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Laggan Update

Laggan Wolftrax is a much-loved Scottish trail centre known for its rock that gives the place its own unique character. One obvious omission from the facilities on site has always been a blue trail. That is soon to all change as the new blue options are set to open for the October holidays. Find out more about this awesome project!

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Through the Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland ‘Bike Plan for the Highlands’ the need for a dedicated blue trail was identified. A trail concept design was then commissioned, carried out by CRC trails.

The brief was a proper Laggan blue that would give riders a genuine experience of Laggan and a stepping-stone to the rockier red and black trails. This design developed from looking at an existing blue trail design and walking over the ground to find the best possible opportunities.

The result was exciting – a blue climb and descent, but one that would help give all riders a new and improved experience of Laggan – more single track climbing, less forest road, a trail that could be broken down into mini-loops to allow seasoning, coachable features that allow progression, and links into the existing trail network.

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Then the hard work of securing funding and landowner permission began. These two elements proved to be closely linked – once the funding started to fall into place, the negotiations with the landowner ramped up and the pieces of the puzzle slowly began to fall into place. The sportscotland Cycling Facilities Fund really gave the project momentum. Once this funding was secured Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Cairngorms National Park Authority offered significant contributions. The final bit of funding came from Badenoch and Strathspey Trail Association, through funding coming from the Cairngorm Capercaillie Project.

Late summer 2023 saw trail builders CRC Trails move onto site. The first day on site, CRC spotted an opportunity – by reversing the existing lower red downhill they could create a blue climb, and then build a new blue and red descent. This was a major change of direction, but having run the idea past project funders it was clear that the new proposal was a win-win: rather than a blue up and down, we would get 2 new downhills and a new climb. Time to get the build started!

Laggan is famous for its rock slabs, and almost immediately this started to impact the build. CRC always knew that the bedrock would be a key feature and a challenge to build on, but how they would go about this in practice was a bit of an unknown. What the rock would actually be like once they started to uncover it would then define the build techniques required.

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What has been created so far is a brilliant tightly packed network of trails that should allow all riders to get a great experience of Laggan – it’s really easy to watch other riders on the trails as you climb to ‘The Lair’ trail start. The trails are a real mix of classic Laggan rock and CRC’s trademark flow and berms – which should allow riders with a broader range of experience and skills to enjoy Laggan.

The climb ‘Give and Take’ winds up the hill between the blue and red descents, giving glimpses of what’s to come. ‘The Lair’ is a rest point and trail start, where riders can congregate and prepare for the trails to come. ‘Spare Ribs’ extends the existing red ‘Rib Rattler' trail, giving interesting rock features and big scoopy berms.

The upper new blue gives a nod to the many slab-rock features it uses – so the name ‘Slaba-Dabba-Doo’ seemed appropriate. Leading into it is a red slab rock feature called ‘Bamm Bamm’ (keeping the flintstones theme!) – designed to give an easier version of the classic ‘Airs Rock’. Referencing the area’s history and the old fort on the hill opposite, ‘The Pict’ is a flowing fun introduction to the blue trails.

Still to come is a lower blue descent linking back to the Laggan Wolftrax café, which will be build late 2023, ready for opening in spring 2024.

The new trails will link into the Laggan old classic, and is definitely a bit of a reimagining of how riders will experience the trails, maintaining Laggan’s status as many riders favourite trail riding destination.

The trails are planned to open during the October holidays.

Thanks to Laggan Legend Lindsay for some of these snaps. Also, our Ruari asked Joe Barnes to test ride some of the tracks with CRC riders and Cristian from Laggan Forest Trust. Keep an eye on Joe's social media channels for a taster of what you can expect!

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