The forest of Ae is one of Scotland’s 7 stanes a group of 7 forests which hold excellent mountain biking routes. Mum, Dad and I hit the trails to experiment and see whether Ae was all it is cracked up to be.
There is truly something for everyone. From families with 5 year olds to the more experienced looking for some down hill thrills. The trails are graded. Green for easy, blue for moderate, red for hard, black for really hard and orange for the really mad ‘uns! For most trails you will need about 2 hours to complete them but the full red one may take quite a couple of hours longer. As always take lots of snacks and water, a waterproof (this is Scotland after all) and the ability to change a flat tyre.
The best thing about following trails in forestry commission ground is they are all so well sign posted that it’s nearly impossible to get lost as long as you follow the right arrow. We didn’t need the map until we decided to go further afield. We started on the course the man at the hire shop told us about, a blue with a little bit of red. We finished it just in time for lunch and quickly decided we were hungry for more riding. So we headed out on the green to give ourselves access to some more red trail which is largely single track and a bit more technical than the lower two grades. We had a great time and even had a couple of falls! But no harm done. We left with the feeling we had challenged ourselves and with an appetite to come back and try the whole of the red trail, with no time constraints and more snacks.
- Forestry commission car park
- Cafe with great cake. Not only that but great coffee too. They are also clearly purpose built for mountain bikers and walkers, the seats are wipe down so you don’t feel guilty about leaving a mess. They even have a little woodburner for the winter months. They also had the added bonus of children’s toys for a really family friendly space.
- Bike hose
- Bike shop where you can hire bikes, and drool over equipment you can’t afford!
- Bike hire – £15 for 2 hours per bike or £25 for the full day per bike (I have to note that these are the best hire mountain bikes I’ve ever ridden. They weren’t super heavy and had gearing that was a little noisy but actually worked)
- Parking – £2 upto 2 hours or £3 for the full day (coming from the Lake District this felt very reasonable)
- Showers – £2 for 30mins
- And of course the most important cost CAKE – £1.50 for a traybake going up a bit for a proper slice
Would I go back? For sure! I still have the full red trail to complete remember! It was amazing to leave the traffic of the Lake District behind and arrive to an empty car park and see maybe only 5 people whilst we were riding. It was a real treat. Having had such success with Ae I would also like to explore the other 6 staines.
However I would say that it’s not the easiest place to find out about, so I have included some accurate contact details for the shop below. We nearly didn’t go as we weren’t sure whether the hire shop even existed!
Bike hire shop – Ae Bike Shop Ltd
Tel. 013878 60805