Bikers fuming at ‘mess’ left in forest

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Mountain bikers in Banchory have spoke of their disappointment following the demolition of their trails by the Forestry Commision.

One of the group of teenagers has also made a short video of the area titled “Depression,” which has received more than 30,000 views in just over a week.

Last month, unauthorised mountain bike trails in Corsee Woods, near Banchory, were demolished by the Forestry Commission over fears over their safety

Around 15 cyclists had built many different ramps, bridges and jumps on which to ride their bikes.

Four weeks previously, trails at Scolty Hill - which had people using them from as far away as Aberfeldy - were also destroyed.

One of the cyclists, Calum Parkhill, said the Forestry Commission had not only ‘‘destroyed their hours of hard work,’’ but also left a ‘‘very messy” area owing to logs and piles of mud everywhere.

He told the Piper: “Now you cannot walk down the paths owing to the mess the forestry have left in their own wood.

‘‘They are letting themselves down.”

Calum said their trails had been built and destroyed many times over the past few years and they had tried to reason with officials to build it safely.

He said: “About a year ago, we spoke with Calum Murray from the Forestry Commission and the council representative, Linda Clark. We had a meeting and discussed the issues both parties faced.

“We spoke about making an authorised forestry run-type track but, basically, he said that it wasn’t going to happen.

‘‘We then decided to build the features back up again. “

The mountain bikers say they feel that the features are of no risk to the general public, but only those who wish to use them and emphasised that theirs was an extreme sport carried out at a person’s own risk.

PROTECTION

He said all the bikers who used the bigger features had full protection and they had also made smaller features for children which attracted families with children as young as four years old.

Calum added that the forest users ‘‘are at no risk,’’ and often stayed to watch.

One of the cyclists made a short video of the area and uploaded it to the popular mountain bike social networking site, “Pinkbike.”

The video clip made it into a news feature article alongside professional videos, got a great write up and a lot of response.

In just over a week it topped 30,000 views from all over the world with people commenting that what had been done was “a disgrace.”

A spokesperson for Forestry Commission Scotland said: “Our main priority was diverting our stretched resources to taking down these unauthorised and potentially dangerous features, which we have done. Unfortunately this site has suffered a little over a number of years from a number trees in the surrounding area blowing down on an individual basis.

“While we do go in to cut these up and make them safe this has unfortunately provided more material which tends to get gathered together to make jumps. When we next carry out work in this are, we intend to remove the majority of this wind felled timber to reduce the temptation.

“We have met on a number of occasions with jump builders and most recently met them along with local councillors to explain our policy. We are not against proper, designed and agreed developments - and we have actively encouraged mountain bikers to get organised, come up with some ideas and to come and speak to us about working together. That offer remains open.”