The north-east’s mountain biking facilities are to be given a £750,000 boost to help them keep on top of the sport’s skyrocketing popularity.
Tarland Trails 2 will include blue, red and orange graded trails on the slopes of Pressendye and Pittenderich hills near the Aberdeenshire town.
The project, which aims to provide a purpose-built range of trails to develop mountain bikers of all levels, is being led by Tarland Development Group.
Scottish Enterprise are investing £350,000, while £300,000 is being provided by sportscotland and Scottish Cycling’s joint Cycling Facilities Fund to allow work on the trail to begin immediately.
It is hoped that the investment will encourage more people to participate in the sport and help clubs develop future athletes.
The move is recognised as a key step in helping to deliver the region’s ambition to be a destination of choice for the fast-growing adventure tourism market.
Expected to be a ‘huge hit’
After the storms across winter, it was recognised that many businesses and homes in the area are dependent on visitors and locals being able to access mountain bike trails.
Sports Minister, Maree Todd said: “I’m delighted that communities in Aberdeenshire will benefit from this investment through the Cycling Facilities Fund.
“Facilities such as this will act as a catalyst for change, support the increase in people cycling during the pandemic and deliver a lasting legacy following the 2023 Cycling World Championships.
“Being active outdoors has such a positive impact on health and 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.”
Environmentally friendly toilet facilities and a trail head with parking for 100 vehicles will also be featured in the Tarland Trail project.
Ms Todd added: “The facility is predicted to be a huge hit with locals and visitors bringing a host of benefits to this part of the region and beyond as the destination grows its adventure sports offering.”
Help for local economy and mental health of users
Chris Redmond, acting chairman for Tarland Development Group, has been a driving force behind the project.
He said the trail has been a long time in the making: “It is fantastic to realise our ambition of creating a trail centre in Aberdeenshire.
“Our first phase Tarland Trails 1 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.
“This new development will help the village sustain its business community, attract young families to the area, retain young people in this rural area, and help improve the physical and mental health of users.
“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.”
Construction on the trail is set to begin on Thursday, March 29.