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Jonny
(@jonny)
Member Admin

Mountain biking trail centres have provided the double impact of giving those who ride their bikes off road a destination for fun and exertion and for the regions who host them, a much needed positive economic boost.

The 7stanes network of mountain biking centres in the South of Scotland were initially developed as part of the response to the impact of the foot and mouth outbreak of 2001 on tourism and hill farming. The visitors these centres brought to the region made a significant positive contribution to the local economy. The Forestry Commission Scotland’s 7stanes led the way in the development of MTB facilities in the UK and are rated among the best in the world.

By 2010, the majority of these visits were made to the two 7stanes centres in the Tweed Valley, Glentress and Innerleithen, which continue to be rated among the best for trail experiences anywhere.

Recent years have seen a growth in the number of MTB facilities across the UK and many new innovations in the sector at international level. These have changed the competitive environment in which mountain biking in the Tweed Valley operates, leading to recognition that, in order to continue to compete successfully in the growing MTB market, there is a need for additional facilities in the Tweed Valley that add to the biking experience and attract return and new visitors.

This need is exacerbated by the continued trends of decline in the Tweed Valley to visitor numbers, occupancy rates in the local accommodations and numbers of businesses going out of business. The rates of decline in the Scottish Borders are higher than for the rest of Scotland.

The community of Innerleithen in the Tweed valley decided that MTB was a leading theme and opportunity to be pursued to address this decline and as a means to sustain the community. A community call to action resulted in the formation of AIMUp, a group of volunteers who have developed a viable operational plan for new facilities which includes a unique dedicated rail based uplift system, suitable for use by all visitor types. AIMUp’s proposal includes rechannelling earnings to community projects and trail development. AIMUp secured planning permission and land owner agreements but capital funding from either public or private sources eludes them.

To address the economic decline and to secure the Tweed Valley’s future as a year round World destination, there is need for a for step change – a game changer is needed which can act as a catalyst for step change, a new café on its own is not sufficient. AIMUp views its uplift as the step change and a priority. The dedicated uplift with new visitor facilities and trails in the Tweed valley is the minimum priority if differentiation at National and continued status as an international centre is credible.

Meantime a report has been commissioned by Scottish Borders Council on behalf of the Tweed Valley Mountain Biking Stakeholder Group – a consortium of public and private sector bodies that has been formed in support of the South of Scotland Alliance’s Rural Economic Development Programme 2014 – 2016. This programme has identified mountain biking as one of four strategic priority areas for capital related activity in the South of Scotland. The Stakeholder Group has yet to determine the priorities for investment and a forward action plan.

AIMUp has a plan in need of investment. AIMUp is pressing its case with the Stakeholder Group and seeks statements of support from the MTB and wider communities that:

The dedicated uplift system will add to the attractiveness and status of the Tweed Valley as a year round MTB destination
The uplift is a priority and will be a “game changer”
It will be more than downhill mountain bikers who would use the uplift.
Please email Ian Campbell at innerleithenaimup@gmail.com to offer supporting comments.

Quote
Posted : 06/07/2015 12:49 pm
AndyP
(@andyp)
Reputable Member

Is there anywhere we can see a more detailed proposal for additional trails?

In my eyes an uplift based predominantly on the current trails wouldn't be a game changer.
It'd be great for local Enduro/DH riders, but I dont think there's enough volume (km) or variety (trail grading) to entice people to travel 100's of miles to make a weekend of it.

Using BPW and Antur Stiniog as examples of new uplift facilities, they have a full range of trails from newbie friendly blue trails to full on super gnarly black/orange runs.
Even then, considering the cost of B&B's (for a single guy not sharing room cost), it makes it hard to justify the expense unless its a short stop as part of a much larger trip.

Not that i'm at all against an uplift - I just think that volume/variety of trail network and onsite facilities (changing, showers, cafe etc) are all bigger "game changer's".

