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Highland Trails Update

So many awesome trail projects are coming together in the Highlands with some game changing additions to be completed this year that will add so much to your next visit North - here's a quick update!

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The Highlands cover a huge and diverse area of Scotland. The landscape and terrain changes from north to south and west to east. We have been working hard and supporting groups across the region to develop some exciting trail projects. There are some pretty incredible groups and committed individuals that we have been working with to push this work forward. We are also working with sportscotland to support trail projects through the Cycling Facilities Fund application process, build and through to opening. The projects below total over £1m investment in trails in the Highlands over the last 3 years.

Below are a few highlights, with more still to come.

Jamie Glenlivet

Creating grins as wide as the Cairngorms themselves, Glenlivet's Bazzas Berms, built by CRC.Scot, provides a superb, fun introduction too progressive riding. This new trail compliments the already hugely popular Orange Jumpline and has totally revamped Glenlivet. We were able to support the building of Bazzas Berms working with Glenlivet, Tomintoul Community Trust and sportscotland to secure funding for the project.

Find out more about the build.

CRC Glenlivet Quick Selects RB 16

Woodland Wheels pump track in Boat of Garten, built by Velosolutions, has been in use for a while now and has been incredibly popular. The pump track has given the village a real buzz, drawing in huge numbers of visitors, linking existing destinations like Laggan and Glenlivet. This amazing project brings community recreation, bikes and the forest environment together so successfully. We were delighted to support the building of the pumptrack through working with Woodland Wheels and sportscotland on funding, and before that through our Bike Plan for the Highlands.

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Abriachan Forest Trust was also successful in securing funding through the Cycling Facilities Fund, using the funding to upgrade trails, which look really fun, built by Hi-Trak and Ronan Taylor. These trails are really proving popular in particular with youth, school and community groups, making mountain biking and cycling more accessible to many more people. Through working with Abriachan Forest Trust and sportscotland, pulling together support from key users like Highlife Highland, we were able to help fund the trail upgrades.

Abriachan 1

A smaller, but really exciting trail development is happening in Dingwall, with a brilliant partnership between Dingwall MTB group, Knockbain Farm and trail builder Ronan Taylor.

The Dingwall MTB group and the landowner approached us right at the start of the project. We supported them in developing a memorandum of understanding - an agreement on how the two would work together to develop the trails. Since then we have continued to support the project by attending meetings to check standards of build and discuss next steps.

Three trails have been built in the last 3 years, starting with a pretty awesome jump line, a red descent, and then the most ambitious project, a really run flowy blue trail. In fact, this was inspiring enough to win Trail project of the year at the Scottish MTB awards last year! The group are ambitious, with more developments planned, it will be great to see what comes next.

Looking to the (near) future is a biggy at the home of the Downhill World Cup. Fort William Bike Park is a community led development with that has some really potential in terms of social objectives.

It will incorporate a pump track, skate/BMX park and trials area, and a bike workshop/club house that will be used to run sessions and events. The planning is in its final stages, with Velosolutions and Concreate due to start building in March, ready for an opening event as part of the 2023 Cycling World Championships.

Fort William Bike Park will be a multi discipline facility,with some really great partnerships and objectives. sportscotland recognised its potential as a hub facility, which attracted a higher level of funding - £290k towards its overall cost of over £500k. We have worked closely with the project and sportscotland on funding, planning and building partnerships.

Check out the Velosolutions proposed image of the facility - it looks a beauty!

Fort William pump track

Laggan Wolftrax have exciting plans for a blue route. The trail would serve as a climb for all trails, linking to the red jumps and berms (regraded orange), upper red and black, and lower red. The blue downhill will incorporate lap-able looks and skills features, and be designed as a step up to the classic Laggan reds and Blacks. The Invitation to Tender has just done out, and the build is planned to start sometime in 2023, depending on contractor availability.

Our Bike Plan for the Highlands highlighted the need for a blue intermediate trail at Laggan, to allow progression to the classic rocky red and black trails, and to provide a more accessible trail in the wider Cairngorm's area. Since then we have worked really closely with Laggan Forest Trust, working on agreements with Forestry and Land Scotland, securing funding and strategic support, working with the trail designer and on the invitation to tender for the contract to build.

Find out more about the new Blue.

Laggan Trail Design 002 Trail Layout V5 1 1

Finally, with the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships fast approaching, we are supporting Rare Management and Nevis Range with some track upgrade work. A pretty cool part of this involved a track walk with Reece Wilson, Greg Williamson and Ben Cathro to look at what changes would be needed to bring the track up to standard, improve the experience for spectators, give greater opportunities for media, and get the riders fired up whilst keeping the character of the event.

We are supporting the efforts to secure funding to allow the upgrades to take place which will deliver a great event and continue to allow Nevis Range to offer a world class facility for elite athlete training, and ensure they continue hosting events beyond 2023.


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