Scotland’s two leading downhill mountain bikers, Emma Guy and
Crawford Carrick-Anderson, joined representatives of sportscotland at Nevis Range
on Nov 2nd to announce a sportscotland Lottery Fund award to develop the UK’s
first world class downhill mountain bike course.
The award of £23,786 will enable local bike club, West Highland Wheelers, to
develop a series of runs descending the slopes of Aonoch Mor from the 2,200ft (700m)
plateau right down to the existing ski car park.
Routes will vary in difficulty enabling use by the recreational cyclist wanting to
build their confidence, right up to the armour clad professionals on the international
Adaptations to the existing ski gondolas will save on pedalling by enabling cyclists
to transport their bikes to the top before the exhilarating descent and will introduce
a whole new visitor group to the facility.
Project applicant, Damian Forster, of West Highland Wheelers, said, "By extending
the existing low level cycle route to the top of the gondola station at Nevis Range
we will be creating and unparalleled facility in the UK.
"As with the adjacent ski slopes, users will be kept to specific routes which
will be clearly marked and graded for difficulty.
"It is our intention over the next few years to establish the facility’s reputation
as a downhill venue with the aim of bidding to host future world championship events
here in Scotland as early as 2002."
Alastair Dempster, Chairman of sportscotland, adds, "This development will open
up the excitement of downhill mountain biking to a whole new group of users against
the unique Scottish backdrop of Ben Nevis.
"In addition, it will provide a world class training ground for our existing
stars such as Emma and Crawford.
"Sport-related tourism has long been a key contributor to the Highland economy
and today’s announcement will be a further incentive for people from all parts of
Scotland, and beyond, to visit the area and get active in the outdoors."
Another project to encourage people to get out and get active also received support
today. An award of £15,000 from the sportscotland lottery fund to Falkirk Council
will be used to develop a recreational path network for cyclists, walkers, rider
and runners in the Roughcastle area in High Bonnybridge, South West of Falkirk.