Look what they have they done to Carron Valley!

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  • Look what they have they done to Carron Valley!
  • dmiller
    Member

    Carron Valley is my local trail center – its where I first went mountain biking, its the first red I ever completed, the first place I did a night ride, etc. Long story short Carron Valley has always been a bit special to me.

    Carron Valley was a red (mostly easy) but with one superb feature called Kelpies Staircase. Kelpies was the reason that CV was a red – a nice rocky steep bit. Actually a lot easier than it looked (once you have the bottle – took me a while!) and good training for harder rocky stuff (laggan etc).

    This is how it used to look:

    The forestry commission have recently "improved it" and the approach to it. The new approach has a few drop offs (roughly the size of a kerb!) and then this is the new kelpies:

    They have killed it! It has TWO chicken runs and the actual feature has been removed and buried.

    I nearly cried on Sunday when I saw this 🙁

    Feckers.

    GW
    Member

    boo hoo

    😈

    Premier Icon Stu
    Subscriber

    WTF is the point of a chicken run on that?? Let alone two of them… 🙄

    2tyred
    Member

    Yup, was up there Saturday morning for the first time in a while and was disappointed when I saw what had been done. Hardly bodes well for the work being done to the runway section.

    Premier Icon Shackleton
    Subscriber

    As one of the more tame trail centres that was one of the few bits that I looked forwards to. Never exactly top of my list of places to go but good for a blast when up visiting the inlaws.

    Humph. I fail to see what they have achieved really. Put a chicken run in if you must but there needs to be something to justify a chicken run. Not 3 flavours of dull.

    dmiller
    Member

    WTF is the point of a chicken run on that?? Let alone two of them..

    This puzzled me. Why two? I just don't understand…

    cullen-bay
    Member

    that looks horrendous.

    nonk
    Member

    nightmare.take it the swear filter is bust then 😀

    Premier Icon treka
    Subscriber

    In the previous Grand Scheme of things Kelpies Staircase was to become an uphill climbing section instead of a downhill- maybe that explains the regrading and the other options? 😕

    Premier Icon robgarrioch
    Subscriber

    Only did a few laps of CV once but that staircase was the one 'challenging' section. Dumbing down of the highest order.

    Weren't they doing something to 'runway' as well, presumably to slow down the air-hunters?

    Erm … which one's are the chicken runs then, they all look more or less the same to me?? Apart from the right one having a bit of a dip in it??

    dmiller
    Member

    Weren't they doing something to 'runway' as well, presumably to slow down the air-hunters?

    It was all fenced off with no entry signs – I'm not the kinda guy that can ignore them 🙁

    Plus I didnt want to see after kelpies…

    Premier Icon StirlingCrispin
    Subscriber

    Cripes!
    My three-year old could ride that and then announced he's bored.

    Try skidding your back tyre, that'll open it up nicely!

    slowjo
    Member

    I think you'll find it is in response to OGB37 by which the FC are introducing standardised trail grading across the UK estate. Everything more than mildly interesting has to have alternative (chicken) routes so peeps don't get nasty surprises once they have committed themselves to a section. At least that is the FC take in my area.

    dmiller
    Member

    Try skidding your back tyre, that'll open it up nicely!

    hehehe – I actually think that given a good winter the outside chicken run might turn into a swamp anyway 🙂

    chvck
    Member

    Is that part of a climb or a descent?

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    PLaying devil's advocate here but…

    "Carron Valley was a red (mostly easy) but with one superb feature called Kelpies Staircase. Kelpies was the reason that CV was a red – a nice rocky steep bit."

    "Only did a few laps of CV once but that staircase was the one 'challenging' section."

    If there's only one feature that made the route a red, or which is significantly above the difficulty of the rest of the trail, it makes sense to squash it. Having one harder part in an otherwise easy trail is generally a pretty bad idea, it doesn't even need to be hard to catch people out once they've mentally reset the difficulty level to "easy". I guess this could be with a mind towards regrading the whole trail, or could equally just be about levelling the difficulty across the trail.

    Having said that, the best solution to that's to signpost it and if need be chicken run it, not to demolish the whole thing 🙁 I looked at a video justnow and it looks like there was an unofficial chicken run formed down the left hand side already, FC absolutely hate that, and tend to treat it as riders voting with their tyres and saying "We don't like this section"… But it shouldn't have to be all or nothing. It doesn't even make much sense since it'd be less work to build a clear, well surfaced chicken run and bash in a couple of posts.

    elliptic
    Member

    The outer chicken run in the photo looks to be blind and off-camber with a sharp drop into the streambed if you run wide.

    No nasty surprises for anyone there 😕

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Oh, does anyone know if there's a downloadable copy of OGB37? If you request it from the FC you have to give a reason and "pure nosiness" might not cut it!

    bigsi
    Member

    Looks like they are preparing it for road race duties 😆

    dmiller
    Member

    Is that part of a climb or a descent?

    Its a descent. Or at least it used to be.

    If there's only one feature that made the route a red, or which is significantly above the difficulty of the rest of the trail, it makes sense to squash it. Having one harder part in an otherwise easy trail is generally a pretty bad idea, it doesn't even need to be hard to catch people out once they've mentally reset the difficulty level to "easy".

    I see your point, and it makes sense, but they could have put a chicken run beside it without killing it – also the red grading was probably including the funpark as well.

    slowjo
    Member

    Northwind… I had a pdf somewhere…. I'll try ad dig up a copy for you.

    davidrussell
    Member

    what a forkin joke – you could take 3 quad bikes down that and not hit each other.

    simple joyless bypasses

    is probably about right for that.

    most of the people now using the chicken run will crash because the M25 has opened up in front of them and they dont know which lane to be in…

    davidrussell
    Member

    ps. they were worried about folk landing in the burn? imagine the 3-bike pile up when folks try to race round the corner and end up bailing into there.

