Mountain Biking on the Isle of Man
As it happens, the weather wasn’t great, I forgot to take an OS map with me (despite having several of them) and many of the routes involved quite a bit of distance on the road so I didn’t get around to doing nearly as much as I would have liked.
I did manage to explore the routes within the South Barrule plantation. I actually did them both several times. They are both very short. The ‘Kipper’ route is only 1km long and is a simple loop up a fire road and then down through a short (300m) piece of relatively simple single track. An ideal starter for someone new to mountain biking I guess and graded as a blue trail. For the more experienced it only takes a few minutes to do and isn’t really that exciting.
The longer ‘Viking’ route is graded as Red, but is still only 5km long and again not too challenging (although I did manage to come off on it once!) Again it follows a loop through the forest on fire road with one short piece of single track on the way up and then has a longer single track descent back down through the forest where it joins up with the end of the Kipper trail. The single track is nice enough with a few tight corners and some nice bits of ‘north shore’ woodwork to negotiate. Nothing too challenging though if not attacked and some of the corners would probably benefit from some berms to improve the flow. I managed to come off on the first bit of woodwork in the rain when it was a little slippery.
As well as the marked trails there are also loads of other likely looking trails through the forest and I spent some time exploring some of these. Some of them are better than the waymarked trails. They are more natural and a little more tricky and some are full of slippery roots.
All in all, the waymarked trails are a great start, but are far too short to really encourage people to visit them. Some longer trails would really help and there are plenty of natural trails to explore. Some of these can easily be joined up to make a much more interesting route.
Here’s a you Tube video of the singletrack that I found.
I didn’t explore much further due to lack of time, but I did do a nice ride around the Viking Trail and then off into the Corlea plantation and onto a muddy track around the southern side of South Barrule, just above the Whisky Run that came out at the top end of the Whisky Run itself. This bit of track was well used by bikes and a little too muddy to be fun in places but rideable most of the time. From here I headed up to the crossroads and down along a greenway (The bridleways of the Isle of Man) towards Glen Maye. This descent was good with lots of banked water bars to act as ramps and some rocky sections along with a river crossing. From the bottom of this descent there would be many ways to go to make a more interesting route but I simply headed back up a steep lane and back on the road to the South Barrule car park.
There’s certainly plenty of potential and I’ll be back soon. Hoepfully this time with a map and more time to explore properly.