ReplyQuote
Posted : 06/07/2015 1:25 pm
asdfqwerty
(@asdfqwerty)
Estimable Member

I can understand the appeal of an uplift to the DHers but not sure it would necessarily attract more folk to the other trails at Inners. The climb onto Minch Moor is part of the fun of doing the XC there. Would also be interested in seeing more about how it would be incorporated into other, new trails.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 06/07/2015 2:36 pm
theblade
(@theblade)
Prominent Member

It's a load of bollocks and isn't aimed at making the place a better downhill resort! It's aimed at promoting economic growth in the area i.e creating jobs at the sacrifice of downhill trails...with the creation of a roller coaster/luge etc... along with shops etc...don't get fished in by this pipe dream....I know for a fact that this is preventing the development of the trails and that the FC would happily throw serious cash tomorrow to develop and upkeep the existing dh trails but due to the uncertainty AimUP is causing then they won't (as they think it might get built on once they have). The truth is this is a pipe dream that has been going on for 9 years and they have no money to do it anyway and never will....the sooner they f**k off the better for everone. It's not as if there isn't a commercial trail centre 5 miles up the road anyway...or that the area is in need of economic growth either!!!!

ReplyQuote
Posted : 06/07/2015 7:05 pm
theblade
(@theblade)
Prominent Member

Also they have recently been playing the disabled card a hell of a lot of late since they have been getting a bit of opposition...personally I think trails for the disabled are a great idea but I would have thought Glentress would be more suited to that personally due to the steepness of Innerleithen (although I might be under estimating the capabilities of the disabled here...I don't know) ?

ReplyQuote
Posted : 06/07/2015 7:11 pm
POAH
 POAH
(@poah)
Reputable Member

cost of installing and upkeep of an uplift would be quite high I'd imagine. cant ever see it happening at inners sadly cause I'd go more often.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 06/07/2015 7:22 pm
Geebs
(@geebs)
Reputable Member

@AndyP wrote:

Is there anywhere we can see a more detailed proposal for additional trails?

In my eyes an uplift based predominantly on the current trails wouldn't be a game changer.
It'd be great for local Enduro/DH riders, but I dont think there's enough volume (km) or variety (trail grading) to entice people to travel 100's of miles to make a weekend of it.

Using BPW and Antur Stiniog as examples of new uplift facilities, they have a full range of trails from newbie friendly blue trails to full on super gnarly black/orange runs.
Even then, considering the cost of B&B's (for a single guy not sharing room cost), it makes it hard to justify the expense unless its a short stop as part of a much larger trip.

Not that i'm at all against an uplift - I just think that volume/variety of trail network and onsite facilities (changing, showers, cafe etc) are all bigger "game changer's".

I wholeheartedly agree with these comments. Inner's is one of the best tracks around once you get to the top, but as stated, there isn't enough variety of trails to "link in". You've got a 6k slog to the top (which I don't mind) but then it's right down to the bottom with few options of extending. It's a long haul to do the xc twice, which makes it potentially a long travel for an hour and a half's sport. Anyone who uses Inner's knows it isn't used to a tenth of GT, even tho it's ten times better. I suspect this is due to the reason stated above.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 06/07/2015 7:25 pm
druidh
(@druidh)
Honorable Member

I thought the "business case" for the uplift included taking coach passengers up to a viewing point, probably just before paying for over-priced tea and scones and buying a knitted scarf for the folks back home. If all of that, plus an income from cyclists stacks up then I wish them the best of luck. As already said, I think there would need to be a bigger selection of "family-friendly" trails that managed to descend somewhat less steeply (and would therefore be slower/take more time). How that would fit in amongst the existing trails may well be the worry that the FC are expressing.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 07/07/2015 10:54 pm
Gav
 Gav
(@gav)
Reputable Member

@theblade wrote:

I know for a fact that this is preventing the development of the trails and that the FC would happily throw serious cash tomorrow to develop and upkeep the existing dh trails but due to the uncertainty AimUP is causing then they won't (as they think it might get built on once they have). The truth is this is a pipe dream that has been going on for 9 years and they have no money to do it anyway and never will....the sooner they f**k off the better for everone. It's not as if there isn't a commercial trail centre 5 miles up the road anyway...or that the area is in need of economic growth either!!!!

Utter rubbish.. FCs have a plan in place which involves them building NO trails anywhere. The current FCS mandate is to service the trails it already has and nothing more.. and that is at all FCS sites. How you can blame AimUP for FCS's lack of investment is bewildering.

