Stainburn Dig Day This Sunday

by Tom dB 26

If you’re in the area then why not get yourself over to the SingletrAction dig day happening at Stainburn (Nr. Otley, West Yorkshire) this Sunday (07/03/10). The descent line is being extended, there’ll be a fair bit of rock lumping, but you reap what you sow.

Usual drill – meet in the main car park at 10am, don’t forget to bring food, water,  appropriate clothing, gloves, etc. as it may be a little chilly!  There will be tools but if you have a spade or wheelbarrow it will come in handy.

Confirm your attendance at the dig though the nifty Facebook group.

You can read more about Singletraction and the work they do on their website.

stainburn forest

Comments (26)

  1. Get up there if you can and contribute to an awesome bit of trail that you can tell your grandchildren about in years to come. Singletraction are a good bunch of folks, you’ll have a blast….

  2. Stainburns Descent Line is the biggest waste of money I have ever ridden.I wish they (singletraction) were as good at building trails as gaining permission and raising money for materials and plant…
    Thackley: unfinished…
    Wharncliffe: what have you done there?
    As a group I think Singletraction should stick to raising money and get in experienced builders to make and design the trails.
    Yes to building,no to Singletraction.

    (Deeply unhelpfull adds nothing and what are YOU doing? Except bitching – Matt)

  3. More fun than dropping the big ladder at Glentress and more satisfying than the first time you got your hand inside someone else’s jeans and Didn’t get em removed!

  4. Stainburns Descent Line is the biggest waste of money I have ever ridden.I wish they (singletraction) were as good at building trails as gaining permission and raising money for materials and plant…
    Thackley: unfinished…
    Wharncliffe: what have you done there?
    As a group I think Singletraction should stick to raising money and get in experienced builders to make and design the trails.
    Yes to building,no to Singletraction.

    Do I know you? Have you ever been to a dig?

    Why don’t you come along this Sunday? You can tell us all about where we’re getting it wrong and why. Honestly, I’d like you to know more (than you seem) about the organisation and our work. Or are you just another armchair critic with a big mouth and no trousers?

    Very easy to slag a group off who bother to take the time and make the effort to put something back into trails when you’re a faceless internet punter. Much harder to get involved, talk, work and know what you’re talking about.

    I don’t agree with your comments, they’re either subjective, poorly informed or outright wrong. But even if any them had any real merit I’d rather be out trying to do something that at least some people like and appreciate than doing nothing and shouting about it from the stands. You know the old saying about critics …..

    Anyhow, maybe you’re a trail building god and an awesome rider and my comments are way out of line. I’ll look forward to seeing you on Sunday and having a chat and learning all about it.


    Tim, Chair, SingletrAction

    PS: if any of that is perceived as threatening or the like then that isn’t my intention at all. I’m just tired and bored of dealing with brick bats lobbed by faceless, anonymous people.

    Peace & Love 😎

  5. LOL @ Crackhead – always good to wade in first guns blazing and then establish the facts after the event 🙂 Tis what the internet was invented for !

    Tim – my membership fee says he’s a no show on Sunday ? He could even come along to the AGM and pontificate to a captive audience regarding where you’ve been going wrong….

  6. I am trying to be as polite and non-confrontational about it as possible but I get your drift Mark. You know me, meek to the point of mouse-dom 😉

    Some very brief facts:

    1) The DL received about £20k in grant money, peanuts compared to the usual scale of funding put into most trail centres. Total spend certainly did not exceed £30k but it was administered by FE so I am not fully aware of all the figures.

    2)Thackley, yes, the very lower level closest to the footpath is unfinished but other than that there’s a good jump loop, boulder challenge area, PT etc. What more do you want? There were some right cock ups at the start for which umpteen people share responsibilty, me included but I think it’s pretty good, certainly a massive improvement on what was there before.

    3) Wharncliffe, sorry but you haven’t a damn clue about the massive efforts the local lads put in for over 3 years only to be thwarted by FE (and I’m not embarking on an FE bashing session but to balme the volunteers is an insult). The fact that there’s nothing really there is in no way a reflection of our efforts. Anything that does go in is torn out by vandals (signage) or disgruntled users (new bits of trail). As it stands the local guys have completely downed tools and left the job. If someone wants to step up ….. ?

