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Trail Academy: Aberdeenshire 2024

An exciting new pilot project for Aberdeenshire will build on the successes of work in the Tweed Valley and Badenoch and Strathspey and offers 6 young people a chance to engage in an industry led trail building academy programme.

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Trail Academy: Aberdeenshire is aimed at young people aged 12-18 who mountain bike and have been, or have a desire to, build and maintain mountain bike trails.

This programme aims to increase knowledge and skills around trail building, provide insight into the process behind authorised trail building projects, highlight the importance of positive landowner and community relationships and look at how we build mountain bike trails in areas where there are protected species.

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Sessions will develop/include the following:

  • Increased knowledge around trail building tools & techniques.
  • Understanding of environmental factors which influence trail building.
  • Planning trail maintenance and improvements.
  • Participation in professional and volunteer trail building / maintenance sessions.
  • Awareness of further trail builder training, education & career opportunities.
  • Working as part of a team.
  • Trail testing.
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This is a pilot programme and sessions will utilise the trail network at a number of different locations across the region. We will use a mini-bus to transport students to and from Aboyne Academy. Trail Academy students will be required to ride bikes and physically contribute to trail building or maintenance sessions.

Access to a bike, transport to/from Aboyne Academy or other equipment should not be a limiting factor in applying, and DMBinS will endeavour to meet the needs of all participants.

The Academy programme will start on 4th June normally running on a Tuesday Evening 4-7pm for 4 weeks (with an additional Thursday evening session on 20th June). A full detailed timetable will be sent to the successful applicants, but please ensure you can attend the following dates before applying.

Dates and Venues

4th June 2024

Tarland - Introduction to Trail Maintenance, Local Projects & International Opportunities

11th June 2024

Tarland - Professional Trail Design & Building

18th June 2024

Pitfichie - Trail Maintenance and construction on natural trails

20th June 2024

Pitfichie - Summer Solstice Dig Day (Note: This is a Thursday evening and is part of a wider event)

25th June2 024

Pitfichie - Evaluating and Planning New Trails

Close date for applications - 26th May 2024. Successful students will be notified on the 28th May 2024.

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Successful applicants will be required to attend an online pre-start session on 30th May. This will be a chance for parents, guidance teachers, and trail academy students to get an outline of the programme and provide the opportunity and space to ask any questions.

A follow up session will also be arranged to share some of the work and learnings. A short-film made during the programme.

Whilst these sessions will take place afterschool, it important that permission is granted from parents/guardians, but also education staff, especially for those who may require to leave school early to attend.

This project is led by Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS) and North East Adventure Tourism (NEAT) with support from Aberdeenshire Trail Association and funded via The Cairngorm Capercaillie Project.

CRC Trails will provide trail building instruction on site. Where required a qualified MTB Coach/Guide will lead riding sessions. These coaches and trail builders have been selected based on their knowledge, experience and reputation within the trail building industry.

CRC and ATA will provide full guidance and instruction during the trail maintenance and creation elements of the course. There will be a qualified guide providing suitable guidance and leadership when on the bikes to offer reassurance during the trail riding elements.

The coaches have been selected from the mountain bike and trail building industry based on their knowledge and experience they can provide.

The project will be insured through Scottish Cycling, however, site and activity specific insurance will also apply.

Fee Wallace from DMBinS is experienced in working with young people, and facilitating trail building groups. She holds a up to date PVG and has undertaken appropriate and relevant Child Protection Training as per Scottish Cycling guidelines, additionally there is a safeguarding policy in place and available for parents/guardians and young people. Fee will be present during each of the sessions, and any concerns should be reported to her in the first instance.

Youth image ATA jersey
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Information about the work in Badenoch and Strathspey with the Trail Feathers Project and Trail Academy

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