Now in it’s 4th year, Stu Thomson’s Aberfoyle Festive Slip ‘n Slide went down yesterday with almost 50 riders battling the mud and ruts wheel-to-wheel.

Nothing quite says Christmas like chasing each other down some steep, rutted madness. Stu Thomson yet again organised a big ride out between Christmas and New Year, seeing almost fifty riders skitter their way down the trails Aberfoyle is now famous for.

Both Pete and Chris were on hand to document the carnage.

December 29th saw a bunch of very keen riders descend on Aberfoyle from all across Scotland to hassle each other down trails that are difficult enough on your own. Add the collective churning ability of a hundred tyres and some trail congestion, and you have a recipe for some serious good times!

Stu Thomson Joe Barnes Ben Cathro Chris Hutchens Aberfoyle The Forth Inn Wideopenmag

The start/finish point for the day’s antics, The Forth Inn in Aberfoyle. Phil the owner would put on free soup for everyone and provide secure bike storage. What a hero, thanks Phil!

Stu Thomson Joe Barnes Ben Cathro Chris Hutchens Aberfoyle The Forth Inn Wideopenmag

Preparing for battle. ‘SXC’ might be one of the tamer trails on the hill, but it’s all relative. Nobody wanting to be first down and have a wave of nutters follow.

Stu Thomson Joe Barnes Ben Cathro Chris Hutchens Aberfoyle The Forth Inn Wideopenmag

Team Wideopenmag’s Chris Hutchens leads out former team mate and Sick Skill’s chief Ben Cathro, with Dirt School’s Rab Wardell in hot pursuit.

Stu Thomson Joe Barnes Ben Cathro Chris Hutchens Aberfoyle The Forth Inn Wideopenmag

Joe Barnes made the trip down with a decent Fort William contingent, and could barely contain his excitement.

Stu Thomson Joe Barnes Ben Cathro Chris Hutchens Aberfoyle The Forth Inn Wideopenmag

Cut Media’s chief button presser Andre coming in a bit too hot into ‘Nimmo’s’ first of many steep chutes.

Stu Thomson Joe Barnes Ben Cathro Chris Hutchens Aberfoyle The Forth Inn Wideopenmag

The calm before the storm. Everyone catching a breathe before the madness starts yet again. Rodeo about to be skidded to within an inch of its life.

Stu Thomson Joe Barnes Ben Cathro Chris Hutchens Aberfoyle The Forth Inn Wideopenmag

‘Golden Owl’ was the last trail of the day, and probably the trickiest. Everyone who’d made it down safely keeping a keen eye on the rest. Plenty of encouragement being directed back up the hill here.

Stu Thomson Joe Barnes Ben Cathro Chris Hutchens Aberfoyle The Forth Inn Wideopenmag

Dirt School’s Rab Wardell, less concerned about team rumours about his alleged move to Claud Butler, and more about whether his mum would be raging about him getting his Rudolph jumper mucky.

Stu Thomson Joe Barnes Ben Cathro Chris Hutchens Aberfoyle The Forth Inn Wideopenmag

More Golden Owl encouragement. Stu Thomson and Sam Flockhart look on.

Stu Thomson Joe Barnes Ben Cathro Chris Hutchens Aberfoyle The Forth Inn Wideopenmag

Rider down! A carpet of oak leaves made what is usually a pretty tricky last few corners of Golden Owl even more hectic.

Stu Thomson Joe Barnes Ben Cathro Chris Hutchens Aberfoyle The Forth Inn Wideopenmag

Scottish Masters Downhill Champ Alan Blyth nursing a dicky shoulder put on his best outfit for hammering some fire roads, talks shop with the Top Chief himself.

Stu Thomson Joe Barnes Ben Cathro Chris Hutchens Aberfoyle The Forth Inn Wideopenmag

Like a pig in… Steep, muddy ruts. No wonder Joe Barnes had a smile on his face, Aberfoyle is very much his kind of territory.

Big thanks to Phil and the staff at The Forth Inn for looking after 50-odd muddy riders, and providing some top notch food post-ride.

Did you get together for a festive ride with a bunch of mates? There’s still time if not. Show us your pictures if you did!


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