Mountain Biking in Scotland Receives £24 Million Investment for Trails, a Bike Park, and an Innovation Centre

Mar 19, 2021
by Alicia Leggett  

The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal signed by UK, Scottish, and local representatives this week will funnel about £24 million into mountain bike development in Scotland.

The deal is a partnership among several local councils, the South of Scotland Enterprise, the Edinburgh Napier University, and Scottish Cycling’s Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS) program, which develops mountain bike trails and facilities, provides education, and oversees projects like the mental health pilot program.

The investment allocates £19 million for the development of the Innerleithen Mountain Bike Innovation Centre, which will provide bike industry businesses a dedicated facility for R&D, along with the Tweed Valley Bike Park and Trails Lab, which will aim to promote both tourism and product development in a rare combination that is both industry-facing and public-facing.

Another £5 million will be invested in the 7Stanes trail network.

bigquotesThe vision is for the South of Scotland to be recognised as the European leader in mountain biking and this is an important step forward. The innovation centre and adventure bike park will help grow the area’s profile and encourage sustainable business growth and development. The adventure bike park will deliver much needed investment in infrastructure to manage the growing number of visitors to the area, while protecting and adding to the already fantastic trail network and attractions to ensure visitors spend more time in the area.Ed Shoote of DMBinS, the Senior Project Manager of the Mountain Bike Project

The development is projected to create more than 400 jobs and contribute £141 million in GVA (gross value added).


Edinburgh Napier University is no stranger to mountain bike endeavors, as the university that backed both the EWS injury study and the DMBinS mental health program.

bigquotesThis investment will take the work of the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland to the next level, helping to drive innovation and support product research and development, whilst working with local and international companies.

Together, these projects will power commercial activity, attract inward investment and deliver positive outcomes in terms of public health and supporting carbon neutral products and processes.

We are also hugely excited by the potential research opportunities for Edinburgh Napier colleagues across a range of academic disciplines, including exercise science, health and wellbeing, engineering, inclusion, product design, artificial intelligence, big data and tourism.
Nick Antonopoulos, Vice Principal for Research and Innovation at Edinburgh Napier University

With clear economic and community benefits, all parties involved expressed optimism and excitement for the project to move forward.

Posted In:
Industry News



98 Comments

  • 74 2
 USA: OK, mountain bikes. I guess we can allow you. But just on these trails and these days. And don't even think about bike specific trails.

