (and coffee of course!) our ride takes us over towards the beautiful village of Tomintoul. After passing the emerald green glow of An Lochan Uaine, our route takes us through the Ryvoan pass, up and over towards Tomintoul, the most northerly point in the loop.

      Here’s we’ll stock up before finding a magnificent spot to set up camp and rest our weary heads under the stars. We might even have a dram or two from Anka’s hip flask!

      Friday

      Kicking off the day with fresh coffee at camp we’ll get ourselves packed up and ready to head over towards Braemar. Today it’s big mountains and big flow. Epic panoramas are just one reward for the big climbs – the real dessert comes when we descend all the way down towards Braemar where we’ll stock up again before finding the perfect bivvy spot on route.

      Braemar is a lovely Scottish village based in the heart of the highlands and we might even stop off for a beer in the local pub!

      Saturday

      The tiny mountain town of Braemar is the gateway to the most rewarding backcountry mountain biking in Scotland – today’s going to be quite an ‘out there’ experience. We’ll experience big open landscapes making our way back toward Blair Atholl, with some of the sweetest singletrack that we’ll we’ll experience on our adventure.

      Blair Atholl is where it all began and we’ll take stock of what we’ve just achieved when we get there. High fives and group hugs will be the order of the day.

      The truck will be there to meet us, we’ll load up the bikes and head over to our accommodation to get showered up and ready to head out for dinner.

      Sunday

      After four big days of riding, we’ll enjoy a hearty breakfast before we make our way back south and say our goodbyes.

      Our final stop in Innerleithen will be around 1pm.

      Trip Grading


      We want you to pick the right mountain bike trip in Scotland for your fitness and technical ability – it helps ensure you’ll be riding with people of a similar skill level and can ride at the pace you want to ride at.

      We’ve developed a trip grading based on our experience riding the terrain that features on our trips, as well as meeting and learning from riders from all over the world and understanding their expectations.

      Please read the following guidelines carefully to ensure you pick a mountain bike holiday in Scotland suited to your skill and fitness. If you are unsure if a trip is right for you, please contact us.

      Technical Ratings

      This trip can be enjoyed by riders with technical level 3 skills. The goal of the Technical Rating is to understand the ability of the rider as it pertains to obstacles, conditions and trail design. This means it has nothing to do with your physical endurance, but is instead strictly a measure of your technical ability. Making sure you accurately rate your technical ability will ensure you have an exciting ride, while remaining within your ability level to keep you safe.

      Rating: 3

      You are a confident mountain biker and have been riding technical terrain for at least 2 years including exposed singletrack and rough landrover track, on uneven, loose and frequent steep gradients, with frequent variation in trail surfaces from rocks to roots. You are comfortable riding on trails approximately 12 inches wide that vary greatly in their stability and may be unpredictable including loose rock. You are comfortable regularly traversing unavoidable obstacles such as roots, rocks, logs and drop offs up to 15 inches tall, and some obstacles encountered may exceed that.

      Endurance Ratings

      This trip will be enjoyed by riders who rate themselves 3 or above for endurance.

      The goal of the Endurance Rating is to understand the ability of the rider as it pertains to overall physical endurance. Riding on the road or in “Spin Class” is great and all, but mountain biking is a completely different animal (ask anyone who has made the switch). The reason being is that the terrain is changing every second, which forces your entire body and your mind to be involved in the exercise process. This exertion will cause exhaustion to set in a lot quicker than you think. Be sure you read the descriptions carefully because we want you to have fun out there, not think this is a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

      Rating: 3

      You are an avid mountain biker or off-roader riding twice a week or more, and the weather isn’t a big factor for you. You are at an above-average fitness level, and regularly do other activities that qualify as exercise. You usually find yourself riding for 3 hours on the trails, you’ll ride on consecutive days, and you ride at a moderate pace.

      Accommodation


      Where we stay during our mountain bike tours of Scotland plays almost as big a part in the overall experience as the trails we ride.

