New for­est bridge un­veiled in mem­ory of out­door stal­wart

The Oban Times - - News - KATIE CARABINE kcara­bine@oban­times.co.uk

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.’

Pho­to­graph: Abright­side Pho­tog­ra­phy.

Emmy’s Bridge re­con­nects the pop­u­lar Blue Crane trail with the rest of the Leanachan For­est bike tracks.

Emmy Dam Don­ald­son.

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