|Track length:||1.33 km|
|Average speed:||10.03 km/h|
|Total ascent:||0 m|
|Total descent:||11 m|
|Difficulty Level:||3/5 - Medium|
Learnie, which is located to the north of Inverness, is one of the best-kept cycling secrets in Scotland. The trails are intricately intertwined, and at one point they are so close to each other that sections of two trees have been cut out in order to make room for handlebars. One of the best kept secrets in Scotland, the new single track trails at Learnie Forest on the Black Isle have now been officially launched and opened (March 2006). Mountain biking on the Black Isle, which is technically a peninsula and not an island, has long been popular among people living in Inverness and other parts of northern Scotland. However, since the construction of the trails at Learnie Red Rock, the popularity of mountain biking on the Black Isle has reached new heights.
These trails are not at all like any of the other routes on the Black Isle, and they offer a much wider variety of terrain. These new trails evolved from and replaced the remnants of some long-established trails, which had evolved over the course of several years as a result of use by local mountain bikers. The trails were designed by Paul Masson of Cycletherapy, who was also responsible for creating the trails at Laggan Wolftrax. In February of 2005, a sizable funding package was successfully acquired, which provided Forestry Commission Scotland with the authorization to construct new trails in Learnie Forest as well as upgrade the existing trail network there. The existing trails were constructed by mountain bikers from the surrounding area, many of whom were members of the Highland Mountain Bike Association (HiMBA). However, as the trails gained more and more users, there was growing concern that they would not remain in their current state without additional labour and ongoing maintenance. There are now 16 kilometres of trails of a high quality that are suitable for hikers of all skill levels and offer some breath-taking views.
At Learnie Red Rock, there is something for everyone, including forest roads, single-track trails with green, blue, and black grades, an orange-graded bike park, and dirt jump areas. The green-level trail offers a genuine mountain biking experience, complete with challenging trail features that put inexperienced riders and younger riders to the test. The location of the dirt jump area is in the trees immediately to the east of the A832 Rosemark to Cromarty Road, close to where parking is available. This location features three distinct jump difficulty levels, ranging from beginner to expert. At the first fork in the forest road, which leads from the parking lot to the beginning of the trails, you have a choice between going right for Home Green and Callachy Hill, which includes the bike park, or going left for the beginning of the Muirhead Climb, which leads to the "Firth View" or the beginning of the black grade routes. Both of these options are accessible via the forest road. One of the best ways to get started riding single-track is on the Home Green trail, which has a green difficulty rating.
It is possible to avoid obstacles such as double jumps and table tops by moving slowly and rolling over rather than taking off at them. You can get from Home Green to Callachy Hill by taking a blue-rated climb that is 1.5 kilometres long and ascends the hill in a winding path that takes you up and over towering larch trees along the way. After climbing Callachy Hill, take a quick ride along the forest road to reach the entrance of the bike park. This is an orange graded downhill trail that features double jumps, tabletops, and large bermed corners, and it allows riders to pick up some serious speed. Continue straight for the less technical but no less thrilling Callachy Downhill, a twisting 1.3-kilometer descent, or take the Green Link, another green-graded single track, to remain on green and blue-graded trails, respectively. Both of these options are single tracks.
Learnie Hill is where experienced mountain bikers will go because it is a black-graded section with challenging technical climbs and descents. Muirhead Climb is another blue-graded ascent that connects to Firth View, which is also blue-graded and offers spectacular views of the Moray Firth. The Quarry Climb and Traacy's Trees are two of the rock features that can be found on Learnie Hill. If either of these proves to be too challenging, there is a trail that you can take around them. After that are more rocky trails, rock features, and some North Shore, such as Seisometer, Gyroscope, and Dextrality, which is described as a "unique rock horseshoe." Mephisto is a stone-lined slope that descends vertically ten feet from the bank to the road.