Today (Thursday 02 February 2017), at Nevis Range, Fort William, the heart of the Outdoor Capital of the UK, Forestry Commision Scotland (FCS) launched their new management policy and guidance on the management of Enduro events and trails in Scotland, together with No Fuss Events.
No Fuss Events, the team behind the hugely popular POC Scottish Mountain Bike Enduro Series, unveiled a new bridge in Leanachan Forest, part of a pilot project leading to the launch of the new Enduro event guidance. The new bridge, that gives riders and mountain bike event organisers renewed access to the popular trail, locally known as The Blue Crane, was built with support from FCS and funding from No Fuss Events, Nevis Range and West Highland Wheelers; together with the expert input and generosity of Thistle Access who have assisted in the fabrication, transportation and installation of the structure. The bridge planning and construction showcases the importance and effectiveness of successful partnerships in event organisation and land management.
This new management policy and guidance on the management of Enduro events and trails in Scotland demonstrates that the lights are now green and the development, sustainable future, and the continuation of Enduro racing in Scotland have been addressed. Scotland can offer world-class riding experiences at Enduro events and Scotland will maintain its rightful position as a world-class mountain bike destination.
John Ireland, Health and Safety Advisor for Forestry Commission Scotland, said:
“Mountain biking is really important to Forestry Commission Scotland and we welcome all responsible mountain bikers onto the national forest estate. We are a funding partner in Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland and have a national agreement with Scottish Cycling that sees us host a range of cycling events on the national forest estate. Enduro events are fun and accessible to riders of all abilities and this new guidance will help move the activity forward. We’re looking forward to the coming events in 2017 and working with event organisers.”
The team from No Fuss Events have been working closely with John Ireland, Health and Safety Advisor for FCS, in recent months on a pilot project in Leanachan Forest as the Enduro event guidance has evolved.
Frazer Coupland, Partner at No Fuss Events, said:
“The policy is important to us and other event organisers across Scotland. It will ultimately give guidance on which wild trails we can host events on and more importantly give us a framework where we can carry out remedial works to ensure trails are maintained and kept safe for riders. If Scotland is to remain as a world class mountain biking destination we have to be able to give world class riding experiences to all riders using the trails and taking part in Enduro events.”
To celebrate the success of the project and the partnerships involved the collective decision has been to name the bridge ‘Emmy’s Bridge’. Emmy was a dearly loved and cherished friend of all the parties involved in this project. Emmy had an involvement in the outdoors and mountain biking in Lochaber in many ways and in many roles. Her passing in 2016 was a shock and a mortality check for all. All parties and her family are delighted that Emmy’s legacy of enjoying the beauty of the outdoors and the importance of outdoor recreation in our lives will be remembered in the form of filling the gap and making the Blue Crane run again.
For downloadable images of the launch of ‘Emmy’s Bridge’, the pilot project from No Fuss Events and Forestry Commission Scotland, go to:
Please credit John Sutherland
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Full 2017 Events Programme – http://www.nofussevents.co.uk/events
POC Scottish Enduro Series 2017 – http://www.nofussevents.co.uk/scottish-enduro-series
Notes to Editors:
Web – Forestry Commission Scotland – http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/
Web – Nevis Range Mountain Experience – http://www.nevisrange.co.uk/
Web – West Highland Wheelers – http://www.whwheelers.org/
Web – Thistle Access – http://www.thistleaccess.co.uk/
Web – Outdoor Capital of the UK – http://www.outdoorcapital.co.uk/
Background to the pilot bridge reinstatement project at Leanachan Forest
In recent months No Fuss Events have been working closely with local trail builders, West Highland Wheelers, Nevis Range, who manage the existing trail network in Leanachan Forest, and the local forest managers to identify both the current existing wild trails and the potential areas for new trails that could be used for Enduro events. As a result they identified a suite of around ten wild / enduro trails in the forest. The second stage of the process has been in agreeing procedures on how to maintain and create new trails, developing a partnership process that is mutually acceptable and realistic in its implementation.
It was collectively felt that a pilot project should be undertaken. The Blue Crane route has been closed for approximately two years due to the removal of a bridge which had become unsafe. The trail was installed in about 2003 and is both loved and feared by those who love to ride at Leanachan. The Blue Crane has in the past been included in UCI World Cup and World Championships cross country races.
Although closed, The Blue Crane is still being ridden by locals, who believe that a portage of the river at the halfway point is a small price to pay. It became obvious that if this was to br the pilot project, it had to be a full re-instatement of the bridge. Whilst arguably the biggest project that an interested group may undertake the project was embraced. The bridge is 8m in span, concrete has been transported and mixed on site, poured and without any environmental impact and most importantly meets the standards of the land manager.
This is overwhelmingly a message of cooperation. The land manager had no alternative but to remove the original bridge and there was no budget to replace it therefore the trail was closed. The standards have changed in the last 15 years, the land manager recognised the value of the trail to the network, all parties wanted the trail open. The agreement of the West Highland Wheelers, Nevis Range and No Fuss Events to cover actual cost of materials equally empowered the next steps in the process.