When: Sunday 1 October 2017
Where: Kirroughtree MTB Centre, Galloway Forest Park, Dumfries, DG8 7BE
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Why ride it? Wild wilderness forest tracks on exposed moorland, not technically challenging but it will take you into remote areas seldom, if ever, ridden before.
The Galloway Gallop route is predominantly forest road so is significantly less technical than some other rounds, however that doesn’t mean there is no variation in surface as you will be riding everything from loose gravel to bedrock or even crushed shells, a highly unusual man-made surface. There is plenty of challenging climbs and the views at the top are breathtaking, more so than the effort of climbing them. Hold something back for Archie’s Alp which occurs right at the end of both routes and is a test for your legs even when fresh.
If you are a Strava user, for a more detailed look at the route map and for a 3D route profile click here.
One of the key things to be aware of is the exposed nature of parts of this route, whilst there are lots of sections within the shelter of the forests there is also long stretches of open moorland. Fingers crossed for a glorious September day like last year but even so make sure you are carrying extra layers.
Galloway forest was given the status of Dark-Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky association, a reflection of how empty the park is – there are no homes or street lights to pollute the night sky. However whilst the forest appears initially empty of man-made intrusions, the evidence of human activity is all around.
The route runs along part of an old railway line and through an old platform, it’s one of the only giveaways, other than the viaduct that you ride across, that a railway ever existed there. A local landowner claims that the moment when John Buchan jumped off the train in 39 steps was inspired by the terrain at Loch Skerrow and Big Water of Fleet Viaduct. The platform at Loch Skerrow, that the route passes, was one of the highest and most remote in the country.
Of all the Adventure Cross routes this is the most remote and wild, a real antidote to the busy and often over-crowded roads many of us ride on. The Galloway Gallop is definitely an experience not to miss out on.
CW difficulty rating:
Technical terrain difficulty: 3/5 (on cross bike)
Wilderness Riding 3/5
Enter at: UK Cycling Events
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