Investment of some £1.1 million into Tarland Trails Pittenderich, a sizeable amount coming from the Cycling Facilities Fund, aims to create a World Championship legacy in the North East.
Officially opened on Friday 9th June, the trail centre has had a soft opening over the last five weeks and is already proving a huge hit with locals and visitors alike with over 10,000 visits bringing a host of benefits to this part of the region, and beyond, as the destination grows its adventure sports offering.
This landmark facility for Aberdeenshire will not only cater for the growing local cycling community but also act as a significant economic boost to the region as a premier tourism attraction.
The project, led by Tarland Development Group, provides a purpose-built range of mountain biking trails catering to riders of all levels. Investment including £350k from Scottish Enterprise and £300k from sportscotland’s Cycling Facilities Fund, alongside £250k from Just Transition, were all secured as a result of a collaborative approach between the local group, North East Adventure Tourism, Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland, Opportunity North East, Aberdeenshire Council, and Scottish Enterprise.
The full funding profile has been complemented by fundraising through Tarland Development Group along with generous local business and private donations.
Leading trail construction specialists CRC and local ecology specialist Envirocentre handled the onsite delivery of the project which includes blue, red, orange and black graded trails on the slopes of Pressendye and Pittenderich hills, looking across the Howe of Cromar, a trail head with parking for 90 vehicles, and environmentally friendly toilet facilities. The Macrobert Trust Estate and private landowner Mr and Mrs Dalgarno have provided a lease to secure the project site for years to come.
Aberdeenshire’s mountain biking scene has been on a steady rise over the past few years boasting an amazing natural trail network, an enthusiastic and welcoming riding community, creative and adaptable local bike businesses, a thriving race and event scene, and recent winners of IMBA Europe’s Protect and Preserve Award, Aberdeenshire Trail Association.
This development is a follow up from the hugely successful phase one project at Tarland Trails – Drummy Woods – has already become a hub of activity for riders. The driving force behind the project has been Tarland Development Group and, in particular, the groups acting Chairperson and current Scottish Trail Advocate of the Year, Chris Redmond.
A project long in the making Chris commented:
“It’s fantastic to realise our ambition of creating a trail centre in Aberdeenshire. Our first phase (Tarland Trails Drummy Woods) was opened in 2015 and has been an amazing success for the area providing locals and visitors, particularly children, young people, and families, with an opportunity to ride safe, fun, and accessible trails.
“The trail centre has been realised by the commitment of our volunteer board and I would like to thank my fellow trustees as well as the landowners for their time, energy, and expertise to make this happen. I would also like to extend my thanks to those who have supported us, particularly, Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland and North East Adventure Tourism, and all the funders of the project.”
Forbes Dunlop, Chief Executive of sportscotland said:
“The Cycling Facilities Fund was designed to support clubs and communities across Scotland to deliver cycling projects that would have a real impact on their local area and be a tangible benefit of hosting the 2023 Cycling World Championships. We have worked closely with our partners at Scottish Cycling to support ambitious groups like Tarland Development Group to realise their ambitions and it’s fantastic to see another exciting project coming to life.
“This latest development at Tarland Trails is a great addition to the growing MTB scene in Aberdeenshire, and Scotland more widely, and it’s encouraging to hear that it is fast becoming a welcoming and inclusive community for riders of all abilities. With the Championships only a couple of months away, excitement is building, and it is testament to the vision and commitment of everyone involved in delivering this new trail centre that Aberdeenshire will be ready to meet the growing demand for cycling.”
Nick Rennie, Chief Executive of Scottish Cycling, said:
“Tarland Trails comes hot on the heels of the likes of the West Lothian Cycle Circuit and a number of other unbelievable cycling facilities that are helping to change the cycling landscape in Scotland for years to come. What has been created in Tarland is thanks to the hard work of so many people in Aberdeenshire, and I’m delighted a large investment was made in the project from the Cycling Facilities Fund, which we are working closely with sportscotland to deliver.”
“Legacy is a word we see and hear a lot around major sporting events, but Scottish Cycling and the whole of the cycling landscape in Scotland are committed to making sure there is a lasting effect on our great sport after the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, which will act as a catalyst to get so many people on bikes. Facilities such as this one in Tarland, which really captures how great mountain biking in Scotland is for anyone and everyone, are a key part of ensuring we take the sport to the next level.”
Will Clarke is Aberdeenshire MTB and Adventure Tourism Development Manager. He said:
“DMBinS and NEAT are delighted to have supported the delivery of this project by supporting Tarland Development Group and securing critical funding. Tarland Trails Pittenderich will contribute to many long-term ambitions shared by the NEAT partners around health and wellbeing, active lifestyles, athlete progression pathways and sustainable economic benefits for Aberdeenshire.
We have been working with a range of community driven projects and we hope this is just the start of more infrastructure projects being delivered in the area.”
Last, but by no means least, Sport Minister Maree Todd added:
“Facilities such as Tarland will support the local community to be active and deliver a lasting active legacy following the 2023 Cycling World Championships.
“Being active outdoors has a positive impact on health and mental wellbeing and helps us achieve our vision of an active Scotland where everyone benefits from sport and physical activity for their physical, mental and social health.”