With the amazing Tweedlove bike festival coming up on 14-30 May 2016, we thought this would be a great time to showcase just how much the Scottish Borders can offer enthusiasts for mountain biking and motorhome holidays. We’ve always thought the Scottish Borders offer great biking and we’re not alone: the International Mountain Biking Association rates Scotland as a “Global Superstar” – one of the best places in the world to ride.
If you’re a mountain biker, Glentress and the area around Peebles and Innerleithen is definitely the place to be during the second half of May. Tweedlove offers events for everyone from children to grandparents, beginners to experienced competitors, mtb-ers to road racers and anyone else who likes to get out on a bike. There are family events too, where people of all ages take part without any competition.
But the Scottish Borders host mtb competitions at all times of year, and there’s plenty for non-competitive mountain bikers to do, too. The Scottish Forestry Commission has seven mountain biking trail centres (called the 7Stanes) right across the Borders, from Galloway to Innerleithen. The trails are designed to appeal to a wide range of riders, and there are skills areas where you can practice your mountain bike techniques. There are also mountain bike trails at Kielder Forest, just across the border into England, run by the English Forestry Commission.
Probably the best-known place to go mountain biking in the Scottish Borders is one of the 7Stanes: Glentress Forest, which has Green, Blue, Red and Black graded trails; bike hire, repairs and sales; and courses and individual tuition. Glentress plays a large part in the Tweedlove festival. Not far from Glentress are the notorious Red Bull downhill and cross-country trails at Innerleithen.
If you want a break from mountain bike riding, you can try horse riding instead at one of several livery and trekking stables in the Peebles and Kelso areas. There’s also excellent walking on Southern Upland Way or, if you want something a little less challenging, you can take a hike along the River Tweed or follow the 13 km John Buchan Way.
There’s world-class salmon, grayling and trout fishing on the Upper Tweed. The 21 golf courses in the area range from the 9-hole riverside course at Innerleithen to the 18-hole championship course at Cardrona, where the European Challenge tour has played.
The delightful old market town of Peebles is worth a visit, while Innerleithen boasts Robert Smail’s Printing Works, where they still print all sorts of publications using methods from the 19th century. The Tweed Valley is, of course, famous for its tweed and cashmere textile mills, some of which are open to the public.
Venture out and explore the Scottish Borders
The area is full of historic buildings, from the great ruined Abbeys at Melrose, Selkirk and Jedburgh to Sir Walter Scott’s house, Abbotsford, and Scotland’s oldest inhabited house, Traquair House. There’s even motorhome accommodation at one historic castle: Thirlestane Castle near Lauder , home of the Duke of Lauderdale, has a caravan park in the grounds.
Slightly less grand, but in a lovely position right by the River Tweed, is Tweedside Caravan Park at Innerleithen, the closest site to Glentress mountain biking centre. Glentress has camping lodges and you may be able to park your motorhome there if there isn’t a major mountain bike event happening.
Closer to Peebles are the Rosetta Caravan and Camping Park and Crossburn Caravans, and there’s also the Victoria Caravan and Camping Park at Selkirk. Just the other side of the hill from Innerleithen, on St Mary’s Loch, is Tibbie Shiels Inn Campsite. If there’s a big event on at Glentress, you may find a pitch here when other sites are full, because it’s a little bit further away; it’s worth the journey, though – St Mary’s Loch is a beautiful place.
Visitors to Scotland often head for the Highlands and ignore the Scottish Borders but hopefully this post has shown you just how much the area has to offer for mountain biking motorhome holidays – and lots more besides. It has beautiful rolling hills, history, lochs, and great mtb trails for all levels. So why not give it a try this summer? We can even rent you the bikes if you don’t want to bring your own.