Eskdalemuir/Craik Forest

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Eskdalemuir/Craik Forest

Postby whitestone » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:42 pm

I'm looking for a ride/area for our 'twixt Christmas and New Year ride. Ideally we'd have a short day, bivy/bothy, a full day, another bivy/bothy, then a short ride back to the car. Not looking for big distances given the time of year, it'd be a chilled sort of ride. Last year we attempted Philip Addyman's Northumbrian route in Kielder and the year before we did a very wet Loch Garry - Ben Alder loop.

Browsing the MBA website I noticed that there's a few bothies in the Eskdalemuir/Craik Forest area. There's also three bothies to the west of the M74 but it doesn't look like those can be made to link up very well.

So would the above be suitable for our needs? Anything to watch out for? Don't want to be too far north just to cut down on the travelling at either end of the trip so probably south of the Central Belt. Anywhere else we might consider?
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Re: Eskdalemuir/Craik Forest

Postby ripio » Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:18 pm

In the Eskdalemuir/Craik area you have Greensykes and Dryfehead bothies, both very nice and not heavily used.
If you parked in Eskdalemuir, you could ride in to Greensykes for the first night, next day ride over to Dryfehead via Samye Ling Monastery (tearoom), then on last day ride back to Eskdalemuir via B723, various track options to get out to road from Dryfehead depending on time and weather conditions.
Eskdalemuir has a cafe at The Hub old school building, not sure of hours between Christmas and New Year though.

West of the M74 you have Brattleburn, Kettleton Byre and Burleywhag bothies.
The riding between these bothies is a bit tougher than the Eskdalmuir ones and also a bit more road miles involved.
Weather conditions might make it difficult.
I did a ride roumd these three bothies a couple of years ago in March. https://flic.kr/s/aHskRNunip
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Re: Eskdalemuir/Craik Forest

Postby restlessshawn » Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:55 pm

I probably know those parts better than most on here having done a lot of riding there in the last few years!

Ideally suited to gravel bikes coz well it's all gravel. Greensykes is a great bothy, even has an outside loo now. Snow may or may not be an issue :wink:

If you want help with a route that does what ripio suggested then drop me a mail and I will try and sort something out this week smcfarlane at gmail dot com. A rough idea of mileage would be useful though in fairness it's pretty easy to shortcut if needed as there are so many tracks everywhere. I've done that pair of bothies a couple of times over weekends either starting at Craik (as it's nearer to me) or Eskdalemuir.
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Re: Eskdalemuir/Craik Forest

Postby ripio » Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:39 pm

restlessshawn wrote:
Ideally suited to gravel bikes coz well it's all gravel.
.


It is all 'gravel', but some of the tracks can be pretty rough gravel depending on whether they have been recently remade for timber extraction in which case the 'gravel' can be large chunks of sharp rock. Or if the timber lorries have had time to compact it down, it can be reasonaby smooth.
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Re: Eskdalemuir/Craik Forest

Postby restlessshawn » Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:54 pm

ripio wrote:
restlessshawn wrote:
Ideally suited to gravel bikes coz well it's all gravel.
.


It is all 'gravel', but some of the tracks can be pretty rough gravel depending on whether they have been recently remade for timber extraction in which case the 'gravel' can be large chunks of sharp rock. Or if the timber lorries have had time to compact it down, it can be reasonaby smooth.



yeah I've ridden it on tyres from 40mm to 2.8"
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Re: Eskdalemuir/Craik Forest

Postby whitestone » Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:55 pm

We'll probably be on rigid 29ers (or fat bikes). Distance wise - last year around Kielder we did 160km on the rigid 29ers over half day - full day - half day. The year before around Ben Alder we did 80km on the fat bikes over two 3/4 length days (but we spent a lot of time battling across swollen burns having to build cairns as stepping blocks :shock: ).

Have just got the OS map, had those either side but not that one so I'll have a look and maybe plot something on bikehike or Strava to get a feel for distances etc. We aren't after massive days, somewhere around 120km for the whole ride would be fine.
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Re: Eskdalemuir/Craik Forest

Postby whitestone » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:56 pm

OK, a quick play around in Strava's route builder and I've this https://www.strava.com/routes/16145007 at just over 100km
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Re: Eskdalemuir/Craik Forest

Postby ripio » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:57 pm

Looks ok.
There's a short section just at the summit of Craik Cross Hill and for a few hundred metres westwards where the track is pretty much non existant or is a footpath despite being marked as a vehicle track on the OS map, then a further km or so of pretty overgrown track but not impassable.
Otherwise looks a good route, depending on weather conditions.
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