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   7Stanes Tour: Glentress By Ben Freeman  Page 1

The intrepid MTB Britain crew (minus myself!) set up a long weekend to hammer some of the 7Stanes routes and see how they stack up against our well worn Welsh trails.

Total distance 7stanes Glentress: Black Route Helly Hansen V Trail 29Km. Red Route 17Km.

Glentress is Here Facilities: just about everything: toilets, showers, bike wash, good bike shop, bike hire, cafe: The Hub in the Forest

Day 3 ' Glentress
Glentress is the most developed of all the 7 Stanes locations and has the best facilities: toilets, showers, good bike shop, bike hire, bike wash, cafe, lots of parking etc. As always, there was a choice of routes: 1.2 km Green Skills loop, Two blue loops (8km & 14km), 17 km Red route and the 29 km 'Helly Hansen V trail' Black route. Obviously, we opted for the Black route.

The Black trail starts with some uphill single track followed by a fire road climb up into the forest. Of all the 7 Stanes locations we visited, Glentress has the most height to play with and the Black route spreads across several valleys ' very much like the Karrimor Trail at Coed-y-Brenin or the Syfydrin Trail at Nant-yr-Arian. 

The first section of single track, 'Soor Plooms' was very stony (not great for hard tails) but not technical. After this, a short climb, followed by more woody single track, 'The Goat Track'. This section has some fast single track and stony chutes ' but nothing very difficult. At the end of the single track section, a long 2.5km climb takes you up through the wood and out onto the fells, and a well deserved break at a wooden refuge hut. From the refuge hut, there's further light relief in the form of 'Britney Spears' - a short stretch of bermy single track, which leads you to a short climb, 'The Mustard Snake' ending at  the radio mast, the highest point on route.

From the radio mast there's a chance to take in a 'variation' on the Black route, which we were lucky enough to sample after bumping into some friendly locals. They guided us half a mile across some boggy ground and along some single track to the top of a newly built DH course which now forms part of the Red route.

The downhill course is about one and a half miles of very fast banked turns, with small jumps, berms & drop offs. We set off and what a course, its a cross between the final section of the Dyfi Cli-machX and the final section of the Marin Trail at Gwyder. You can ride it pretty much flat out and the banked turns flow into each other beautifully. A top detour and a lucky find.

After the DH course, we had a 20 minute hard climb back up through 'Spooky Wood' to the Radio mast. Now back on the Black route, we headed off for some excellent loose, steep, stony single track 'Boundary Trail' ' a 3.4 km descent! At the end of the wooded single track, the section opens up in to some more fast single track cut into the hillside.

After half a mile on a fire road you arrive at the start of 'Deliverance', a monster (5 km) single track descent into the valley base. Next Page>

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