This is a long overdue thank you to an anonymous rider I met nearly 10 years ago.
Back then our small group of riding pals only had the vaguest idea of the places we could ride nearby. There were no mapping apps on your phone and the best way to find new trails was to scour forums and YouTube for videos and clues. You would find a bit of woodland on an OS map, then search for evidence of cycling activity in it.
It was harder to find places to ride, but it was so rewarding when you did. It’s amazing how much has changed in that time. GPS. Strava. Trailforks.
We found out that there was a short section of purpose-built trail on Deuchny Hill, but when we turned up one cold winter’s night nearly a decade ago, that was all we knew. But we were optimistic – when we unpacked we caught the eye of another rider returning from an outing.
Establishing that we had no idea where we were going, he generously offered to show us the main routes around the woods – despite having just finished a long run himself.
He took us across Kinnoull, with its myriad woodland paths and the views across the M90 and Perth, beautiful on that cold, crisp night. The air was so clear that the streetlights twinkled below, brightly as flames, despite their distance.
Back through the woods to the car park, charging through fallen leaves while woodland creatures rustled above our heads, he then took us up Deuchny.
Climbing up the wide track into the woods, we passed the right turn signposted to the bike park and turned right into the trees another 100 metres up the road.
Back then, the top of that hill was thickly forested. Around half a dozen trails rolled off the small summit, tumbling straight into the bike park. Perth’s wee bike park is one of the best around.
I can’t think of many rides that were as thrilling as that first rumble around Kinnoull. The joy of being out in the deep dark, the ground frozen stiff and rolling fast. The sheer joy of discovering new routes that were as much fun as you could possibly have hoped for. And, of course, sharing the whole thing with good pals. I got home barely believing my luck that we lived so close to somewhere so special.
We must have returned there a dozen times that winter alone. It was a rare kind of winter – always very cold, but also very dry, possibly my favourite combination of conditions.
Location: Deuchny Hill
Maps: OS Explorer 369 or Landranger 58.
Distance: Around 1km (0.6 miles) for the bike park, but plenty more to discover.
Ascent: 80m (262ft) for a lap, potential for much more.
Parking: The Jubilee car park is between Deuchny and Kinnoull hills.
Top tip: The Muckmedden Fair City Enduro has become an annual event at the end of October and a great way to discover the trails in good company – if you can get a ticket! muckmedden.co.uk/event/fce2019