Traditionally we kick off these “new trail opens in Scotland” stories with a paragraph that, in essence, says, “Cor blimey, those Scots don’t half build a lot of trails” before going on to tell you about the most recent one. The slight difference here is that Carron Valley’s new trails are the first to be located in Scotland’s Central Belt, otherwise known as “the bit of Scotland that most of the population actually lives in” – Carron Valley is 20 minute’s drive from Glasgow, 15 from Stirling and 40 from Edinburgh or Perth and therefore more accessible for most Scots than some trail developments that are almost in England.
9km of trails have been built by volunteers from the Carron Valley Development Group (CVDG) working in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council, Stirling Council and Forestry Commission Scotland. The trails have just (well, last week in fact, but it’s a long way for news to travel) by MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, Cathie Craigie. She said:
“I am delighted to be opening the Carron Valley mountain bike trails. Mountain biking is an increasingly popular sport in Scotland, encouraging people to pursue an active lifestyle whilst enjoying the wonderful countryside around them. The sport is also attracting many tourists to the country who come to enjoy the many challenging and exciting trails we have to offer.
Given the tremendous work that has been done in partnership in their development, I am confident that the trails will become a firm favourite with all who use and visit the forest.”
Local biking volunteers formed the Carron Valley Development Group in 2003 to develop sustainable mountain bike routes in Carron Valley and have been the lead group involved with the project. The group, a recognised Scottish charity, has worked to secure over £90,000 in funding and engage support from a range of organisations to make their primary goal a reality.
David Russell of CVDG said:
“We are delighted with the new trails and look upon our achievements over the last three years with immense pride. We have invested thousands of hours in this project – from clearing and preparing areas in the forest to securing funding and contractors. The trails are superbly designed and constructed and offer ‘big country’ biking without the travelling often associated with other MTB centres. We hope this is just the beginning of something big in Carron Valley that will bring lasting economic and health benefits to the population of the Central Belt.
Of course, all this would not have been possible without the support of the partnerships we have formed with North Lanarkshire Council, Stirling Council, Forestry Commission Scotland and our funders.
Personally, the icing on the cake is the look on people’s faces when they ride the trails for the first time – invariably its smiles all round!”
The Carron Valley trails comprise red-graded trails for intermediate riders and an ungraded ‘fun park’ trail, located near the Eastern car park of the Carron Valley Forest. The forest is situated close to Kilsyth and Stirling, within one hour of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth. It is also on the doorstep of areas with the poorest health records in Scotland. Another asset of the location is that the forest is readily accessible from nearby transport links from Kilsyth, Denny and Stirling.
To find out more about CVDG visit www.carronvalley.org.uk