Find some of Britain's best secluded singletrack as mbr hits Stirlingshire
North Third might seem to suffer in the shadow of the Trossachs and Arrochar Alps, but it’s a sublime offering even so.
You won’t reach the dizzying heights of the more mountainous reaches of the UK, nor will you cover the distance, but this ride still packs a powerful punch; ride it at full chat and you will feel the burn.
From the start the rate of ascent is anything but ferocious. One or two short, sharp climbs into the quarry, onto Gateside Road and into the woods again, then follow the Bannock Burn through the bright green woods as the singletrack ramps up.
Keep an eye out for ospreys hunting for trout as you reach the reservoir but beware of the Canada geese — as spring turns to summer they can get fairly aggressive while protecting their chicks. With the reservoir behind you, dive onto Gateside Road one last time, and head into the woods as the drystone wall comes to an end on your left.
By now your legs should be warm, and you will be glad they are. The first of three fierce climbs begins as soon as you’re in the shade of the mature beech and alder. Pace yourself — the surface is loose and the trail steep.
From the top the singletrack is sublime — the thick soil offers incredible grip in most conditions. Dropper posts were made for this kind of gallop, because the climbs are punchy, but the final dash back to the road is a fitting crescendo that will have you riding out of your skin.