Black Craigs Stats
Grade: Black - Severe
Distance: 14Km - 31Km including The Twister (red-graded)
Estimated Time To Ride The Route: 2.5 - 4 hrs
Black Craigs combines fast flowing singletrack and rocky technical features to test your skills. A highlight is McMoab with its huge slabs and ridges of exposed granite linked by boulder causeways
To reach the start of Black Craigs, follow the red-graded Twister trail to its half-way point.
Stairway to Heaven
After leaving the red route a section of easy forest road leads to the first black-graded singletrack. This particular Stairway to Heaven climbs steeply up by way of a series of switchbacks and rocky steps, but the challenge focuses the mind on the trail and as the name suggests it’s worth the effort – eventually!
A few metres on, the forest road feeds straight into The Judgement. A couple of rocky step-ups set the scene for a fast rocky plunge to the crux slab climb that requires both poise and power to clear. The hard bit is now over so it’s time to enjoy the flowing decent through Oak and Scots Pine woodland back to the valley floor.
Another short spin on the forest road leads to this easy section of singletrack through an area of ancient mining activity, climbing though open conifer woodland and back on to the forest road and the first crossing of the turbulent Palnure Burn.
A picturesque and remote forest road brings you to the centrepiece of the Kirroughtree trails: McMoab. This giant monolith of granite is reached by traversing rocky ridges and slabs linked by boulder causeways. Painted arrows show the way but a confident approach and considerable skill are required to link it all together without a dab. It is possible to bypass McMoab by continuing up the forest road if you don't feel up to it on this visit.
Whet your appetite - watch our video of McMoab (.wmv 4.1Mb).
Re-cross the Palnure Burn then cross over the A712 and start into this tough climb, the steepest and longest of the lot on a shared path. The climb can be leg-breaking as well as heartbreaking.
After topping out there's just time to recover on the forest road before the final spiralling climb to Black Craig summit. Stop and catch the view (and your breath), then enjoy payback time with an entertaining and varied descent leading seamlessly into Talnotry Hill.
For many this section is the highlight at Kirroughtree: a great singletrack trail that drops a considerable height in its 2.5km with stunning views on the way down. However we recommend caution: the trail is fast and flowing but there are some serious drop offs that could catch you unawares if you are riding there for the first time. It’s best to approach this trail with caution initially then return once you know where the tricky bits are.
At the Talnotry Hill exit cross back over the A712 and join a short singletrack link running between posts 65 and 66. It packs in several natural rock features and a raised timber section before reaching the top of the Dallash access at post 66.
Hansel and Gretel
Relax for a short while, and then as the road starts to climb again cut on to more singletrack at Hansel and Gretel. It ducks and dives around the hill before spitting you across the forest road and straight into Hissing Sid.
Time to concentrate again as several rocky sections come as a warm up for Hissing Sid himself. The direct line down the rock face is most straightforward, while the spiralling line going to the right is harder to ride but easier to walk. Either way drops you on to more fast descending singletrack. There's a final short rocky climb to challenge you before swooping further down the hill to within sight of the start of the Jabberwocky.
This final black grade section of singletrack has teeth too. A series of steps leads to a rocky traverse via a tricky step down to a final big rolling drop, before joining back into the Twister trail for the return to the visitor centre.