Heading south from the Fungle singletrack is the Fungle Road itself.
The old drovers road connects Deeside in the north with Tarfside in the south and is usually part of a larger loop. I have a favourite section, from Birse Castle up to the edge of the estate. It is a real leg burner of a climb but one fast descent coming back down.
I normally take the Fungle on my XC whip as the climb can be a little, intimidating, it is the sort of constant grind that benefits from a lithe XC machine.
But I thought I’d take the big bike for a change, not being on the gas for the climb was a good plan. The weather God’s looked on me kindly and the temperature was around 17-19 degrees. Pretty toasty for early April.
The start of the climb is literally at the end of the road, the tarmac ends and the dirt begins. You quickly cross the sheep pastures then the landscape begins to change in character to a more rugged austerity as the hillside grow in front of you.
The sparse heather covered hillsides hide burns that cross the trail, they grow and recede with the rains, thankfully they are never more than a quick rinse for the bike.
Once that climb has been defeated its time to make your way back down. From the top you can climb further and explore other back country options that take you into Glen Tanar or down the shooting estate fire road into Tarfside.
Or, do like I did, turn around and burn straight back down the way you came.
Being a historic walkers path your not going to find berms and lips to send off, but if your out here your not looking for that kind of riding experience. What you will find though is a very, very fast trail, with plenty of ruts and drainage ditches to get playful on.
The 5km+ of descent quickly fly by, and all to quickly, the heather fades away with the grassy pastures on the boundary of farm and heath coming back into view.
All in all a great wee section of trail to build into a larger loop, or, if your short of time but want a taste of some wilder riding riding, enough to scratch that itch.