The Capital Trail

Welcome the newest addition to the UK and international bikepacking calendar: The Capital Trail, a 2-day route around Edinburgh.

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The Capital Trail is the perfect challenge for 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, to which the entry will be limited to 100 riders. The inaugural ride of the Capital Trail took place on 13/14 June 2015 as part of the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling, a date for 2016 will be announced soon. If you would like to ride the route any time as ITT, please submit the final GPX to To be included in the ride records, you need to complete the loop in under 40hrs.

With ca. 6000m of climbing the Capital Trail is a real challenge, but offers you an amazing variety of singletracks, 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 take you to all the tourist must-do sights in Scotland’s Capital on two wheels. 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, two bothies and 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.

For a detailed route description have a look at Bikepackersmag or Pedaling Nowhere


  1. Complete the entire route, under your own power  – no drafting.
  2. Be completely self-supported throughout the ride – absolutely no support crews, absolutely no gear sharing. You can, however, ride as part of a small group of friends, as long as you are equipped to ride the entire route on your own (but no friends and family following the ride, effectively acting as a sag-wagon).
  3. Only use commercial services that are available to all challengers – no private resupply, no private lodging.
  4. If you have to leave the route, you must rejoin it at the exactly same spot.
  5. No caches of any kind.
  6. No pre-arranged support, which means before you begin your ride – e.g. booking a B&B, arranging to meet a vehicle.
  7. No travel by any motorised means during your ride – by all means do so if necessary, but understand if you do your attempt is over.
  8. Gear – nothing required, nothing prohibited.

9 responses to “The Capital Trail

  1. Pingback: The rise of bikepacking in Scotland·

    • 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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