    4) Stainburn, ,the marmite of the trail world, no other “trail centre” like it in the UK. Lots of people like it and most mags reviews etc (for what they count) have been complimentary. If it isn’t for you then fine, but lots of others seem to have a pretty good time. All the people, all the time …. you get the idea. Perfect? Not in a million years, but given the paltry level of funding (in total <£50k) I think it is stunning. I think, given all the factors in play at the time, that we have built the best trail possible. But go on, belittle a huge amount of voluntary effort, what does it matter?

    5) There's a lot of people who would argue we're no good at negotiating permissions (current Norwood situation for example). Whatever, if you think it's a simple as paying some contractor to just rock up, design and build a trail you're mistaken, badly, IMO.

    I've heard some people tout "pro trailbubilders" as the solution to a trail's problems and I couldn't agree less. I know Huw Clixby (contractor behind a lot of FE stuff in England), I've met Rowan Sorrell and dug with Phil Saxena. They're all nice, even great fellas but they aren't the total solution. Why does it always have to be about buying someone in to do all the hard stuff?

    Folks giving a sh1t, getting out and doing the stuff themselves, locally if possible is a crucial component. My respect and admiration goes out to all the daft sods who turn up to our dig days and do this.

  7. Agree with everything Cheeky Monkey has said, Crackhead, your comments are completely out of order. Trail building is slow with volunteers, even when you get massive amounts of support from the FE (like we have at Gisburn), when you have to battle sometimes like Singletraction it can slow to a crawl.

    As for professional trail builders, I don’t have massive experience of working with them but some of the stuff at Gisburn built with large sums of money has collapsed completely compared to the volunteer stuff which has held up remarkably well. Similarly some of the stuff at Lee Quarry already needs maintenance. I’m not having a pop at the pros as they only build what they’re asked to build with the materials avaibable and are only on site for a short period of time. The volunteers tend to own the trails, so improvements can be made as well as repairs. Also as we’re not on time constrained contract we can make sure we spend more time on the construction, often by hand so hopefully it will last longer.

  8. Folks giving a sh1t, getting out and doing the stuff themselves, locally if possible is a crucial component. My respect and admiration goes out to all the daft sods who turn up to our dig days and do this.


  9. To put all this in context:

    Graham (if that’s your name that I’ve lifted from your profile / email?) I would be pleased to see you at the dig this Sunday and happily explain some of the stuff that goes on in STA and to do with trails in general, as I see it.

    This would have to be done whilst we’re grafting away as otherwise people get ticked off with me talking and not doing.

    I am aware that the often vociferous and passionate response that arises when we get criticised could portray us (and supporters) as being blind and unaccepting of criticism. I hope (and believe) this is not the case (within anyone’s reasonable limitations).

    We have done things wrong, bad, poorly etc at times and on some projects but on the whole, in the round, I think the balance of what STA has been involved with and contributed to over the years is far more positive than negative.

    I was going to email you the invite but, TBH, you haven’t emailed me so I wouldn’t want to be seen to personalise or make it more “immediate” than this.

    It’s open to anyone else if they would like to take me up on it as well.

    Peace & Love


  10. Crackhead – to be honest the riding at Stainburn isn’t really my thing either, however still doesn’t stop me being a (albeit relatively new) member of Singletraction and also helping out at a dig day or two.

    The opportunity to put something into a sport I deeply enjoy is thoroughly rewarding, notwithstanding the fact I personally don’t ride much of what I may have helped to build. If stuff is built and people use it then there is a stronger case with FE for even more stuff to be built.

    As far as I understand the situation, singletraction has attracted very little external funding and your assertions regarding ‘professional’ trailbuilders is a little naive – compare the volunteer built stuff (remains solid) to some of the contractor built sections (struggling in places) at Gisburn.

    See you [all] on Sunday (will be there for the dig – but will miss AGM).


  11. Crackhead, you are a misinformed crackpot. Take this quote….

    “As a group I think Singletraction should stick to raising money and get in experienced builders to make and design the trails.”

