There’s clearly no stopping the Scots when it comes to trail building. While most of the action thus far has been to the south of Scotland, the latest trail network to open is in the Highlands proper. The Learnie Red Rock trails are on the Black Isle, which is the sticky-out bit next door to Inverness.
The trails, which take their name from the billion-year-old reddish rock upon which they’re built, feature challenging routes for beginners and experienced riders, along with dirt jump and “fun park” areas. Plus you get the added (and surprisingly rare for an island nation) benefit of coastal views.
The new network has grown out of various unofficial trails created by local riders. HiMBA (the Highland Mountain Biking Association) and FC Scotland teamed up to work on sustainable, purpose-built trails that would take more traffic than the old informal ones ever could. HiMBA and FCS managed to secure £200,000 of funding and the build was on.
Alan Stevenson, Recreation & Tourism Manager, Forestry Commission Scotland, said:
“Projects like this depend heavily on the support of funding partners, local communities and businesses to be successful. Given the overwhelming support Forestry Commission Scotland has received in the development of the Learnie Red Rock trails, I am confident these trails will grow to become even more popular with local mountain bikers and encourage young and old to venture to the forest for recreation.”
Paul Thompson, chairman of HiMBA, added:
“All of us in HiMBA are delighted with the finished trails at Learnie Red Rock, and look forward to having an exciting year-round facility on our doorstep. Some of the routes promise to challenge the most experienced of riders, but at the same time there are trails for the less experienced… It’s been especially encouraging to see the routes being used by local families trying off-road first time.”
Want to check the trails out? The Red Rock Trails are in Learnie Forest, Black Isle, on the A832 Rosemarkie to Cromarty road, about half and hour from Inverness. Further details at www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland.