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Winds of change - A film about storms, bike trails and community.

With 80% of trails lost across Aberdeenshire following Storm Arwen and subsequent storms, trail and environmental advocate Manon Carpenter learns how mountain bikers are adapting to a more extreme climate in an effort to secure a long term future for their trails and quality of life.

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When Tommy Wilkinson and Manon Carpenter approached us about the idea for this film we we knew it was an important story to tell and message to relay. The period following the storms were one of our busiest ever times as we worked hard to keep mountain bikers updated on the situation across the country, working with Forestry and Land Scotland and many other landowners and land managers as the arduous and unprecedented recovery work began. Across Aberdeenshire, The Tweed Valley and Dumfries and Galloway local communities and businesses were also feeling the impact as visitor numbers drastically dropped. This film shows the positives and the opportunities that that have come out of such an catastrophic environmental disaster. With increased investment into our trail network, new trails, thoughts on the diversification of tree crops and stronger working relationships, a progressive ,collaborative approach going forward will ensure that winds are changing in a positive way.

There was no doubt that the impact on the riding community, local businesses and wider communities across Aberdeenshire was unprecedented, but then so was the action taken. In fact, this work was recognised only last week with Aberdeenshire Trail Association and our Will, being awarded the IMBA EUROPE Protect and Preserve Award as part of the Take Care of Your Trails 2023 Awards.


A film by Manon Carpenter and Tommy Wilkinson

Produced by: DWAgency (Dwaco)

Photography: Samantha Dugon

A Specialized Soil Searching Film, with support from Patagonia Europe and Developing Mountain biking in Scotland.

From November 2021 to February 2022, a series of powerful storms rocked areas of the UK in ways that had not been seen since the infamous 1987 hurricane, 34 years earlier. Whole towns and villages were cut off from power, heating, running water, and mobile phone reception. Further to the immediate impact on lives, an estimated 16 million trees were blown over, blocking roads, flattening forestry plantations, destroying vehicles, and starting a long-term impact on recreation provisions. 18 months on, the operations to alleviate the impact of the storms continue. Many forests remain closed to mountain bikers, with trails buried under a twisted maze of unstable timber. Some may be lost forever, leaving the raconteurs to wax lyrical of days gone by. All, however, is not lost.

While some areas and communities are sitting in limbo as to whether their hallowed spaces and revered trails will reopen, others have managed to stride forward with a progressive, collaborative approach with land managers.

In this Soil Searching film, trail and environmental advocate Manon Carpenter takes a journey of discovery to two of the worst affected regions in the UK—Northumberland and Aberdeenshire—to see how these passionate communities are managing. Through practical actions and sharing of stoke, Manon learns how mountain bikers are adapting to a more extreme climate in an effort to secure a long-term future for their trails, forests, and quality of life.

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