The Laggan Forest Trust has received £100,000 for the development of a blue grade mountain bike track from sportscotland’s Cycling Facilities Fund.
The project at Laggan Wolftrax in Strathmashie has been developed in partnership with Forestry and Land Scotland and is expected to cost around £250,000.
Confirmation of funding earlier this week puts a foot on the accelerator to raise the remaining funds.
Cristian Pizarro, business development manager for the trust, told The Strathy: “This award will enable us to build a long-awaited blue mountain bike trail for Laggan Wolftrax and its community.
“The provision of such a trail should attract more cyclists, families, less experienced cyclists and provide not only a platform for progression in the sport, but also a facility to facilitate progression in the development of general cycling skills at the within our community.
“Above all, this trail should be fun to ride and provide a great experience for everyone.”
Colin Simpson, Head of Visitor Services and Active Travel at the Cairngorms National Park Authority, said: “Although Cairngorms National Park is a popular area for visitors to cycle and mountain bike, there is still relatively few formal routes to support families and beginners.
“I am delighted that we can support this project through our Visitor Infrastructure Improvement Program as it not only adds to the range of easier trails available, but also helps to showcase the one of the less visited areas of the park and supports businesses in and around Lagan.
“The Laggan Forest Trust has discussed the project with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and is in the process of asking them for further support.”
The project is expected to start in March next year. and the new blue run which will be open to the public before the summer holidays by July 2023.
Laggan Wolftrax is a network of mountain bike trails built in 2004 by Forestry and Land Scotland.
The site is also home to a visitor center and the headquarters of the Laggan Forest Trust, a community organization whose aims focus on conservation, community regeneration and the provision of recreational facilities, including active travel.
To date, the trails are mostly at the higher difficulty level in the grading system. There is an easy green trail, two red trails and a black trail, nationally recognized for its technical characteristics and accessible only to very experienced mountain bikers.
Ruari Watt, Highlands Mountain Bike Development Co-ordinator, said: “Laggan is an incredible cycling facility with some of the best trails in Scotland available to locals and visitors alike.
“Through our recent cycling plan for the Highlands, a gap in the provision of a blue trail has been identified, but also Laggan’s role in providing a venue for mountain biking where its impacts on the community and the environment can be well managed.
“The project has established strong links with the community to increase its contribution to the achievement of a series of social objectives. “The design of the blue trail will also include its integration into existing trails to provide a better experience for all cyclists.
“We have worked closely with the trust throughout the development of this project, and the sportscotland award brings us closer to completing this exciting project.”
A blue trail is a moderately difficult off-road bike trail designed for riders with basic off-road riding skills.
• From August 3-13, 2023, the first UCI Cycling World Championships will take place in Glasgow and across Scotland.
It will be the biggest cycling event in history, bringing together for the first time 13 existing UCI World Championships in one mega event.
The outcome of the fund is to produce a lasting impact from the 2023 UCI World Cycling Championships by inspiring new and existing cyclists to make cycling a sport for life.
Sportscotland’s acting chief executive, Forbes Dunlop, said: “This is an important fund that has the potential to make a significant and lasting impact on sport and physical activity.
“By investing in accessible and inclusive community facilities ahead of the event, cycling in Scotland will be ready and able to harness the excitement generated by hosting the Championships next year.
“Local groups and partners who have applied for funding have demonstrated a real commitment to improving the lives of their local communities and we are proud to support their ambitions.”