Scotland: Here's 24 million, now go build some cool stuff and have fun!
  • 14 1
 I felt that way in Denver (lived there 10 years). I hate Apex....haha. There I said it. Big Grin Recently moved to Bentonville, money keeps pouring into the trail systems here in Northwest part of the state and it's only growing. The town is completely bike friendly and paved trails are also growing like weeds.
  • 33 10
 Central belt of Scotland get £24M, Rest of Scotland £0
  • 14 0
 It's changing at least. We've battling the nimbys for 30 years in Eugene, and guess what? They're dying off. Too old to log jam our unsanctioned trails, too old to show up and complain to city council. The city finally accepted reality and is legalizing two unsanctioned trails as directional and rated. Huge waste of effort decommissioning trails that will soon be legal though over the years, it could be a case study for what not to do.
  • 7 0
 @bman33: congratulations on moving to the mtb capital of the world!
  • 2 1
 @JDFF: Haha. Cheesy marketing tagline. That said, truly enjoying it here for sure.
  • 11 0
 @blinkie: 7stanes are getting £5m. They aren’t central belt.
  • 2 0
 @bman33: congrats on the move! Haven’t been to Bentonville but have heard nothing but good things.
  • 1 0
 Not only "cool stuff" for mtb heads. This is a jobs program as well, it will create opportunity to work in the field, research, planning & construction. Imagine the tie-in with their university system, building knowledge/data base on trail construction/sustainability as well as feature vs. injury.
  • 2 0
 @bman33: I recently visited Bentonville and that was my conclusion as well. It seems like an entire town and a big corporation collectively decided to put mtn biking as a central component of the town's identity and economy. I have ridden better trails (by my personal riding preferences, not trying to pick a fight), but I have never seen a town where biking was so fully and seamlessly integrated into the local fabric.
  • 9 3
 @vonbonbon: it’s still a long way from Inverness! They could of at least spread the money around to other parts of Scotland especially since that area is already full of shit hot with trails!
  • 1 0
 @bman33: I appreciate your realistic outlook. I do hope the trail scene there goes nuts.
  • 2 0
 @blinkie: I can't believe they've ignored all that hard work you have personally put into trail advocation. Seriously, imagine my shock!
  • 1 0
 @JDFF: All good. I have ridden Duthie area, friends in Bellingham and around that area, Whistler endless times, Moab, all over Colorado and I am native to the SE (N. Carolina, TN, N. GA) etc. Truly digging the dirt/trails here and the variety is growing. Plenty of jump/flow, tech , XC and several DJ/pump tracks... rubber side down folks
  • 6 1
 @blinkie: Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, the clue is in the title ‘Borderlands’. Quite hard to make that investment outside the........borderlands Wink
  • 1 0
 @mustbike: I live upriver on 126 and have never heard of these trails in town. Thurston hills was a waste of time/effort in my opinion, as it can only be ridden in the summer.
Would you be willing to message me the location of these trails in Eugene?
  • 22 0
 "Another £5 will be invested in the 7Stanes trail network".... cant wait to be allowed back up there to see what this brings?
  • 4 0
 Slice of cake - £5 please
  • 28 1
 An additional two small rocks will be placed on the trail network.
  • 2 0
 I think the going rate suggests one and a bit briefing rooms with a single podium and four saltires behind it. Wink
  • 19 0
 As someone who grew up in Scotland 30 minutes or so from the tweed valley who now lives in SoCal. I'd donate my favourite ball to have the same access rights, trail availability, maintenance, and investment here in the US
  • 8 0
 I would move back...
  • 20 0
 A bike park please - preferably similar to Whistler
  • 5 33
flag SuperHighBeam (Mar 19, 2021 at 10:46) (Below Threshold)
 That's a tough one, Scotland doesn't have mountain nearly as big as as weathered as Whistler. Scotland is either super rugged highlands or low rolling hills. Neither are particularly good for a bike park.
  • 3 0
 Yes, we want something akin to Whistler up Glen Coe way (got chair lifts there already and Fort William is not extensive enough) and even some modest bike park like BPW or Twisted Oaks
  • 4 0
 As far as I’ve heard the plan is to create something similar to the port de Soleil situation. Connecting a bunch of different hills under the same pass or whatever program comes into place. The Glentress/inners area has so much potential to be a world class bike destination. I’m stoked to see what comes from this. It sounds like they’ve got some good people behind it.
  • 1 0
 @SuperHighBeam: I’m pretty sure their mountains are far more weathered than the Rockies/Cascades...
  • 1 1
 @RBalicious: Um, have you watched Danny MacAskill in The Ridge? See here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdO-hdTOX8c
Sure this video takes place on the Isle of Skye rather than mainland Scotland but I suspect coastal Scotland (particularly the western side) is equally rugged.
  • 1 0
 @RBalicious: I more meant in the way lift access is. Many lifts under the same pass kinda way. I grew up just an hour from inners, glentress etc and no the terrain isn’t similar but it’s still world class
  • 11 3
 Aye so all 24million is going between 2 biking locations within the same area... Absolute zero for the rest of Scotland! Laggan, glentress, fort William, golspie, tarland, Ae, Glencoe are some of the established spots that could easily have been given a small contribution from that. Nevermind all the local trail associations in between them. There's a whole lot more to Scotland mountain biking than the tweed valley
  • 9 0
 The money is from the Borderland Growth Fund which is supporting projects south of the border in England and North of the Border (7stanes/Inners). So yes, unfortunately, the Highlands will not see anything from this..
www.borderlandsgrowth.com/Portals/0/Documents/Borderlands%20Inclusive%20Growth%20Deal%20summary%20March%2021.pdf?ver=2021-03-18-084444-887
  • 4 4
 Aye ! We all know its only because the EWS is being held there - if it's not bloody postponed due to '3rd wave of cv19 and another lockdown nonsense
  • 3 1
 Totally agree mate, it’s always the south of Scotland that get the benefits when it comes down to money, The highlands gets the crumbs every time!
  • 1 0
 Isn't Ae one of the 7 Stanes that's getting a share of 5 million?
  • 7 0
 Hope this money goes to people that know what they are doing, is not that trails are not getting better, but still a problem that all the millions spent are not a lot to show for it?
If you want to know what can be built for just the cost of a few tools, have some lines to show what can be done, to make trails fit in better too the environment!
  • 9 0
 Vast majority of it is getting put into a new building. Prefer they spent more of it on things that people can actually ride and lease an existing facility elsewhere.
  • 8 0
 I believe that a high speed 4 person detachable chairlift at Innerleithen would cost about 10-12 million. Build that and then use the revenue to build the other things mentioned
  • 1 0
 They cant - its a working forrest with no parking infrastructure and privately owned ground surrounding the hills oh and there is a sever flood risk with the current car park....

