New forest bridge unveiled in memory of outdoor stalwart
A NEW cycle bridge in Leanachan Forest has been unveiled in memory of a central figure in the Fort William outdoors and biking scene.
Emmy’s Bridge, which connects the Blue Crane cycle path with other trails in the forest, was named after Emmy Dam Donaldson, who died in October, aged 51.
The mother- of-two, who ran Off Beat Bikes on Fort William High Street, was involved with the Nevis Range mountain bike tracks since they were first built, having designed the logo for the Witches Trails.
Emmy’s sister Nicky Sharrat said: ‘ We both worked at Off-beat bikes – with Emmy’s husband Martin – and she had connections with No Fuss Events. She also designed the logo for the witches trail when it first opened.
‘It was really lots of friends coming together to make the bike trails happen and we used to ride bikes a lot too.’
The new eight-metre long bridge was unveiled on Thursday February 2 as a symbol of the successful partnership between No Fuss Events, Nevis Range, West Highland Wheelers and local trail builders and forest managers, which aims to identify existing trails and develop new ones for use in Enduro events.
The original bridge on the Blue Crane route had to be removed two years ago because it was structurally unsafe, resulting in the track being closed for that period.
However, this did not stop avid mountain bikers using the trails, which have been in use since 2003 and have featured in the UCI world cup and other world championship races, as they carried their bikes across the river.
At the unveiling event, No Fuss Events partner Frazer Coupland gave a touching explanation for the naming of the bridge.
He said: ‘All the parties involved realised we had one thing in common, we'd all lost a friend last year.’
He explained the striking design on the bridge was one which they all believed to be fitting as ‘she loved red and white, and love hearts’.
He added he felt it was important Emmy was remembered in this way and that it was nice she could be involved in the project and the bike trails in this way.
This sentiment was echoed by Emmy’s family. Nicky said: ‘It’s a beautiful gesture and I think Emmy would have been very honoured and quite taken aback. I’m not surprised though, because she was very well thought of and everyone was really fond of her.’
Speaking about what it means to the family, she added: ‘ We all still ride bikes so it will be lovely to go up and ride over Emmy’s bridge.’
Emmy’s Bridge reconnects the popular Blue Crane trail with the rest of the Leanachan Forest bike tracks.
Emmy Dam Donaldson.