We hoped that this would be a pretty special event, and it was. From the group rides and swim spots, to the superb presentations and panels, the food, the awesome company, the Awards, the music, (and dancing), pretty cool event partners and the venue absolutely added to this being the most sustainable, inclusive and community focussed Scottish MTB Gathering to date. Here is a wee taster of what went down!
Images - Finlay Anderson
Welcome to Perthshire and Comrie Croft from event partners, Comrie Croft. Andrew shared the story of the evolution of Comrie Croft from a struggling farm to a unique tourism offer that has sustainability and mountain biking at its core.
Graeme was able to share an update on the progress, on behalf of the members of the MTB Consortium, on the implementation of the 2019-2025 Scottish Mountain Bike Strategy and the key themes and action areas that collectively the community, land managers and owners, businesses, national agencies, Local Authorities, and riders will all play a part in delivering.
Sustainable mountain bike trails: Tom's presentation illuminated the need for research into the impact of trails and for delegates to consider that if we truly want a sustainable trail model we need to consider what people (riders) want to ride alongside the more established pillars of sustainability: environment, social and economic.
A really interesting but challenging project, which is seeing local mountain bikers develop their plans into something which can achieve the projects objectives. Awesome to see mountain bikers have a voice in a wider conservation effort.
As a community who care about recreation in the outdoor environment we have opportunities and responsibilities to protect the places we love to ride.
For more on this - watch this space - as a pretty special film that the Gathering delegates were shown, will be released shortly.
Further reading -
How sustainable is mountain biking in Scotland? What actions will help us collectively improve?
Doug Blease - EnviroCente
Lauren McCallum – Protect Our Winters
Stuart Chalmers – Forestry and Land Scotland
Tom Campbell - Edinburgh Napier University
An insightful and thought provoking session building on Tom's earlier presentation.
Aneela provided an informative and emotive look at diversity and inclusion in mountain biking and discusses why both are important for a healthy, vibrant MTB community. This was followed by a healthy panel discussion.
Aneela McKenna - Mor Diversity
Neil Russell - Adaptive Riders Collective
Aoife Glass - The International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport
Nyasha Makusha - Rider and Video Creator
Anna Riddell - Ride Out Coaching & Limitlass
The panel explored further why diversity and inclusion are good for the mountain biking community, for the individual mountain biker and how diversity and inclusion in our clubs and at our events is so important. Drawing on their own individual experiences, this was an inspiring session. We heard their stories and were encouraged to all play a part in creating an amazing, diverse community where the contributions, perspectives and the presence of many different people are embraced.
Workshop One - UK Trails Project Discussing the Brief: Right Trails, People, Place and Time Report
Workshop hosted by DMBinS, the new UK Trails Manager (online) and Alex Rafferty SRAM. Right trail, right place, right people, right time. SRAM partners with UK cycling and land management organisations to help create a sustainable future for mountain bike trails across the UK. This workshop looked into the development of the brief for the report to help support the future sustainability and security of the trail network across the UK.
Workshop Two - The future development of the British Mountain Bike Leadership Award. Workshop hosted by British Cycling and DMBinS.
How can the awards evolve and improve? This was an opportunity to influence the short, medium and long term development of the awards. Download this presentation below.
Workshop Three - Destination Development with, and for, Communities Workshop hosted by Ruari Watt DMBinS – Highlands and Will Clarke DMBinS – Aberdeenshire/NEAT.
This workshop explored new improved models of tourism development that engage and involve communities in the tourism offer to benefit locals alongside visitors.
Bob MacFarlane, the UCI Cycling World Championships MTB manager presented to the Gathering on the world's largest ever cycling event, hosted in Scotland for the first time. Bob shared the successes of the mountain bike events and the lessons learned for Scotland to continue to host world-level events.
We were also delighted to be joined by MTB Legend and 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships Board Member to share her unique perspective from being an athlete competing in the XCE events, having riders on her team competing in the XC events, and an inside track of the successes and the learnings from the event as a board member.
Delegates were offered the chance to 'RIDE AND DIP' and shake off any hint of a fuzzy head after the Scottish Mountain Bike Awards with a ride to a natural pool in the River Ruchill for a refreshing dip. So many folks turned up for this 06:30am start and enjoyed this uniquely awesome start to the day.
Session One - Dig Session – Led by the Comrie Trails Team, DMBinS DIRTT Tutors and Trash Free Trails
Using mattocks, hoes, and spades the group reshaped a corner to improve the descent to the Croft. This was not just an opportunity to dig, but to chat all things trail related, and test ride the new corner.
Session Two - MTB Leader CPD Rideouts – Led by Glenmore Lodge
This was taster of Transformational Leadership followed by a led ride.
Session Three - Creating Accessible Rides – Led by Aneela McKenna – Mor Diversity & Neil Russell – Adaptive Riders Collective
This was a fabulous opportunity to find out how to create an inclusive space for riders of all abilities and from all different communities.
Session 4 - Trail Therapy Session – Led by DMBinS & Comrie Croft Trail Therapy Leaders
Trail Therapy is an innovative intervention programme that uses mountain biking to support those experiencing mental ill-health. This was an opportunity to get a practical feel for what Trail Therapy is all about.
We had so much positive, and emotional, feedback about these sessions and it is absolutely something we will be replicating at our next Gathering / Conference.
The Scottish Mountain Bike Awards 2023
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