All in the chairlift that was first mooted in 2001 (by me) is dead as a dodo
  • 11 0
 Lucky lads
  • 8 0
 "Another £5 will be invested in the 7Stanes trail network"

Sounds about right.
  • 5 0
 In the meantime we are not even allowed to ride on any path/trail in the woods that is under 2m wide if it is not a specific bike trail. And there are almost none of these in Swabia
  • 9 2
 alright, pack it up boys, we're moving to scotland
  • 7 0
 mind and bring mud tyres and water proofs, other than that its awesome here
  • 1 0
 @forkbrayker: So, about like Washington State. I've seen some video from there that look remarkably like here.
  • 1 0
 Just try not to offend anyone when you get there
  • 5 0
 "Another £5 will be invested in the 7Stanes trail network" .. iv heard a £5 bottle of colour bang will sort out a few more than 7 stanes
  • 5 0
 Still waiting to hear about the chairlift that has been talked about for years at Innerleithen... That would be transformational.
  • 10 1
 www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-20671467

singletrackworld.com/2016/06/innerleithen-mountain-bike-infrastructure-stalled-a-call-to-arms

all the money will be spunked on feasibility studies and and setting up companies to milk the scheme dry with just a couple tonne of gravel thrown down and some trail markers on existing trails
  • 4 0
 Think you need to read the report about the bike park, it HAS a chairlift within the whole plan, there’s even a layout of where it will go and what hills are to be used. Maybe reading the background on all this BEFORE you slate it would be a good idea Wink
  • 2 2
 £5M divided by 7 is £700k, no chance of a chairlift. Innerleithen doesn't even have a cafe!
I love the 7 Stanes just wish more of the money was being given to the trail sites to really make a difference rather than this other project, R&D and research etc...
  • 2 0
 @spl75: Craig and Emma at No1cafe in innerleithan dude .food and coffee are superb
  • 1 0
 @Kirnlawkid: link to the report?
  • 1 0
 @spl75: the £5 m is nothing to do with the bike park. 7stanes are the waymarked trail centres. The Bike Park is planned for Priesthope, otherwise known as The Golfie. It is linked to the Innovation project but will be funded through private investment
  • 4 0
 Genuinely think if this money is used wisely and is backed by the Scottish riders, Scotland could really become one of the best biking locations to come to in the world. Bold statement but I reckon it really could be
  • 2 0
 It already is, but due to a complete lack of imagination and a need for just groomed trails, that is missed and this piece is being hailed as great news instead.
  • 2 0
 I mean it sounds good on paper but I withhold judgement until I see what happens.

I know this, specifically, isn't about that but a full on, well thought out and researched plan for a proper Morzine/Whistler/Queenstown-esque bike park is not as fanciful as it might seem. I think it could be done, done well and would end up a world class destination....if in the right hands of course.
  • 5 0
 I still remember the uplifts days at Innerleithen when we all squeezing into cattle trucks as uplifts Smile
  • 1 0
 I can still remember someone ending there day before the first run trying to huck out the back of the cattle truck going arse over tit and face first into the ramp lol
  • 1 0
 Billy driving then Danny on bus ...happy days dude
  • 1 0
 Yeah and the trucks were still full of straw and Sh1t Smile
  • 6 0
 Great Scot! Im jealous.
  • 4 0
 Scotland gets it! I wish parts of the US were as enlightened.
  • 2 2
 19m for the valley and 6m for dumfries & galloway. Most of that 19m will go on a pointless building and not the trails.

