Kinga and I will talk about what the 7 Stanes is and why you should go and check it out.
7 Stanes is a group of mountain bike centers spread out across southern Scotland. Stane means stone in Scottish and at each center, you will find a stone sculpture representing a local myth or legend.
Who Sculpted All The Stanes?
The lead artist was Gordon Young, who was born in Carlisle and attended London’sRoyal College Of Art. He worked for the Welsh Sculpture Trust and at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. In 1984 he became an artist full time and won many awards since, including the Blackpool Civic Trust Award in 2007.
Mark Powers, Ronnie Heeps, and Russell Coleman supported Gordon on the project. The sculptures were created at the Galloway Granite in Sorbie and took 6 months to create. The stone used in the sculptures is from different locations around Britain.
What Are The Sculptures?
The Giant Axe Head, Glentrool
Glentrool is famous for its Stone Age past and legends of giants throwing large objects at one another. The Giant Axe Head is a 1.5 ton sculpture that looks over Loch Dee. It resemblesNeolithic stone axes and has text inscribed in runic.
The Gem, Kirroughtree
The trails found at Kirroughtree are referred to as the hidden gem of 7 Stanes. The sculpture is inspired by this and that it’s near to the Creetown Gem Rock Museum. It weighs 1.75 tons and is made from pink quartz sourced in Scotland.
The Heart Cleft, Dalbeattie
Tarmac Limited donated a chunk of Dalbeattie granite for the stane. It represents Dalbeattie being central to the Southern Scottish granite industry and exported its stones across the world. The heart has an inscription of where the granite has been exported.
The Ghost, Mabie
This is made from white marble and found in the “misty glade” an area of beech woods and a short stream. It weighs 2.25 tons and looks like a figure standing upright, with local lace patterned engraved on it.
The Talking Head, Ae
This was built from glacial granite, weighs 15 tons and is facing south towards the Solway and Ae. It’s inscribed with a translated Norwegian poem and has a carved face.
The Meteorite, Glencross
This has been humorously carved with Klingon text, a hint to its unearthly origins and is made from 6 tons of Ledmore marble.
The Border, Newcastleton
On the north side, Auld Lang Syne lyrics are inscribed, while on the south side, Jerusalem lyrics are inscribed. It sits near the Scottish/English border and you can stand and shake hands through the stone’s middle.
The sculptures are fascinating but the real reason any mountain biker should come here is for the actual riding. Lonely Planet described it as “Mountain Biking Mecca” and we agree. There’s something for everyone and was one of the first places to feature downhill tracks for disabled riders.
Whether you try the fun families/beginners routes at Glentrool, great singletrack at Kirroughtree, rocky trails for all at Dalbeattie, the exhilarating North Shore timber trail at Mabie, the Coffin Jump or competition downhill course at Ae, the shorter routes of Newcastleton or go to perhaps the best biking centre in Britain at Glentress, you won’t be disappointed.