      We use a wide variety of accommodation, from wild camping in remote wilderness settings to rustic hostels through to comfortable and friendly inns and guest houses, luxury self catering lodges, castles and everything in between.

      On this trip, we spend two night bivouacking under the stars and two nights in comfortable lodgings on the first and last day of our bikepacking adventure. This gives you the flexibility of being able to experience the glorious feeling of sleeping outside while having a warm bed and an opportunity to dry out your gear!

      Food & Drink


      Mountain biking in Scotland means you will be hungry (very hungry!) and despite the remoteness of this particular trip, there are opportunities to enjoy great fresh Scottish fayre and of course a dram or two and a fine ale!

      Breakfasts

      Breakfasts are included and are provided either at the accommodation or we’ll have some yummy breakfast options for camp (dietary requirements are taken into account from your booking).

      Lunches

      ​There will be opportunities for you to buy packed lunch provisions to carry on the rides, or, depending on timings and routes, we may enjoy a great cafe stop at a traditional Inn (your guides will let you know the plan each day).

      Evening Meals

      Some meals are enjoyed in locally selected inns and bistros, and for camp dinners, provisions will be purchased on a day to day basis at local shops to enjoy preparing our camp meals (your guides will let you know the plan each day).

      Budget

      We estimate a budget of £20 to £35 per person per day is adequate for lunches and evening meals with refreshments.

      Included

      Included

      A four day bikepacking adventure exploring the beautiful Cairngorm mountains – the vast majority off road over a huge variety of gravel and forest tracks, singletrack and bouldery paths.

      An ever changing landscape taking you to some truly special places across the Scottish Highlands.

      Professional Guides (two minimum) – expertly trained, hugely experienced but most of all great fun and with a wealth of local knowledge to share!

      Two nights accommodation in a Highland lodge and 2 night wild camping and bivvying under the stars

      Hearty breakfasts to set you up for the day

      Free transport (start/finish of the trip)

      Professional mountain bike guides

      Qualified first aid assistance

      Mechanical assistance throughout your trip

      Apres-bike swimming in the river!

      Secure bike storage at accommodation

      Bike wash facilities at accommodation

      Detailed pre-departure information

      Trip photo album

      Excluded

      Meals and drinks except breakfasts and those stated above

      Travel Insurance

      Personal Equipment

      Additional transportation or accommodation not mentioned above

      Extras

      Bike Rental

      Bikepacking luggage and equipment — this can be rented if you don’t have your own. Please contact us for more information.

      Vehicle Rental

      Additional accommodation before, during or after the trip

      Additional transportation

      Baggage / bike box collection & storage

      Single room supplement (if applicable)

      Logistics

      Outward Travel

      Initial departure point: 07:45, Co-op Supermarket​, Innerleithen (free parking available)

      Pick-up point two: 08:30/45, Edinburgh Park train station

      Rendezvous point: Lochside Avenue entrance / Premier Inn (Gyle) side of the track (Edinburgh Airport Tram connection is available​, 12 min journey)

      Pick-up point three: 9:30/45, Perth Services Travelodge Hotel​, Perth

      Journey time to the the start point is approximately ninety minutes excluding stops

      On our way north, we’ll pick up supplies in Perth.

      When we get dropped off at the start point, we’ll get our bikes loaded onto bikes and have a quick lunch before we start on the first leg of our journey.

      Return Travel

      At the end of the trip, we will be arriving back in the Edinburgh (Park) area around 12:00 and Innerleithen by 14:00.

      Luggage & Bike Transportation

      For this trip, it is important to keep your items compact and lightweight. You should have the right kit to fit into a handlebar bag, saddle bag and a bike backpack. We will send you a bikepacking kit list in advance of your trip so you can plan what you need to bring. You can keep any other items you are not taking on the trip in the Go Where truck and you pick them up again on Saturday when we get picked up in Blair Atholl.

