I've a vague plan to get the ferry from Belfast over to Cairnryan and do a weekend (one night) bike packing trip. Anyone any experience or advice for routes around there? Looks like there are lots of tracks once you get over to Glen Trool, but the first bit from the sea is a little trickier to stay off-road. Is it safe to assume any track shown on OS map in forest will be accessible to bikes, or are some blocked?
Looks like you can get to Glentrool via the southern Upland way, not sure how bike able the route is, but from looking at the map looks like you can bypass some of the questionable single track sections via minor roads and forest tracks if need be. Coming back it looks like you can link up forest tracks and minor roads going via Newton Stewart, but probably more on road than off this way back.
In general most double track forest tracks on OS maps should be fine to cycle, though some might be fantastic and smooth others rough and a total bog, no way of really knowing before you go, some might be blocked with fallen trees etc but these should be easy to bypass.
Forest tracks can be a bit mareish with changes with the forest management and obliteration occurring after map revisions. That said the main through routes (which after all is what you need) tend to be retained for logging and access. The forests to the East of Cairnryan have really good access roads as its been used as a wind farm area
Some tools that we've used in the past. ...Google earth is great and generally much more up to date ...https://m.geograph.org.uk/ is great to for clues its aim to have a photo for every gridsquare in the uk...so with a bit of correlation and map sleuthing you can work out it something as it appears ... ...galloway has a good bit of motor rallying..and while it wont be going on you can look athe routes they have used e.g. http://gallowayhillsrally.co.uk/