The Capital Trail is the newest addition to the UK bikepacking calendar, and will be held as part of the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling in 2015, which also has a key focus on bikepacking. On Saturday 13 June 100 mountain bikers will set off on Portobello Beach to tackle the Capital Trail in a fully self-supported with mountain bike time trial. The 150-mile-course through East Lothian, the Lammermuir Hills, the Borders and the Pentlands includes more than 6000m of climbing and was devised by Edinburgh local Markus Stitz, who has years of experience in long distance cycling. The inaugural ride has to be completed in 40 hours, and is already attracting a top-class field of expert mountain bikers, including Team Scotland 2014 member Lee Craigie and UK singlespeed legend Charlie ‘The Bikemonger’ Hobbs.
(Photos/ Markus Stitz – More can be found here)
Although it doesn’t venture far from the Scottish Capital, the Capital Trail takes you through some very remote, beautiful places. It features beaches, superb singletrack, Land Rover tracks, quiet roads, cycle paths and much more. It starts where the Scottish Capital meets the sea, this is where Sean Connery once served as a lifeguard while Commonwealth diving legend Peter Heatly practiced his first dives. The route is quintessentially Scottish: tough, rugged and scenic at the same time. It features the beautiful Firth of Forth coastline, the River Esk, Carberry Hill, where Mary Queen of the Scots surrendered, 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, Dun Rig, Kirkhope Law, the Cross Borders Drove Road, the Meldons and Pentland Hills. And to finish a great route, the Capital Trail will take you to all the tourist must-do sights in Scotland’s Capital on two wheels. Edinburgh has recently been named the fourth most beautiful city in the world by the Rough Guide, so you are in for a treat. Once you leave the hills behind you, follow the Water of Leith and the Union Canal into the city, and whizz through the lively Meadows and down the Royal Mile. You might even spot the Royal Family at Holyrood Palace, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland.
Camping is allowed virtually anywhere on the route, if following the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
Scottish! Expect four seasons in one day any time of the year. Best time to ride the route is from May – Sep. Be extra cautious during lambing season.
On route in Musselburgh, Whitecraig, Pencaitland, Lauder, Melrose, Glentress, Peebles, West Linton and Edinburgh. (See map for visual locations)