      Regrettably, we do not have provision to store/carry bike bags and boxes during trips – please ask your accommodation e.g. in Edinburgh if they can store it for you; most will be happy to. Please request this service in advance

      Bikes are securely carried (fully-assembled) and attached to our custom Burtech trailer and should be ready fully assembled for the trip start

      We always recommend guest bikes are fully insured

      Equipment

      Suitable Bikes

      A fully serviced 3 – 6 inch travel full suspension bike with dropper seatpost and hydraulic disc brakes is recommended

      It’s entirely possible to take part in our trips on more modest setups or hardtails but we find that over the course of several consecutive days riding, the added comfort and confidence of a full suspension trail bike is a real asset, and enhances the overall experience

      Rental Bikes

      If you prefer not to travel with your bike, or you’d like to try something new, we have access to some of the best full suspension mountain bikes available from brands including Santa Cruz, Juliana, Trek, Orange and Whyte to name just a few

      If you’re interested in hiring a great bike, we have fantastic deals from our retail partners– available from £50 per day – so please just ask or add this option to your trip on the booking page

      If you’re hiring a bike, for your safety and comfort we always recommend bringing your
      own helmet and pedals

      Groups & Individuals


      We welcome solo travellers (in fact most of our guests travel solo) but did you know that if you’re making a group booking (2+ riders) you’ll automatically save money at the checkout (up to 18%) whether you’re booking for a club, colleagues, friends or family – whoever’s in your tribe.

      To secure a booking, we require a 25% deposit when the reservation is made, with the balance payable within 60 days of your booking commencement. For bookings made less than 60 days before booking commencement, full payment is required at the time of booking.

      Expert Guides


      Our guides are fully trained and qualified to the highest standards required to operate in the mountain environments where our trips take place.

      “So what, we’re a bunch of friends, we ride lots and we’re pretty good at navigation.”

      We hear this all the time, and we don’t want to baby anyone. That’s why we offer self-guided packages too, once we’re confident that our clients will be safe first, and have a great experience second.

      Scotland is a beautiful but wild place. When you pay for our services, you’re paying for the reassurance that we know our way around the mountains, how to read people, the local conditions, logistics, fix mechanicals and always have a another ‘plan A’ up our sleeve.

      As well as being extraordinarily great human beings (as standard!), all our mountain bike guides hold, as a minimum, the Mountain Bike Leader qualification and emergency outdoor first aid qualifications. We believe these to be the most robust and rigorous qualifications in the business and the minimum standard for running trips like ours in Scotland. They’re not easy to come by but your enjoyment is our business.

      Safety


      An adventure wouldn’t be an ‘adventure’ without a degree of risk. It’s our job to manage those risks so you have the best time possible. As well as substantial field first aid kits, your mountain bike guides will be packing (or distributing among the group) essential group emergency items including mobile telecom’s, VHF long-range radios, emergency survival shelters, and extra emergency clothing and supplies.

      Speaking of guides – we operate with the highest ratio of professional guides to clients in the industry. The current regulations permit one guide per group of eight. We don’t agree this is acceptable. We’re a lot more comfortable with at least two staff per eight clients, and a maximum group size of eight in the sensitive mountain environments we run our trips. Sure, we might not be the most profitable outfit in the industry but we strive to be the safest.

      We employ robust late back procedures, and every trip is fully risk assessed. While no one can guarantee a 100% safe trip, we do everything possible to minimise risks. And long before we depart we ensure the trip is suitable for you – none of this one size fits all approach – it simply doesn’t work.

      Environment

      Only one thing matches our desire to enjoy Scotland’s amazing outdoors and that’s our commitment to contribute to sustainable adventure tourism in Scotland.

      We operate ‘small footprint’ mountain bike adventures to minimise any negative environmental impacts of running our business. We are often asked about running large group trips in remote, sensitive locations but in line with our safety and environmental policy – that’s not really our forté.

      As well as being members of the key environmental organisations in Scotland, we encourage our clients to consider their interaction with the environments they are riding wherever possible. We also make use of local hospitality, products and services to ensure our trips contribute economically to the rural environments we enjoy so much. We took another small step in the right direction recently by becoming members of ‘1% for the Planet’. But we must do more.