    For your information the descent line was designed and built by a paid contractor. The amount of ‘big bikes’ there evey weekend are a testement to just how popular it is.

  12. Chaps, saw this immediately, I refrained from commenting.

  13. Cheeky Monkey, sorry that you don’t like my opinon…though I have to say I find your reply a little knee-jerk. Can I comment on your facts in order?

    1, 20K is peanuts compared to a trail centre, but thats not what you have built.It is promoted as a downhill course!On a scale of 1-10 it must rate as a 1 in terms of its technicality. Had any races there or any interest from NPS/Northern downhill? Your Warren Boulder trail is more like a DH course. Why didn’t you build a more direct line down the fall of the hill and buy some more boulders with the money saved instead of zig-zagging your way down the pretty mellow hillside with a fireroad of sorts. There are thousands of miles of similar track all over the county, why didn’t you take up the challenge of building something to progress peoples riding and which could be used as a race venue?

    2,There was nothing there before, just odd bits that people had built themselves using just enthusiasm. Then you came along with your money and members and took the area over, keepers of Thackley. Were you really needed? How much money?

    3,Wharncliffe, why did you ever bother? The downhill tracks have always been built by enthusiastic riders who don’t feel the need to talk with the FC. Did Sheffield have a need for a xc loop? They are pretty close to the Peak!

    4, Speaking bluntly, Stainburn was crap. Not belittling the labour, hope they have learned a lot and have a great time riding it…

    5,”if you think it’s a simple as paying some contractor to just rock up, design and build a trail you’re mistaken, badly, IMO.”
    Thats right, you find a potential site, get permission to build and an agreement to how long you can have use of the land for (protect your investment), sort your finance and off you go.
    Would you get your mates to build you a house? Nooo!
    Would you get your mates to build a house for you and themselves using public money? Nooooooo!
    Professional track builders gain more experience in a week than you guys collect in a year, unless you think you can build to the levels of Rowan Sorrell, etc. Going pro is the answer for a worthwhile, quality job.

    I’m bored now
    I dig regularly(last 4 sundays any good?), maintain my local trails blah,blah…
    You won’t see me this sunday, or any sunday for that matter. I’m off building my own trails, and please feel free to come and make use of them when they are finished – you’re all welcome.
    Sorry if you think I am a crackpot.

  14. Crackhead, the DL wasn’t designed to be a DH course and I’m pretty sure SingletrAction have never promoted it as one. None of the trails at Stainburn were designed with DH bikes in mind.

  15. Is no one else appreciating the irony that is seems perfectly ok for Crackpot to dig and maintain his own trails but Singletraction can’t maintain them for toffee and ought to leave it to the ‘professionals’ ?

    Nah, just me then 😉

  16. Crackhead
    You seem to think that SingletrAction is fundamentally a money pot that throws money around at projects, it’s not. It’s fundamentally a bunch of trail builders (with little or no money) who are trying to legally work with land owners. Believe it or not, there is a big pool of experience. If you only knew a little bit about the hoops that have to be jumped thru and the plans that have been refused and dashed and the heads that have been banged against brick walls, you wouldn’t be making these comments.

  17. My response was a “little knee jerk”? Really? In that case what was your first post?

    1) The DL isn’t a DH course. There are no sanctioned (by FE) DH courses in the woods. The DL is a good rip down the hillside for anyone that fancies it. However, the trails are all designed to be ridden on a hardtail. Sort of super-tech XC. Everything else about races and the like is irrelevant.

    The Boulder trail is the same, a super-tech XC trail. You can ride it on whatever bike you like and we see more big bikes there nowadays but it was never designed specifically for them so if bits don’t work it’s not the trail’s fault. Given it’s XC, the trail route is designed to maximise the fall of the land in quite a small area, otherwise it’d be a 2 minute top-to-bottom and then a slog back up.

    We’re not into building race tracks, so yet again, your comments and criticism are not based on facts.