    Forestry Commission, removing the fun from trail centres since 2007.

    bigsi
    Member

    On a slightly more serious note it looks to me like the original feature already had a chicken run 😕

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    slowjo, that'd be cool… If you find it could you email it to andrew@blackjack.f9.co.uk? Cheers!

    davidrussell
    Member

    Wow, just saw the FC plans for the Runway…

    davidrussell
    Member

    OGB37? If you request it from the FC you have to give a reason and "pure nosiness" might not cut it!

    FOI? No need for a better reason than nosiness.

    ojom
    Member

    Bear in mind a lot of people looking at it from an experienced rider point of view will see it as easy.

    Those new to the sport (which the FC does a fantastic job in welcoming and recruiting) will find features like the original quite intimidating.

    If you want bigger stuff then go to Innerleithen and Laggan. Easy.

    Lets have more beginner freindly stuff out there to get people into the hobby/sport. Thats surely the best way to spend the FC money non? Making it more accessible.

    If its so easy for people then make it harder for yourself by taking a different bike, a CX would be a laugh. In fact i may just do that next weekend.

    davidrussell
    Member

    If you want bigger stuff then go to Innerleithen and Laggan. Easy.

    why should riders have to travel to one end of the country or other to ride "bigger stuff"? And how does this square with the sustainability and environmental aspects of MTB. Creating Ghettos for noobs and people who like to emulate freeride stars is not a sensible approach.

    Premier Icon robgarrioch
    Subscriber

    Having one harder part in an otherwise easy trail is generally a pretty bad idea

    I see the sense there Andrew, & I guess the stair was a bit of a departure from the preceeding mile of trail. I think it was well signposted though, & it was a decent climb up some twisty s'track before a section of fire road to get to it. Could, however, imagine a few 'offs' occurring; sure I did a stop & look before tackling it the first time.

    slowjo
    Member

    blackjack ygm

    ojom
    Member

    I think ghettos is an odd word to use. Facilities would be better.

    There is just simply not the space/funding/scope to provide every grade at every facility.

    It seems people only get huffy with the FC when they create something to include new people into the sport. Picture it from the other side – you want to get into it and you think they are just building red's and blacks all the time. We need all grades.
    If they have to be built in different areas then so be it. Admittedly there is an environmental impact but there are few 'outdoor' sports that do not affect the environment.

    If anything this could be argued as a positive thing for the area at least. It will bring people in (hopefully!) and attract investment to the area.

    The vast majority of leisure cyclists do not ride red and black trails, there is no reason why the FC shouldn't build/change things to suit.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Slowjo, I do indeed- thanks!

    Oh, on the subject of the runway, the FC website says it's resurfacing, adding new jumps and stone drop-offs but removing "some of the short double jumps". There's space for a multitude of sins in that but it doesn't sound like it's just a steamrollering.

    Premier Icon Dougal
    Subscriber

    The wall at Inners received similar treatment this year. Pics, and response from the FC can be viewed at the following: http://s2.excoboard.com/exco/thread.php?forumid=49727&threadid=2046860

    Premier Icon Stu
    Subscriber

    thebikechain – your argument makes no sense when other trail centres have retained the hard options with a chicken run eg. Spooky Wood drops, Caddon Bank at Inners etc. Why take out the original feature that required the need for the chicken run?

    Doug – you mean the witches trail at Fort Bill I think…

    Heather Bash
    Member

    >Lets have more beginner freindly stuff out there to get people into the hobby/sport. Thats surely the best way to spend the FC money non? Making it more accessible.<

    Yeah, like doing what Pete Laing actually suggested: turning Eas Dubh into a climb, extending Cannonball and building a link trail down to the Runway. That would go a small way to finishing the job the now dismantled partnership had started…

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    "The wall at Inners received similar treatment this year."

    At the Witch's Trails, you mean? It got incorporated into the blue route. There's still sections of wall which can be ridden as an option, so that's pretty goood. Though not so good from the race perspective I guess, but the FC's response was spot on, Fort William badly lacked easier trails but it has a fair amount of first class harder stuff.

    (just playing devil's advocate for the Carron stuff, but here I think they got it absolutely spot on- the blue's very well done IMO, it's in horrible ground but it's quite well hardened and it's got a lot of variety and options for what's a fairly short trail. There's still some red-grade stuff, it's just optional now) It also links well with the cyclepath from fort william, though it's not well signposted- the blue effectively forms a commuting link from the north face car park)

    caledonia
    Member

    Better pic of what it used to ride like

    davidrussell
    Member

    TBC

    I think ghettos is an odd word to use. Facilities would be better.

    what else would you use to describe corralling MTB'ers based on their ability?

    "Beginner sir? left door. Freeride god? Ah, you'll be wanting the right door."

    The next thing will be a 3rd party judging what level of centre you should attend on the grounds of H+S….

    There is just simply not the space/funding/scope to provide every grade at every facility.

    I can state categorically that there is space and scope at CV. As for funding I accept that money is tight, but Forestry Commission found a way to spunk £300,000 in Golspie's direction so lets not pretend the money cant be found IF there is a will or a loophole.

    It seems people only get huffy with the FC when they create something to include new people into the sport. Picture it from the other side – you want to get into it and you think they are just building red's and blacks all the time. We need all grades.

    couldn't agree more. I am all for new riders coming into the sport but I dislike the creeping notion of CV as a "feeder station" for the so called flagships in the N and S of the country.

    I do hope its a good thing for the venue but I do not trust or accept FC's motives one iota and their continued hold on MTB in its trail centre form should be worrying everyone if this is what happens to a minor red feature on a trail.

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