The Capital Trail

Entries for the Capital Trail Group start on 3 June 2017 are now open. Registration will close on 28 May, you can register here. For the 2017 start list and more information please visit Bikepacking Scotland, a new page I have set up for all things bikepacking in Scotland. 

Watch the video in English:

And here’s the German version of the video (die deutsche Version):

‘I loved the varied terrain; great distance; huge ascent; ease of re-supply; simple-no fuss, friendly small numbers and I needed to navigate!’

‘It’s an absolutely superb route’

‘Comprehensive and varied terrain. Great mix. Need some good legs!’

‘Besides the pure constant stimulation of the very varied trails selected, was the constant anxious feeling that you might miss your next turn down the next tasty trail! I liked this, it really kept you on your toes!’

Voted by Bikepacking.com as ‘Best New Trail‘ in 2015, the Capital Trail is the perfect challenge for advanced and expert mountain bikers wanting to explore the amazing trails around Edinburgh. It can be ridden as individual time trial or as part of the annual group start.

The inaugural ride of the Capital Trail took place on 13/14 June 2015 as part of the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling, in 2016 the event took place on 1/2 October. The 2017 event will be held on 3/4 June, and you can register till 28 May here. You can also join the free Bikepacking Scotland newsletter and the Capital Trail Facebook Group.

Here are a few more useful links for the Capital Trail:

Follow Bikepacking Scotland on Twitter
Follow Bikepacking Scotland on Instagram
Subscribe to Bikepacking Scotland on YouTube

Here’s the route as GPX file for your GPS:

2016 version (different approach into Edinburgh)

2015 version (original route)

With ca. 6000m of climbing the Capital Trail is a real challenge, but offers you an amazing variety of singletrack, Land Rover tracks, forest roads and quite country lanes. In short, it is the very best Scotland’s South has got to offer, with most of the trails ridable in dry conditions. The route starts and finishes at The Tide Cafe on Portobello Beach and features the beautiful Firth of Forth coastline, the River Esk, Carberry Hill, the Winton Estate and the Pencaitland Railway Path, Saltoun Big Woods, the quiet and scenic country lanes of East Lothian, Lammer Law, the Southern Upland Way, Thirlestane Castle, Melrose Abbey, the River Tweed, the Borders and Abbey Way, the Three Brethren, the 7Stanes trails at Innerleithen and Peebles, Kirkhope Law, the Cross Borders Drove Road, the Meldons and Pentland Hills. And to finish, the Capital Trail will offer you some views on Edinburgh you might have not experienced before. Surprise yourself!

Although the route doesn’t venture far from the city, the Capital Trail takes you through some very remote, but beautiful places. The route is designed to be ridden clockwise in two days with an overnight stop. There are plenty of good opportunities to sleep under the stars, in a bothy and/or in bunkhouses, B&Bs and hotels. And the odd pub. Please make sure you respect the landowner’s properties, shut all gates, don’t leave any rubbish and leave all livestock and wildlife undisturbed.

Be aware, the weather here can change on a whim, and you are likely find yourself besieged by cold lashing rain and high winds even in Summer. Don’t attempt this ride unprepared, approach this ride as an independent expedition, fully prepared for your own limitations and whatever nature may have in store for you. The rewards for that will be plenty.

20 Responses

  1. The rise of bikepacking in Scotland
    The rise of bikepacking in Scotland at ·

    […] new event, the Capital Trail, starting from Edinburgh, launches this year on June 13, as part of the Edinburgh Festival of […]

  2. adamyounghusband
    adamyounghusband at · Reply

    Will there be a Track Leaders for this?

    1. markusstitz
      markusstitz at · Reply

      Hi Adam, would be ace, but I suspect there are not too many riders that have Spot trackers? I will email the guys how difficult it is to set it up, any suggestions are welcome!

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  6. Over-reaching myself
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    […] then when I was up in Edinburgh I took part in Markus Stitz’s excellent Capital Trail ‘Ride’ (he insisted repeatedly that it wasn’t a race, but fooled no […]

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  8. Shane
    Shane at · Reply

    Hi Markus,

    Do you have any thoughts on somewhere to park a car for a couple of days to do the route in Jan.

    Thanks

    Shane

  9. Shane
    Shane at · Reply

    Great, thanks for the info

  10. David
    David at · Reply

    Markus,
    Enjoying following your inspirational ride. I know it is a fair way (in both time and distance) away but do you have any updates on this years mass start? Will it be part of the festival again? Hoping that longed for tailwind arrives soon for you.
    David

  11. Mike Howarth 2015: Recalibrating - Mike Howarth
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    […] other snippets which jump out, perhaps the most notable omission from this collection is the Capital Trail ridden in late Autumn, as an uncooperative camera fails to turn […]

  12. Lori
    Lori at · Reply

    Remarkable! Its actually awesome article, I have got much clear idea regarding from this post.

  13. Singletrack Magazine | Technical Difficulties: Has cycling lost it's wild side?

    […] more than ever before, thanks to the wonders of the web. There are ready-made routes like the Capital Trail or the Sandstone Way that anyone with an internet connection can try out for themselves. If that […]

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    […] you’re an experienced mountain biker, try out the Capital Trail in Scotland, which starts and finishes in Portobello in Edinburgh. This is 150 miles, takes about […]

  16. The Capital Trail – A first wrap and a video
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