The Gypsy Glen

The Gypsy Glen Ride

This ride offers a good alternative to the Man-made “Scalextric” trails.

The Gypsy Glen

Distance: 50km

Map: OS Landranger 73 or OS Explorer 337

Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland


Start at the Red Bull car park, over the bridge at Innerleithen. Continue on to Traquair. After Traquair there is a road on the right, taking you into the estate on a tarmac road that quickly deteriorates into dirt track to almost no track at all.

This is when the mountain biking begins, the track snakes through the valley alongside the river, before the hills rear up in front of you. The path disappears at times but eventually there is a river crossing followed by a steep ascent of Stake Law, where there are only traces of a path, most of them petering out after a while. Its best to zigzag your way up this hill as it can be wet at times.

Head for the good quality drove road that cuts across the hill, turn right once you reach it and head to the cairn at the summit and enjoy the fantastic views. The drove road is nice and undulating and steep in places, and it covers an area know as “Gypsy Glenn” – which refers to the route from Peebles to St Mary’s Loch.

From the summit of Stake Law Peebles and surrounding area is visible most of the time. The sign says 10km but doesn’t look or feel anything like it, because the ride to the town is fast and exhilarating, even though it isn’t quite downhill all the way.

Parts of the descent is great fast grassy and exposed. It can be very fast but watch out for walkers.

Peebles is a good chance for a rest stop, before the final section of the ride, dipping into Glentress. Coming out of Peebles on the Innerleithen road, its best not to head all the way to the Glentress car park, but instead to ride up the steep climb of Janet’s brae (Jennys brae). In places this is a real slog and has the feeling of a high alpine pass as it climbs in switchbacks.

Finally this brings you out at the Glentress trails, by the skills loop. From here you can Join the Blue, Red or Black routes, or alternatively you can head down the forest road to Deliverance, just before the trail starts to rise, there’s a cheeky left turn which follows a vague path. This brings you out at Horsburgh farm, between Glentress and Innerleithen, and from there its just 5km by road back to Innerleithen.

Thanks to Mark from Galashiels for this interesting route !

Tip: Use a Map