Moun­tain bik­ing en­thu­si­asts on the trail of funds to pay for be­gin­ning of ex­pan­sion

Evening Express (City Final) - - Uk & Abroad - By Laura Fer­gu­son

A NORTH-EAST group is ped­alling to­wards the ex­pan­sion of its be­spoke moun­tain bike trail.

Tar­land Trails, which is lo­cated in Drummy Woods near the Dee­side vil­lage, al­ready has a bike trail, which was given the go-ahead in 2015, but now the group is look­ing to ex­pand its tracks and cre­ate a larger moun­tain bik­ing trail fa­cil­ity.

Chris Red­mond, project co-or­di­na­tor for Tar­land Trails, said: “When we first set about build­ing the trails, it was al­ways our idea to build some­thing big­ger and this new project is al­ready a cou­ple of years in the mak­ing. It worked phe­nom­e­nally well and we cur­rently have 4,500 vis­i­tors per year to the trail.

“A lot of the feed­back we’ve had has said it would be great to have some­thing big­ger that they could spend the whole day at rather than just a few hours.”

The group be­lieves, with the new trail, Tar­land could see even more eco­nomic ben­e­fits.

Chris, 33, said: “We es­ti­mate that there would be 13,000 peo­ple per year to the new trail, which would mean a to­tal of 18,000 vis­i­tors per year.”

He added: “We’ve had a lot of pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions and have made changes that peo­ple had raised con­cerns about. There’s now go­ing to be a car park closer to the vil­lage, which is some­thing res­i­dents were wor­ried about.”

The project has now been ap­proved by trustees, but the group needs to raise £10,000 in or­der to make their plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion to Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil.

Chris, who is a pri­mary school teacher, said: “The fee to the coun­cil is £2,600 and then we have to ar­range the en­vi­ron­men­tal walkover sur­vey and the ar­chi­tect fees. Last time we did a lot of the plan­ning our­selves, but this time is a bit more com­pli­cated. It takes a long time, but it gives a good foun­da­tion.”

In or­der to raise the money needed for the trail, the group has launched a crowd­fund­ing cam­paign to raise £2,600 of their £10,000 tar­get.

Chris said: “We’ve al­ready reached 69% of our tar­get and had do­na­tions from 48 peo­ple, so it’s look­ing re­ally good.

“The North-east doesn’t re­ally have a fa­cil­ity like this, so there’s a lot of mo­ti­va­tion from peo­ple to get this off the ground.”

To do­nate money to Tar­land Trails, visit bit.ly/2i0m­rlo

Bik­ing: The site has one trail at the mo­ment.

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