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Bike Magic Trail Guide TV: Callander with James McKnight

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The second of our Trail Guide TV series sees Bike Magic editor James McKnight take to the trail in Callander, Scotland, on a trail that film maker Mark Huskisson lists as one of his favourites from living and riding in the area for many years. A mix of fresh soil, big views and plenty of tech trail makes for quite some bike ride.

Frozen in Callander

Words: James McKnight

This film takes me back a bit as Mark and I were out on the hill quite some time ago, as you’ll of course note by the snow on the ground and the look of slight discomfort (it was minus 10 I seem to remember).

We were out on a Scottish roadtrip hunting down some of the finest known and lesser-known trails, some of which we’d ridden before and some we hadn’t. Callander was new to me but an old favourite of Mark’s as he used to live not too far from it, and I could certainly see why he liked it so much from before we even left the car park. The hills and forest rose steeply, a river ran through the valley and I was reminded once again that Scotland is just as good an escape as any. We set off up the hill and tried to imagine summer…

Mark promised me a view and I can report that he is a man of his word. After a certain amount of climbing to get above the trees we were treated to a long valley escaping around a corner and exposing rugged looking peaks in the distance. The mountains here may be smaller in height but they are every bit as magnificent as those of the Alps, in my opinion. I enjoyed the landscape for all of about a second before my toes froze and we set off back down the meandering – to start with – trail.

After a fast start the mellow gradient came to an end and the trail dove down toward the trees, at the same time introducing plenty of loose rocks into the mix. We took a few runs down this upper section and as we broke through the occasional patches of ice the trail proved to be a riot.

Into the trees and Mark had promised me a treat, and once again I couldn’t fault his word. All the way down through the trees the Callander trail threw rocks, roots, ruts and earthy soil in a perfect blend and, although technical, it was never too difficult to take away from the fun. As you’ll see from the film, I enjoyed the flow, speed and turns of the trail no end, it was so good I could even forget the pain in my fingers and toes for a moment.

From the foot of the superb trail Mark and I packed the van and headed north for a stay in a frozen bothy near Aviemore – accommodation we were lucky to find as it was the middle of the night by the time we got there, and definitely no warmer.

About Trail Guide TV

The aim of our Trail Guide TV series is simple: to inspire and uncover. We will ride some of the finest natural trails in Britain and occasionally abroad too, sometimes with local riders and sometimes on a trail hunt of our own. Trail Guide TV won’t provide maps and directions to each of the rides, but it will give a place name and some insight into the terrain. You’ll have to go on a search of your own if you want to ride the same amazing trails.
These features will all be put together by the expert hands of Mark Huskisson of Reset Films (think Find, MacAskill etc.) and will combine beautiful landscapes, stories and some of the best natural trails around. We are rather happy to have Mark on board.

Enjoy the show and keep coming back as Trail Guide TV is a regular on BikeMagic.com.


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