MTB Friendly Accommodation Provider of the Year

This Award celebrates those accommodation providers who provide a great service specific to mountain bikers in Scotland. 

WINNER 2017

Cleikum Mill Lodge, Innerleithen

Cleikum Mill

Cleikum Mill Lodge provides value for money flexible accommodation in the heart of Innerleithen. It’s an ideal base for Enduro, downhill and cross country mountain biking on the surrounding hills and a short ride along the multi use railway path to Glentress with yet more options.
Guests can book a room, an apartment or the whole house, making it a flexible option for up to 12 people. The owner is a keen mountain biker and as such knows what he would want from bike-friendly accommodation and goes out of his way to ensure he provides it, from secure bike storage, drying room, maps and advice on routes.
They are in the heart of the village with shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants within a 2 minute walk.
They are an hour approx. by bus or car from the vibrant and historic City of Edinburgh.

The full shortlist for 2017

Comrie Croft  161002 Comrie Croft A001

Comrie Croft is an eco-farm nestled at the foot of a mountain in rural Perthshire. In the 1990s, Comrie Croft was a farm failing in the face of global market forces. As part of a successful employee and community buyout in 2008 a vision for regeneration was set out: to bring about economic, environmental and community revival by using the land to create new symbiotic opportunities for enterprise, recreation and sustainable living.  Over the past 10 years our team has worked with passion and commitment to fulfill this vision, building multiple cooperating micro-enterprises under the Comrie Croft banner. These include a mountain bike trails centre, hostel/venue, wild-style campsite and glamping, an organic-principle market garden, farmshop, café and more.

Comrie Croft is unique in providing a fully-integrated mountain-biking experience that includes accommodation (4* hostel, camping or Nordic Katas), refreshment (the Tea Garden Café) and a trails centre and bike park for all abilities. By providing all elements of the experience, the Comrie Croft family of enterprises can ensure that every need is catered for and every detail considered.

Facilities and service that we provide include: 16 km of purpose-built mtb trail; bike skills park and pump track; rooms in farmstead accommodation (with drying room for wet gear); camping and glamping facilities; new campervan area with space for 4 small campervans complete with picnic bench and fire pit; car parking including plenty of space for mtbers with campervans, bike trailers, etc; showers for mtbers; bike wash; full-service bike shop and repair centre; friendly advice and support; tools and facilities for self-repair; café that welcomes the muddy; secure bike storage; guiding and coaching; “Flow School” mtb holiday club for kids; bike drop-off to another preferred location; mtb map of the onsite trails and local path network; a 10% accommodation discount for anyone that arrives by bike; and a site that is designed around the needs of mtbers – e.g. bike racks in multiple locations and recycling of old bike parts as part of the fixtures and fittings in the buildings.

In partnership with Hansen’s Kitchen and Muckmedden Events we have also organized two incredibly successful weekend family bike festivals – “Cream O’ the Croft”, show-casing the best of Scottish mountain biking, local food/drink and music. Cream O’ the Croft attracted over 1,000 people to stay and will return in 2018. This supplements the “Hairy Coo!” grass roots race, now in its 10th year, which we organize. All entry fees for these races go back into the coffers of the community outdoor Drover’s Tryst Festival in order to sustain and grow it.

The trails themselves were designed and built through a combination of the Croft’s own team, local volunteers and the renowned trails designer and builder, Rik Allsop. They are unique in themselves, having a much more natural feel (the mantra being “just ride it!”) than most trail centres, but ticking all the boxes for grin-enducing, varied, scenic fun on two wheels.

All of this would have been impossible on our own. We have worked closely and been supported by DMBinS, trail funders (the SRDP, Sport Scotland, Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust), Rik Allsop, the Scottish Mountain Biking Consortium (of which we are part), the Breadalbane Tourism Cooperative (of which we are also part), and other local businesses and activity providers.

The Tontine Hotel, Peebles  Tontine Square Web

The Innes family purchased the Tontine Hotel in 2001. The hotel was very run down and we have refurbished it considerably over time. From the outset it was clear that many people came to Peebles and the Scottish Borders to enjoy an Active Break. We have seen the momentum behind Mountain Biking growing and have participated actively to encourage this through our membership of Tweed Valley Tourist Consortia; Visit Scotland; Brightlight marketing and our support of TweedLove and the many events and promotions related to Mountain Biking in the area.

We worked within the Tweed Valley Tourist Consortia in the early stages of developing the Bike Friendly Accommodation scheme and now offer bikers the following: bike wash; secure lockup/garage; maintenance stand; bike hooks for hanging bikes on; washing machine and dryer on request (for muddy clothes); boiler room for drying clothes; high carb meals; the ‘loan’ of our Kryptonite bike locks (secured with grateful assistance from SingleTrack); flexible times for meals before major events (ie: early breakfasts for competitors); ‘MTB group accommodation packages’; MTB tuition via local organisations such as Ridelines. WiFi throughout the hotel; private parking for guests; bike routes and information on local MTB / Road biking routes available at reception. 

Our hotel MTB champion – Sally Anne Hepburn has also put together a ‘Care Card’ which gives riders information on the Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue team and how to contact them in an emergency. We get a number of repeat MTB groups & our position in the centre of Peebles, yet so close to Glentress & Innerleithen is seen to be a major plus.  Overall, we see the importance of giving Mountain biking customers a real service – giving them what they want in the hope that they will see the value and will return to stay with us.

Cleikum Mill Lodge, Innerleithen  Cleikum Mill 1

My wife and I moved to the Scottish Borders approx. 12 years ago because of the biking, running, walking opportunities, we fell in love with the area.  I’d been an engineer for 25 years, but was looking for a new challenge.  As a very keen cyclist I was aware of the Bike Lodge in Innerleithen, and when I heard it was up for sale I knew that was the right thing for me.   I’d previously run a holiday home as a part-time business, but was keen to do something bigger and better and more in line with people like myself. I bought the business in January 2017 and spent 3 months updating the décor and facilities, before opening officially in April 2017.

I feel I have made Cleikum Mill Lodge something special for mountain bikers. It has the flexibility of a bunk house in that people can book for anything from one night upwards, and just book a room, an apartment or the whole house. But the quality of the accommodation far exceeds what is expected of a bunkhouse. I used an interior designer to give the place a modern comfortable feel and updated many of the appliances.
As a Mountain Biker ,and having stayed in similar accommodation ,I know what a guest wants after a day on the hills.
Our hands on knowledge ,and passion for the area we help our guests with information and advice.
The bike store/drying room is one area I have made huge improvements – see the section below.

Every visitor to date has been really impressed with the quality of the accommodation and the facilities provided. Guests have had a variety of interests, but mountain bikers in particular have been surprised by the superior quality as many of them have expected mountain biker accommodation to be basic.  One group said it was the best they had stayed in after visiting the area for 11 years.
Had some high profile guests including Tracy Moseley who loved it.  As it’s the first year of trading, we haven’t applied for any awards as yet, but the feedback on facebook and trip advisor has been excellent.

Last year’s winner 

Comrie Croft – Scottish MTB Friendly Accommodation Provider of the Year 2016

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