Route 1 - Catstone Dam Type Lane & track
Rating Beginner – mostly flat Distance 13 miles Height 235m (794ft) - 325m (1,085ft) Map Ref OS Sheet Explorer 344
Directions From the War Memorial 0 West Linton – N through village – bear left behind The Gordon Arms – L onto A702 1 – 2nd R, Medwyn Rd 2, towards West Linton Golf Club (Alternative village exit; follow lane round Lower Green & cross Lynn Water by footbridge or ford – continue up road past St Mungos Church and cross A702 onto Medwyn Rd)– L past Golf Club entrance 3 towards West Water Res – stay on tarmac lane to North Slipperfield Farm 4 – stay on tarmac track towards Reservoir – start up rise to R, ignoring dirt track straight on – 1st L up hill on dirt track 5 – stay on track for approx 2 miles – continue down the series of bends 6 to a junct (paths, pipe & stream) – choose straight on and follow stream through valley 7 – arrive at dam 8 & end of track
Connect up with another route or return the same way
Notes For those of average fitness, 2 hours should easily suffice. This is a mainly flat route but there are a couple of very short, sharp climbs, be warned – however don’t be put off, you could always walk those bits. The views make it all worthwhile.
Keep your eyes peeled for deer in the reserve opposite the golf club entrance.
A worthwhile detour is to continue up the tarmac reservoir track to take in West Water itself, which is a regular haunt for sometimes huge flocks of geese and other birds. To get back of track you can either cross the reservoir wall and follow the track to the left or just go back the way you came. If you do cross the wall you’ll rejoin the dirt track just up from 5 on the map.
After the reservoir you are at about the highest point and will round the south side of Catstone (448m/1,515ft) where the views are quite stunning – particularly of Dunsyre Hill with Corbies Craigs to the South West and beyond. This is quite an exposed section of the route and you’ll be glad you packed or wore a windproof jacket. The halfway point of this section sees the track climb to the top of Catstone and beyond. If you are feeling particularly energetic the view are even better from the top – be warned though, this is very steep and you’ll need very good brakes for the wild ride back down.
The valley you’ll follow from 6 is that of Medwin Water. If you can ignore the rather large water pipe this is a particularly pretty valley with lots of deep water pools and exposed rocks. The valley also provides welcome relief for those unfortunate enough to have been battling winds round Catstone.
This route is popular with horse riders please be careful and courteous as it is very easy to underestimate how distressing and dangerous a speeding bike can be, always slow and give plenty of space.
Remember to close any gates and that you don’t have a right to access, it’s a privilege, treat it as such.
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