Stage one of a six part project to provide better cycling facilities in one of the island’s plantations came to fruition at the weekend.
Junior mountain bike riders enjoyed the weekend opening of the island’s first dedicated race track which has now opened at Archallagan.
The track, which is 0.6 of a mile long through hilly terrain incorporates a number of jumps and narrow strips and there are also six pieces of exercise equipment around the course designed for use by adults who may be running round the track accompanying their children.
The new feature was created within a week thanks to support from the End2End Mountain Bike Challenge Committee who provided support and some funding for the project which they feel will create a lasting legacy from the popular mountain bike race which now attracts around 1,700 riders each autumn.
The project became a reality thanks to the hard graft of 130 staff from Zurich International who rolled up their sleeves, took time out of the office and shovelled more than 80 tonnes of slate into position to create the trail using nothing more than spades and wheelbarrows.
In addition to the track there is also a separate children’s playground where families can enjoy the plantation.
This is based on a design by four-year-old Harry Beattie who is the nephew of Zurich employee Ruth Bailey.
Harry entered a competition for ideas on the playground’s design.
It uses natural materials found around the plantation, with the exception of 200 tyres which form a series of mounds where the children can practise their climbing skills.
The Children’s Centre also took a role in the design and building of the attraction.
In the future, the End2End committee hopes to complete five further attractions in the plantaion, including graded cycling trails for mixed ability riders, a skills centre and a further play area as well as opening up access to the plantation’s lake.