      Financial Protection

      Consumer Financial Protection

      Our Consumer Financial Protection insurance protects your money. This is in fact a legal requirement but not every adventure company even knows this and some choose to ignore it. Why? Because it’s expensive and complicated to become fully insured in this way, and not every application is accepted. Ours was. Your money is safe with us.

      Tour Operators Liability

      Did you know that in the UK it’s us, the tour operators, who are liable for all aspects of your mountain bike holiday bike package in Scotland? That’s why we have ‘Tour Operators Liability Cover’. Always ask your supplier if they have this insurance. You need it and they should have it.

      Reviews


      We work hard to maintain high professional standards but you probably wouldn’t know it because we’re having way too much fun. Ten years on it still puts the biggest smile on our faces when our clients take time out to tell us how much they enjoyed their mountain bike trip in Scotland. See what ‘Our Clan’ have to say about their mountain bike holiday on Google and via our trip reviews.

  5. Mountain Lassies | Easy > Advanced

    Comments Off on Mountain Lassies | Easy > Advanced

    Mountain Lassies Tours

    The difference is real

    It’s not easy to put into words – different vibes, different attitudes – because sometimes you just want to ride with other women. We get that, and we’ve been excited about running women’s mountain bike tours in Scotland since day one. Seeing more and more rad female riders bitten by the same bug that got us hooked way back in the 80s is awesome – we even polled our guests recently and they told us loud and clear “YES PLEASE, keep on doing what you’re doing!”

    These mountain bike tours are run for women, entirely by women. They’re not a rebadged version of our other trips. And unlike some, we sure wouldn’t hop on some kind of ‘new market opportunity’. Our mountain bike holidays are quite unique in so many subtle ways. And we’re very proud of them.

    If you’re bursting for a big bike adventure and fun-times and want to ride truly amazing trails in Scotland with other like-minded women – we’ll be there with you to experience Scotland’s best mountain biking, to push your comfort zone as much or as little as you like, to laugh and to share the stoke. And you can be sure the rest of the crew will be 100% sharing it with you.

    What makes the Mountain Lassies tours unique?

    • Higher than average ‘Camaraderie Quotient’ – feel strong knowing you’ll get as much or as little guidance as you’ll need!
    • Become more mountain savvy – planning for big mountain rides, learn trail repairs, learn how to read the local conditions and terrain (or if you’re already a super-confident all-rounder – come on board and share your expertise with the group!)
    • Ease out of your comfort zone – conquer those obstacles and push that little bit further
    • Guaranteed good times – have fun on and off the bike and make new friends from around the world

    The Trips

    Positive focus on your strengths and all the amazing aspects of biking – riding in amazing places, absorbing amazing scenery, new challenges and finding new-found flow! Ride for yourself – no need to worry about pace or ‘keeping up.’

    • Type of TripAll-mountain & Enduro
    • Trip Grading Each trip is individually graded so you can find one that suits where your riding is at (or where you want to take it to)
    • How Long? Two to seven days

    The Logistics

    Book a mountain bike trip with us and we’ll sort out your itinerary, logistics, great accommodation and fun, friendly professional female mountain bike guides for the rides.

    Here’s what you can expect

    • Graded Rides Every trip is packed with superb riding – find the one geared towards your abilities and preferences
    • Accommodation Fantastic B&B cabin or luxury Lodge accommodation right at the heart of the riding
    • Expert female Guides Professional mountain bike guides who know exactly what makes for an epic adventure with a wealth of local knowledge to share!
    • Comprehensive Support Including First Aid and mechanical assistance throughout your trip
    • Explore the best trails in Scotland (and probably the world!)
    • Detailed pre-departure information
    • Trip photos

    Trip Dates

    • Available exclusively on your preferred dates

    Hot Tips

    Curious about these trips but not quite sure if it’s really for you? Drop us a line and we’ll talk through the whole adventure with you!

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