How far would you go to have the trail to yourself? These five rides will take you to the back-o-beyond - and back again - so you can find solitude on the singletrack.
Sometimes, you just want to be alone. Or with a few good friends. Just you, your bike, the trail, and the vast landscape all around you. Away from the hoardes of mountain bikers and queue-like snakes of riders weaving their way around popular trail centres.
If it’s solitude you seek, then these trails deliver in abundence. Get away from it all, and enjoy some incredible riding while you do.
- Distance: 37.4km (23.2 miles)
- GPS download: bit.ly/HarrisRide
North Harris in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland is a rugged landscape made up of moors and mountains, dotted with freshwater lochs and framed by the Atlantic. Given these raw ingredients it’s not surprising that it’s home to some of Scotland’s most dramatic and beautiful scenery, and some of its most remote riding. Being an island you’re going to have to commit to this ride with a ferry trip or a flight, amplifying the feeling of adventure. As this is a remote ride on a remote island make sure you’re equipped accordingly.
- Distance: 15.3km (9.5miles)
- GPS download: bit.ly/BlackCombeRide
Black Combe dominates the southwestern edge of the Lake District. It’s one of the quietest hills in one of the busiest National Parks, which is surprising given it offers stunning panoramic views of the Lakeland Fells and, on a clear day, the Isle of Man and the mountains of Wales on the horizon. Other people’s loss can be your gain and this route is full of all that makes up a remote ride but, at just over 15km, with fewer consequences than a true out-there epic.
- GPS download: bit.ly/PreseliHills
The Preseli Hills sits on the southwest tip of Wales. Best known for its archaeological history the range was once a Neolithic hot spot (the stones that are used in Stonehenge are believed to come from here), but now stone axes are out of fashion it’s much quieter. Like much of Pembrokeshire there’s precious little in the way of legal trails, so while you might think that means this route will be busy its remote location means you’re unlikely to be sharing the trails with too many other riders.
- Distance: 49.4km (30.7 miles)
- GPS download: bit.ly/CheviotsRide
The Cheviot Hills spans the Scottish Borders and Northumberland. Part of the Pennine mountain range, these hills have a history as wild as their appearance. This was Border Reiver country, with warring factions from the area creating almost a whole new country between England and Scotland. The fighting might have stopped but this is still a part of the world that feels like it has its own rules. Don’t let the smooth rolling hills deceive you, riding here is tough, often lonely and demands your respect. It’s also rewarding, peaceful and unspoilt, making it worth the effort.
- Distance: 32.6km (20.3 miles)
- GPS download: bit.ly/3Niw5Cq
Dartmoor National Park is one of the largest and most remote areas of open moorland in the UK. In fact it’s a whole 954 square kilometres of emptiness. Of course it’s not truly empty, but it can feel like the stunningly rugged landscape seems to go on forever in all directions. Aside from other outdoor enthusiasts in search of some quiet, your only other company will be the infamous Dartmoor ponies, red deer, and birdlife like the golden plover and ring ouzel. Given the park’s size this route just tickles the edges of its vast expanse but it’s enough to give you a taste of just how remote you can get without leaving the UK.
Looking for more? How about some brilliant multi-day mountain bike adventures? Make sure you’ve got the best mountain bike for your adventure, and don’t forget you can alway upgrade for less with a few choice budget changes.