When they actually build infrastructure that is beneficial to riders we can comment on how great that money is.
  • 1 0
 Word is there's investment planned further north. Sadly that money has been earmarked for Cairngorm Mountain to put in green and blue trails from the mid station of the ill-fated funicular skip.
  • 2 2
 Any money invested in Scottish MTB is great, however as 100% of the money is being invested south of the central belt then I I feel this is very short sighted. Inners and the 7 stanes are already world class and attract riders from all over the world. I would be interested to hear from DMBinS how this benefits riders in the north of Scotland. Riders (and parents taking their kids) in my location have to travel for a 5-6hrs round trip to get to either Fort William or Laggan, and Inners is a 6 hr drive just to get their. £24M spent in this one small area!! I am sure this gives you maximum media exposure though!!
  • 1 1
 All this 'good news' is just smoke and mirrors though. It sounds great (really does) but we seem to go through this every few years when Tweed Valley get another chunk of money dropped on it, dressed up as doing something for Scottish MTB, but it doesn't seem to be.
The people in charge have decided they want all MTB to be in Tweed Valley so only focus proper attention there. 7 stanes have pretty much been forgotten about over the years as all focus is on Tweed. Forestry bought all land and properties around Glentress to ensure they had absolute control on what was done...they are looking to control from a distance.
All this news appeals to the riders as it sounds like more stuff is being done, but reading in to it, there isn't a lot directly benefiting the riders.
This should be great news but it isn't really in the grand scheme when you start looking into the details...however, it ensure focus remains on a small focal point, so if it means more riders going to ride the manicured stuff then the rest of the country will be quieter (which isn't a bad thing I suppose)...
(That turned into a proper rant...sorry!)
  • 4 1
 We still have to yield to hoses, in the USA. Nice work Scotland!
  • 9 0
 I’m yet to see a hose in the trail, what part of the country do you live in?
  • 1 0
 @dualcrownscottspark: I don't know if I would recognize a hose on the trail if I saw one.
  • 2 0
 Best news of the day. Only way it could get better is if it were in my part of the world.
  • 2 0
 Those are going to be some sick, albeit wet and soggy, trails.
  • 2 0
 Cillit bang, CILLIT BANG damn you auto correct
  • 2 1
 Meanwhile in England the walking nimbies and conservative wonkers are intent on destroying the whole sport
  • 2 0
 Yeah! Now let's buy mountains! Kidding UK bros!
  • 1 0
 Sorry: Scottish bros
  • 2 0
 Let's just hope that they don't overbuild the trails.
  • 2 0
 Wales needs to catch up with Scotland,
  • 1 1
 BPW Is the way forward bud so so many nice trails in one placeSmile
  • 2 0
 Wow. That is some money
  • 12 4
 Its actual nothing. My estimate is that the Glentress carpark alone pulls in around 1.5mil a year. why the trails are built by volunteers and children up until now is absolutely mind boggling. Especially when so much of scotland is Donald Trump's shite golf courses.
  • 5 1
 @browner:
Glentress was the place to go when Tracy and Emma where running the place, it was an absolutely joy to spend time there until money was invested on the piss/shit Peel centre there which didn’t help the place at all.
Big shout out to adrenaline uplift on what the’re doing at Innerleithen as it feels like the old daysSmile spend the money on trails please
  • 3 1
 @Bighill2015: agreed re Emma and Tracey days out of the portacabin. Cheese toastie and a slabs of choc cake with 1cm of solid chocolate on top. All the best trails were there when I first went in 2001. Staggering lack of investment where it might have mattered
  • 4 0
 If money was actually spent on the maintaining the place id actually consider using the on site car park rather than cycling in from else where. but wasting money on the peel and general mis management of place really doesnt make me want to give them any money.
  • 1 0
 @browner: exactly GT should have pristine trail network with trail upgrades ,repairs all funded from parking fees .Unfortuanatley someone blew the budget building a huge cafe with massive Glass window with amazing views of the tweed valley .........eh soory view of a grassy bank !!!! and a babbling brook apparently
  • 1 0
 love that, love scotland. go build something great yeeha
  • 2 3
 Smart. Seeing as morzine is unlikely to happen for a few years due to those who are in a flap about the covids. If you can get it done by July. Thanks.
  • 2 2
 In Canada, we invest in heroin and heroin injection sites.
  • 10 0
 Scotland has the highest drug death rate in Europe. Some investment in some safe injection sites would be helpful too.
  • 2 0
 @kirkg: Trailspotting
  • 1 0
 Hut man!
  • 1 2
 They need to get Dan Atherton up here to show how to build a trail!
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