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Carbisdale & Balblair

Carbisdale is 40 miles north of Inverness and 4 miles from the village of Ardgay. It is the stuff of legend, with a storied castle surrounded by atmospheric woods and a beautiful loch where a great battle was fought. The views over the Dornoch Firth are magical and even the rock features on the mountain bike trails have fairy tale names. Whether you’re walking, horse riding or whizzing through the forest on your mountain bike, Carbisdale's quiet charm will soon bewitch you.

The swooping and fun 1.6 mile Blue Trail has rocky descents, long views and fairytale woodland scenery. The terrain is mostly wide gravel trails with some loose sections, long moderate slopes and (avoidable) steep rock descents.

The more difficult Red Trail is 2.8 miles of single track and rough, with technical features like Little Red Riding Wood and What Big Teeth, as well as sections of forest road too. The terrain is mostly single track and forest roads with long moderate slopes and north shore sections.

The Carbisdale trails are sister trails to the more challenging Balblair trails a couple of miles away, close to the village of Bonar Bridge. At Balblair you can explore its sunny forest glades and high rocky slabs on bike, foot or horseback. There's a sense of wild country on the tops, with views over the hills, while deep in the forest you'll find sheltered clearings full of wildflowers and berries.

The 4.5 mile Black Trail is fun and memorable with technical rock features and fast-flowing downhill sections. The full, lung-busting climb up Cnoc an Tionail gives you spectacular views before a rock slab descent down Candy Mountain that'll test even the most courageous! The terrain is mostly loose gravel single track with sections of bare rock and boardwalk and can be muddy and very steep in places.

The easier 2 mile Blue Trail is an enjoyable quick blast through the trees for competent riders looking to improve their bike handling skills and an ideal warm up for experts attempting the Black Route. Work on your balance on the tight twisting sections, then let the good times roll on the smooth downhill Ceilidh Trail. The terrain is mostly wide gravel paths with some loose sections and long, gentle to moderate slopes. Can be muddy when wet.

(Trail information courtesy of the Forestry Commission Scotland)

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