Posted: 10th October 2013
Work has started on new mountain bike tracks at the Nevis Range Trail Centre in the Highlands.
This is the second phase of a bigger project and sees the construction of a green (beginner) trail and a blue (intermediate) one.
Both tracks are descents (accessed initially by forest road) and will have mini features to encourage the skills of budding downhillers while still remaining in keeping with cross country trail standards.
The new trails will be able to be ridden by a much wider range of mountain biker including families and small children. Together with the tracks already in place at Nevis Range the new trails will give riders the opportunity to build their all mountain skills from beginner to world cup rider in one top class location.
Highland based contractors Mark Hedderwick (Hitrak Ltd, Beauly) and Eenie MacGillivray (Acharacle) have now arrived on site to join the Nevis Range bike track team and build the trails. Both have considerable experience in building mountain bike trails around the Highlands and both have worked at Nevis Range before. Eenie was involved in building both the World Cup downhill and the gladiatorial 4 cross track, while Mark constructed the 5.5km Red descent from the top gondola station to the carpark.
The Nevis Range trail centre is already home to the UCI World Cup Downhill track, the Nevis Red and 48km of cross country trails including the World Championships loop, but the majority of the tracks are more suited to the committed mountain biker.
In the future there will also be two more jump lines (graded orange) built alongside the World Cup Downhill dirt jumps and an easy ‘up’ trail to allow mountain bikers an interesting ascent to the beginning of the new trails.
Both Scottish Cycling and High Life Highland see the trails as enhancing opportunities for young people at all levels through Active Schools programmes, coach lead skills development and performance training.
The £229,363 project is being funded by SportScotland, Highland and Islands Enterprise, Nevis Range, West Highland Wheelers.
Marian Austin, MD of Nevis Range said: “‘Nevis Range is known for the UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup which has won the Best Event award on many occasions since 2002 but what many people don’t realise is that there are fantastic cross country trails here too including the mini skills loops at the carpark. Over the last few years funding has been concentrated on retaining the World Cup events and building our unique red cross country trail which is accessed by Gondola. It is now recognised that we need to encourage more people to develop the skills to be able to ride these World Class trails and they have to start on easier trails with achievable challenges”. “As a business proudly located at the centre of the Outdoor Capital of the UK, we are adding to the opportunities that make Lochaber the ‘best place to experience the outdoors’ whether you are watching others from the viewpoint of the gondola., hiring a mountain bike for the first time or practicing for a mountain bike event’.
Damian Forster, Nevis Range Cycle Track Supervisor, said: “It’s great to be involved in the project to build new trails alongside such local experienced and renowned contractors. We hope to complete the green and blue trails before the snow arrives …”.
Louise Martin CBE, Chair of sportscotland, said: “sportscotland’s investment of £111,629 will help to create two new tracks which will offer opportunities to people of all ages and abilities to take part in mountain biking. It is exciting that work is now under way at the Nevis Range, and once the tracks are completed the world-class site will help to inspire future generations to be the best they can be.”
Elaine Jones from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) commented: "We are delighted to be assisting Nevis Range with another development which will attract even more visitors to the area. Nevis Range has gained an enviable reputation as one of the best downhill centres in the UK and contributes a huge amount to the local economy. These new trails will give locals and visitors who may not be confident enough to use the championship trails the opportunity to improve their skills levels on a purpose-built track. They will also encourage families and younger children to cycle - opening up the possibility of a future World Champion learning their skills on Nevis Range"