Kielder Gets A Purple Mountain

by Ben Haworth 10

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.”

Comments (10)

  1. What effect will this have on the bike place and the Kielder trail reavers. The guys have been doing a grand job sorting out trails and organising events.

  2. I don’t think Ian (The Bike Place Manager) is going to be to happy about this…..

  3. I don’t think Ian (The Bike Place Manager) is going to be to happy about this…..

    Defo not. He had a bid in too. Was chatting to him in the pub down t’other end of the water on Avalanche Enduro weekend and he mentioned it.

  4. Kielder has such massive potential – however the Lonesome pine trail I did yesterday was not up to scratch IMO.

    If it is to compete with 7 stanes trails then it needs better investment by Northumbrian Water, NSP, One North East. I live about 30 miles away as the crow flies however getting there is a major pain in the backside.

    Also this cant be good for the Bike Palce who were a major player in the development of the Deadwater trail. Kick in the Face for a local company!

  5. Yeah, kick in the teeth for a local company. Not the first time the FC have done this though (think of Welsh trail centres). Certain FC employees have a habit of upsetting local trail builders as well. It won’t be the end The Bike Place though. Cannot comment on the the KTR situation (my guess is they will wash thier hands of the trail building/maintenance though).

  6. It’s the same as Keswick Mountain Bikes not getting into Whinlater after years of trying. that was down to training not being offered, i’ll bet its the same further up the country.

  7. Just hope the same doesn’t happen to Glentress (though don’t hold out much hope given the precedent set so far). FC really don’t appear to realise that one of the reasons a particular trail centres is popular is the local businesses that help build them up.

  8. Yeah, spoke to Ian @ The Bike Place on 7th. Gutted and severely let down hardly tell the story. He did mention that the cafe will also not be allowed to sell hot food, due to competition with the Laird’s Pantry at the Castle. Don’t know if this will be the case, but what’s the point of a cycle cafe with no hot food?

    I also feel the surface chosen for Deadwater Trail leaves a lot to be desired. When I rode it the surface consisted of fist sized lumps of sandstone and loose sand. The gates at Jimmy’s Hill totally interupted the flow of the trail too.

  9. I liked the quote

    Some staff will be recruited locally

    . Since Kielder is so remote I would say all the staff are going to have to be local if they can find anybody up there. Bellingham is 16 miles away, Hexham nearly 40 and Newcastle 55, would not fancy the commute from North Yorkshire.

  10. The new building does look great and when I was up there 2 weeks back I assumed (wrongly) that it would be the bike place moving into it. Most be really disappointing for them not getting the business when you consider how much effort they have put into promoting the area and supplying bikers of all standards with hire bikes and info and support.

    Regards the trails, I did the new red route and whilst I thought it was good fun to ride, it wasn’t really taxing. Deadwater is more technically demanding.

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