by Ben Haworth
May 11, 2009
The Kielder Partnership has revealed that Purple Mountain has been awarded the contract to run the £250,000 Kielder Water & Forest Park Bike Centre.
The company – which runs the highly successful cycle centre in Dalby Forest, near Pickering, North Yorkshire – will open the facility to the public on 1 July.
Located at the hub of a trail network near Kielder Castle Visitor Centre, the striking timber building offers 200 square metres of floor space and will be a major focal point for visitors to the area.
Alex MacLennan, Recreation and Tourism Manager with the Forestry Commission, commented: “Purple Mountain’s vision for the future matched ours in terms of ambition. They are a dynamic organisation, with the right kind of track record to help us take biking onto the next level. A new blue trail is set to open in the summer, adding to the red and black routes built over the past three years, along with a skills area. That means we offer something for all abilities. We are already seeing an influx of new bikers to Kielder and this new centre run by Purple Mountain will ensure cyclists get the most out of their trip.”
Purple Mountain is owned by 34 year old Vicky Griffin, who started her own bike hire concern as a 17 year old in the North York Moors village of Castleton. Not only did it establish her business credentials, but it also paid for a university education. Later she set-up a new company with late partner Chris Flintoft and opened the Dalby Forest Bike Centre in 2006, which now employs 15 people.
The Kielder Bike Centre will provide bike hire, including a demo fleet of top end Lapierre machines, and also run training courses, guided tours, corporate events and mechanical servicing. Some staff will be recruited locally. It will open all year round.
Vicky Griffin said: “Taking biking to new audiences has been one of our hallmarks and that’s what we aim to do in Kielder Water & Forest Park. We were bowled over by the new trails. There’s a massive amount of energy locally to make the venue one of the best for biking in the UK. A key selling point is the amazing wilderness feel you get when riding in the forest. It’s something you link with places like Canada, but which Kielder Water & Forest Park also delivers in abundance.”
Elisabeth Rowark, Director of the Kielder Partnership, added: “The opening of the Bike Centre is another milestone in developing sustainable tourism and world class facilities in Kielder Water & Forest Park. We are delighted to have Purple Mountain on board. This is a key time with so many trails opening, including the 26 mile Lakeside Way, allowing family bikers to circumnavigate Kielder Water for the first time.”