Forestry Commission Ride Categories

Bill D
Bill D Posts: 62
edited October 2009 in MTB beginners
I went for my first real off road ride the other day: Nant yr Arian red & blue trails. First one, I was a bit nervous (put my feet down a few times over rock steps etc)because it was classified 'difficult'. There isn't an 'easy' trail at Nant yr Arian so I had no choice if I was going to ridwe there. Anyway, second ride was no problem at all & got round fine.
I guess the FC call easy rides difficult so they won't get sued, or something. But how much more difficult than 'difficult' are the 'expert' rides, say at Coed y Brenin? I fancy going there later this week & would like to have fun without scaring myself witless or being a nuisance to quicker/more able riders. Thanks. Bill


  • compo
    compo Posts: 1,370
    The blue/red/black stystem differs all over the country wherever you go
    eg Glentress' Red may be harder than Grisedale's Black
    (I don't know if this particular one is true, its just an example so you get my point)
  • wordnumb
    wordnumb Posts: 847
    As above, the trails vary, as do riders' ideas of what constitutes easy / difficult - sometimes weather is as much a factor as the surface you're riding on. Just keep your wits about you and if you don't feel certain about a section walk it first (on one side of the track).

    Don't worry about being a nuisance to more experienced riders. If they want to get past they will, you have as much right to be there as they do.
  • Northwind
    Northwind Posts: 14,675
    Can't speak for where you were but usually blue is "moderate" while red is "difficult" and black is "severe". It's not an FC system, it's just the one they've made universal in this country by being the people with the most graded trails, but it's loosely based on ski grades.

    Just had a wee look at a vid of the summit trail and it looks like it's built for speed not tech... This can make a big difference, you could roll round glentress red at 10mph and it'd almost all be incredibly easy, but crank it up and the corners get tighter, the trees get closer, the air gets bigger... Also, syfydryn is pretty long, which gets taken into account too.

    As compo says, difficulties vary wildly, nevis red is harder than glentress black for instance, while glentress blue is (I'm told) harder than some of the older english reds- I met some geordie lads on the blue there who'd tried the red, given up and were in the process of being out of their depth on the blue, who'd considered themselves good riders before they came up here... Also, trails tend to get graded when they're opened but then standards change, again with glentress the black's now very old and mostly would be graded red these days but when it was opened, it was a proper challenging black.
    Uncompromising extremist