If you are going to make claims that are alledgedly "fact" then post up hard evidence to support it.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 08/07/2015 12:21 am
Gav
 Gav
(@gav)
Reputable Member

@Geebs wrote:

I wholeheartedly agree with these comments. Inner's is one of the best tracks around once you get to the top, but as stated, there isn't enough variety of trails to "link in". You've got a 6k slog to the top (which I don't mind) but then it's right down to the bottom with few options of extending. It's a long haul to do the xc twice, which makes it potentially a long travel for an hour and a half's sport. Anyone who uses Inner's knows it isn't used to a tenth of GT, even tho it's ten times better. I suspect this is due to the reason stated above.

There are literally dozens of options to extend. Trails like: Kitty Litter, Prespacker, Ali Lees, Upper Quarry, Rooty Lane, Inners Classic, Mince baby mince, To Hard for EWS.. to name but a few...

ReplyQuote
Posted : 08/07/2015 12:30 am
Grey
 Grey
(@grey)
Famed Member

There was a plan of trails posted somewhere at some point, it contained green, blue and new red trails and DH trails. Along with new walking paths.
It was all pretty impressive, basically Bike Park Wales but in Scotland .

ReplyQuote
Posted : 08/07/2015 12:57 am
Kai
 Kai
(@kai)
Noble Member

This seems after the event as I gather the Council has thrown it out now!?

I have also heard that the received wisdom from some locals is that FCS weren't going to spend any time or money on Inners while AimUp were in the frame. I expect that FCS has no plans for 'investment' for the current financial year as they'll have based that on 'known definites' rather than the possibility that AimUp might lose backing. That may change for next year.

While I have considerable sympathy for AimUp's ambitions, it never felt to me like a serious proposition with a good chance of success.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 08/07/2015 1:03 pm
Geebs
(@geebs)
Reputable Member

@Gav wrote:

@Geebs wrote:

I wholeheartedly agree with these comments. Inner's is one of the best tracks around once you get to the top, but as stated, there isn't enough variety of trails to "link in". You've got a 6k slog to the top (which I don't mind) but then it's right down to the bottom with few options of extending. It's a long haul to do the xc twice, which makes it potentially a long travel for an hour and a half's sport. Anyone who uses Inner's knows it isn't used to a tenth of GT, even tho it's ten times better. I suspect this is due to the reason stated above.

There are literally dozens of options to extend. Trails like: Kitty Litter, Prespacker, Ali Lees, Upper Quarry, Rooty Lane, Inners Classic, Mince baby mince, To Hard for EWS.. to name but a few...

Aye, I realise there's plenty of options for you guys who know the place but for the average Joe that isn't the case. So when said Joe travels from far afield he only has one option aside from D/H tracks.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 08/07/2015 8:52 pm
theblade
(@theblade)
Prominent Member

@Gav wrote:

@theblade wrote:

I know for a fact that this is preventing the development of the trails and that the FC would happily throw serious cash tomorrow to develop and upkeep the existing dh trails but due to the uncertainty AimUP is causing then they won't (as they think it might get built on once they have). The truth is this is a pipe dream that has been going on for 9 years and they have no money to do it anyway and never will....the sooner they f**k off the better for everone. It's not as if there isn't a commercial trail centre 5 miles up the road anyway...or that the area is in need of economic growth either!!!!

Utter rubbish.. FCs have a plan in place which involves them building NO trails anywhere. The current FCS mandate is to service the trails it already has and nothing more.. and that is at all FCS sites. How you can blame AimUP for FCS's lack of investment is bewildering.

If you are going to make claims that are alledgedly "fact" then post up hard evidence to support it.

I said development and investment of existing trails....something that is going on at a trail centre run by the FC not too far South as we speak!
If you can't see why AimUP may be hindering similar,well needed work at Inners dh trails then you shall have to remain bewildered...but it's pretty clear to me!!
This uplift they had lined up to buy must be ready for the museum by now....time to throw the towel in and let us all move on!!!

ReplyQuote
Posted : 08/07/2015 9:04 pm
Gav
 Gav
(@gav)
Reputable Member

@theblade wrote:

something that is going on at a trail centre run by the FC not too far South as we speak!

Where?

ReplyQuote
Posted : 08/07/2015 10:57 pm
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