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Holland invades Kielder

Pic: Mark Pinder

The current ground-hugging profile of the Good Old British Pound Sterling may have made all sorts of things (bike parts, trips to mountainous parts of the world) more expensive. But the converse is also true – British stuff is cheaper abroad. That’s great news for the likes of Hope, but it’s not just manufacturers who may benefit – we’re now exporting hills and trails too. Kinda.

Certainly the north-east of England is pushing hard to become an international MTB destination – recently 50 riders from the Netherlands arrived for the first tailor-made riding holiday to the region, organised by ferry company DFDS and regional development agency One North East.

Led by 1996 Olympic gold medallist Bart Brentjens, the 50 riders sampled a day in the 155,000 acre Kielder Water and Forest Park, an overnight stay near Hexham and another day’s riding in Hamsterley Forest. Brentjens did some coaching along the way, with local tour organiser Saddle Skedaddle doing the guiding.

Helen McLoughlin, International Marketing Manager at One North East said:

“Mountain biking is an increasingly popular sport and as Bart’s visit shows, North East England is attracting riders from across Europe. The region’s routes, including the challenging Deadwater Fell at Kielder Water and Forest Park, will put even the best bikers to the test and it goes without saying that the views across Northumberland are some of the most attractive in the country.”

There are more new trails on the way at Kielder, too, with £900,000 going in to the project. As well as forest trails, this year will see the completion of the Lakeside Way, a 27 mile circumnavigation of Kielder Water. DFDS will be offering MTB trips from northern Europe until October.

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