David casts an expert eye across the slope

To some being given objectives to achieve might seem a bit of corporate nonsense however take an objective such as: Facilitate and encourage community access and use of the forest, and I get really excited.  How many ideas are there to bring community and forest together?  More than I can handle, probably!

Today we took a few steps closer to taking one vision and turning it into a reality.  Everyday we hear about unhealthy lifestyles and the youth of today not being interested in anything beyond their computer screens.  I tend not to believe reports that start ‘a study out today says…’ and I certainly know that here on Bute there are many young people with ideas and are involved in many activities.  From our consultation process Mountain Bike Trails was a winning idea.  Like most good ideas it works on a number of levels:- promoting fitness, meeting an identified community need of outdoor play for our young people, and following successful launch of BalnakaillyLoop – which is lovely for the walkers amongst us, the bike trails encourages community access and use of the forest in different way.

The plan is to have two routes, utilising the existing forest tracks and the natural environment with minimum intervention.  One route will be suitable for families, whilst the other will be appealing to the more adventurous.  This will also be good news for our tourist industry as this type of activity is one of the fastest growing in the UK, with people travelling inter-country to try out new trails.

David Kilpatrick of The Bike Shed for accompanying me today as we walked the possible route for our challenging mountain bike trail on the island.  Having established the possibility can be made real, our next steps are to mark the route out and undertake some trial runs.  If all works as hoped, the routes will be mapped and launched.  The topography of the wood is enough to give even the keenest biker more than a few challenges.  I have added some pictures to the gallery – check them out!

A big thank you to David, taking time away from his business, to support the community by volunteering his expertise.  Come back for news on how this project progresses.