Report - Scottish Mountain Bike Conference 2018 - Day 3

Day Three  of the Scottish Mountain Bike Conference saw a Trail Summit take place. Broken into two distinct parts which combined presentations and discussions with hands on trail building. The day saw delegates from the conference mixed with a large number of volunteers who had registered purely for the Trail Summit. It was a fantastic finish to the conference with a real buzz and excitement in the air about the possibilities for an exciting time ahead for mountain biking.

Initially they heard from Mark Torsius IMBA Europe, who spoke about the development of a pan-European trail standard to ensure consistently high quality facilities from country to country. Mark emphasised the need for this pan European approach to address the lack of specific training to plan design and maintain mountain biking trails that are sustainable. 

Looking to the implementation of the new Unauthorised Trail Guidance, John Ireland, Forestry Commission Scotland’s Safety, Health and Environment Manager outlined some of the issues that the recent proliferation of unofficial trails has created. The question was asked, how do we implement the new guidance - with improved communications planning and partnerships between mountain bikers and landowners?

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To emphasise the approach of landowners working with mountain bikers, the Summit moved to Laggan, for some trail maintenance. In keeping with the previous discussions at the conference, the dig was not on the marked trail side of Laggan, a selection of nearby unauthorised trails which had been picked by the local trailbuilders for the delegates to work on, and after a safety briefing from John and the FCS crew the set to work. 

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The group consisted of everyday mountain bikers, landowners, Forestry Commission Scotland, FC England and Natural Resources Wales, local bike clubs and trail builders. It really was a fantastic example of what can be done while working together on trails that might have been viewed entirely differently a few years back. Download the new unauthorised trail guidance.