Snow Trails

As we’ve been doing for the past few years, we booked the kids onto a mountain biking course at Glentress for their school holidays this Easter, but when we made the booking six months ago had even less idea than usual about what the conditions would be like the following April. It turned out, of course, that this month is the tail-end of Scotland’s second Covid lockdown, when we’re all still supposed to be staying local, which for Edinburgh residents means no driving beyond the Pentlands.

Dirt School assured us that official guidance meant that the courses could still run, and the government page on travel and transport confirmed it:

You can leave a Level 4 area, or travel to a Level 4 area from somewhere else, [to] … participate in or facilitate organised activity, non-contact sport or exercise which is for persons aged 17 and under. … This flexibility is to allow children and young people to take part in sport or organised activity, if for example they belong to a club which is just outside their own local authority area, but you should travel no further than you need to.

I was still apprehensive when we set off on Tuesday morning for the first of the three days. I half expected to get stopped by the cops along the way—driving with bikes on the roofrack was a bit of a giveaway, after all. I had printouts of my bookings and the government guidance with me just in case.

But nobody stopped us; the roads down to Peebles were even quieter than they were last summer. Each day we passed the same dead badger.

Glentress was even colder than Edinburgh during last week’s cold snap; it snowed a few times while we were there, before melting away in the afternoon sun. I rode a few trails with each of my kids, enjoying the unnatural quiet; but we also spent time in the car sitting out the cold while the other was off with their group, listening to Adam Buxton podcasts with my teenage son and discovering that my daughter likes Judas Priest (Angel of Retribution, to be specific). It was a fun few days.

It was also another chance to take photos for the growing gallery at Detail. Here are the new ones:


12 April 2021 · Journal