Hate crowds, love singletrack?
There’s nothing wrong with getting right out there and experiencing some wilderness. Escape from it all with our pick of the UK’s best remote rides.
If you like it wild and lonely you’re in luck – we’ve found some of the most remote singletrack in the UK. Just make sure you go prepared!
NB: Please don’t travel to these places unless local and government COVID-19 guidelines permit. Please check before travelling and use common sense.
Border Reiver, Northumberland/Scotland
GPS download bit.ly/northumberlandride
Northumberland is blessed with a huge, open landscape and more sheep than people – in fact it’s England’s least populated county. Things aren’t any busier over the border in Scotland, proving you don’t need to travel to the Highlands to escape the crowds.
This is a whopper of a route through The Cheviot Hills, split evenly north and south of the border. It can be cut short just as you reach the border near Windy Gyle or by turning left rather than right at the bottom of Bowmont Water just before Sourhope.
Torridon, Scottish Highlands
GPS download bit.ly/torridonride
It doesn’t get more remote than the Scottish Highlands. Thankfully the riding and the scenery are as good as it is quiet. This Torridon loop delivers on all fronts and the singletrack is some of the finest in the UK. Expect every type of weather, plan for all eventualities and pack accordingly. Speaking of which, this is a properly big ride, one that benefits from taking your time and enjoying the solitude. So pack a tent or bivvy bag, break the ride into two days and enjoy a night under the stars/midgies, either out in the wild or at the campsite in Torridon.
Richmondshire, Yorkshire Dales
GPS download bit.ly/dalesisolation
Nowhere does nothing quite like the Yorkshire Dales – it’s full of it. A landscape that seems to be devoid of anything other than heather, the occasional sheep and the remains of old mine workings, it’s like another world. One thing it has an abundance of though is contour lines. Enough to really make you work to get out of the dales and onto hills. It’s worth the effort, once you’re up high the modern world disappears and you can cover miles without seeing another soul and when you’ve had your fill of solitude, descend back into reality.
Staylittle, Mid Wales
GPS download bit.ly/welshisolation
This is a properly old school XC ride into the middle of nowhere, and back again. Empty forests, desolate hillsides, vague-in-part trails and a feeling that you’re the only person for miles around. Probably because you will be. This is a properly committing loop and not to be taken lightly but it’s worth the considerable effort for the feeling of exploring trails less ridden. Take a paper map and compass, pack at least two lunches and wait for a long day with good weather. Arrive back at the start with your mind empty and your legs full of energy.
GPS download bit.ly/ivybridgeisolation
During the Napoleonic Wars a prison was built in the middle of Dartmoor for French prisoners of war. Surrounded by an unwelcoming expanse of nothing there was no point escaping as there was nowhere to go. Dartmoor can feel like a desert. Albeit a very British desert. Stark, barren and beautiful the landscape is more grass and ponies than sand and camels though. It’s also inevitably wetter. This route doesn’t take you too far off the beaten track so you can lose yourself in the scenery without actually getting lost.