Transformational investment in community-led project supports adventure tourism ambition.
A transformational £1.1 million investment in the Tarland Trails mountain biking trail centre in Aberdeenshire has created a new go-to destination – attracting thousands of riders and rapidly gaining international recognition.
The Tarland Trails Pittenderich trail centre on the outskirts of the Deeside village comprises 18 kilometres of new trails located on and around the hill of Pittenderich, consisting of sweeping turns, big berms, jumps and technical riding.
The development is a follow-up from the hugely successful phase one project at Tarland Trails – Drummy Woods, which has become a hub of activity for cyclists.
The Tarland Development Group delivered the community-led project. It secured significant investment from partners, including the North East Adventure Tourism (NEAT) project and Opportunity North East (ONE), with funding from the Scottish Government’s Just Transition Fund, Scottish Enterprise, and Sportscotland and Scottish Cycling’s joint Cycling Facilities Fund. Local fundraising and donations from businesses and private individuals also contributed.
Leading trail construction specialists CRC and local ecology specialist Envirocentre handled the onsite delivery of the project, which includes blue, red and black graded trails on the slopes of Pressendye and Pittenderich hills, looking across the Howe of Cromar, a trailhead 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.
Officially launched today (Friday, 9 June), the facility's soft opening over the last five weeks has already proved a massive hit with locals and visitors, with over 12,000 riders bringing economic benefits to the region and glowing reviews in mountain biking media as the destination grows its adventure sports offering.
Jennifer Craw, CEO of Opportunity North East, said: “ONE and the NEAT partners supported the project ambition and secured transformational funding to fully realise its potential to make the region a destination of choice for mountain bikers of all abilities.
“Aberdeenshire's mountain biking scene has been on a steady rise over the past few years, boasting a fantastic 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 Enhance award, Aberdeenshire Trail Association.
“The fantastic riding experiences, quality of the trails, setting and unique partnership are attracting international recognition.
“This facility caters for both the growing local cycling community and visitors and delivers a significant economic boost. A growing number of businesses benefit from Aberdeenshire's mountain biking and adventure tourism offering through jobs in the supply chain, including bike shops, event organisers, accommodation providers, restaurants and cafes.
“The Tarland Trails investment is a key step towards delivering the region’s ambition to be the destination of choice for the fast-growing adventure tourism market,” said Ms Craw.
Last autumn, ONE secured £2 million over two years from the Scottish Government’s Just Transition Fund for the North East Adventure Tourism (NEAT) project. NEAT aims to transform the region into a leading destination for adventure activities and sports by developing high-quality, sustainable facilities and low-carbon infrastructure. ONE leads and co-funds the development of NEAT, working with sector businesses, Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Aberdeenshire Council and VisitAberdeenshire.
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition Màiri McAllan said: "It’s fantastic to see the transformational impact that the Scottish Government's Just Transition funding has had on the Tarland Trails. The project is a great example of how North East communities are leading the transition to a net zero economy, with an influx of new visitors likely to benefit the local economy for years to come.”
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