Thursday, October 11, 2007

On the way to Roer Water

Having been bitten by the mountain bike bug, I decided to see what Northmavine had to offer in the way of MTB potential, starting with a track I'd walked several times, the looping, diving and alarmingly rough access route to the reservoir called Roer (Red) Water.

You reach this by driving half way up the access road to the old NATO early warning base at Collafirth Hill, which is where you normally park if you're going to climb Ronas Hill, Shetland's highest. The differences between this kind of mountain biking and the forest trails at Kirroughtree were startling and obvious: no trees, so you have stunning views visible almost all the time.

It's a VERY rough track, rocky and with numerous large, black pools that look bottomless. There are a couple of times you have to ford the Collafirth Burn and various sections simply have to be walked. Still, there's sufficient fast descents and jumps to make it great fun. Tiring, though, especially for one as old and overweight as me: It's a good hour-long round trip to the reservoir itself.

I've posted requests on the Northmavine and Shetlink forums (fora) for info on other local MTB routes. Some great suggestions from Shetlink, including the Culswick Broch road over on the west side and the road to Uyea a bit north of here. Me, I'm just daydreaming of turning the croft into a mountain biking centre, with hire facilities, some fun mini-routes and more...

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