    2) We were approached through Ed at Crosstrax to help with Thackley (to provide expertise and volunteer organisation). Bradford MBC put in (IIRC) £20k, in conjunction with the Friends of Buck Wood, who kept getting feedback that the area had great potential but wasn’t up to much. We came in to help, worked our sox off, put some of the clubs own money (about £1k) in when cash dried up and helped create something that, IMO and from general feedback, is loads better than the couple of odd shaped lumps that were there before. “Keepers of Thackley” – hardly, everyone and anyone was welcome to pitch in at the digs and a lot did. TBH I don’t recognise your portrayal of the situation here, either.

    3) Wharncliffe – because Phil at Gravity Slaves asked for our help. There were major safety concerns (from FE) about the interface between riders and other users. We helped support the local guys to make improvements that helped negate the fears that were likely to lead to extensive prohibition of riding in the woods. The only things that didn’t get done were those that FE had promised to do and would take big kit. The intention was to buld more trails in the wood for all sorts, DH and XC.

    Funnily enough the Peak Park would love to see Wharncliffe developed to reduce some of the pressure on one of the most heavily used National Parks in the world. If you want any trails to stand a good chance of surviving in the woods it’s far better to have FE approval. If you think that doesn’t matter you should ask around and read the reports about unsanctioned trails being ripped up by FE.

    4) Stainburn – it’s fine that you don’t like it but hey, guess what, lots of other people do. There’s a difference between a trail being crap and it being something you don’t like.

    5) We aren’t going to agree on this (or anything else probably), there’s no point in me going through what I’ve already said.

    I’m glad you’ve replied in a bit more detail because I think I understand where you’re coming from better. It’s clear to me that you don’t know what you’re talking about in terms of facts about us and the work we do or the projects we’re involved in.

  18. Oh, I missed this as well “… buy some more boulders … ”

    That made me laugh 😎

  19. cant help out as im still not even walking right after foot op but i will say it was riding the trails at stainburn that made me want to get better.

    i rode there and thought this is crap i cant do it then went away and went back and had another go and thought you know they may be onto something here. i then went back a third time and thought yes i get it but i need some coaching as im crap lol

    once im back on my feet i will go back there its a great area to tune skills and tech and it really is very good. if youve not been or dont get the place give it a go with an open mind and you just might enjoy it. its not the place for an all day ride but you can spend a hour on one little bit and take a whole day and not even complete the whole area.

    oh and if you really dont like it stick to riding you like. or book some skills sessions 😉

    good work fellas

  20. Wharncliffe’s a great place for an XC loop (if you think purpose built trails are a good idea) – it’s near some major conurbations, so a there’s a lot of users who don’t have to drive miles to Dalby or Wales or wherever, and as previously stated it could contribute to relieving pressure on the Peak. The XC digs didn’t attract enough volunteers plus as discussed above the FC didn’t deliver on their promises. Also FWIW I think Stainburn is good.

  21. Hey Mick, look forward to seeing you when you’re up to it.

    We always recommend folks come back after their first visit. At first it’s usually a slap in the face and very off putting, but many times, second visit goes much better and people start to understand how it works. I’m still riding there after umpteen years and can’t do bits, but then I never claim to be any shakes as a rider.

    Whatever, if it isn’t for “you” that’s cool. Vive la difference. However, like I said, just because “you” don’t like it doesn’t make it crap.

  22. “It is promoted as a downhill course!”

    The descent line at Stainburn never was and never has been promoted as a ‘downhill course’. The FE would have never allowed it to be built if that was it’s purpose hence it’s name – the descent line. It might be a route that goes ‘down’ a ‘hill’ but that is as ‘downhill’ as it gets. Just because local DH ers chose to use it as practice does not make it a ‘downhill’.

    Crackhead, please show me somewhere where SingletrAction as an organisation have ever promoted it as a downhill course and i’ll eat my saddle.

  23. Crackhead
    As stated above, the DL at Stainburn has never been promoted by SingletrAction as a Downhill track. it is and always has been an XC route down a hill. Your first link is to a discusion between us about how we can best make use of what was built within the FC remit, some of us are into Downhill and that forum discusion reflects that, but the route had to be built within what the FC dictated. I’m not sure of the point of that 2nd link, yes we are a mixed bunch. The Third link to Moredirt, SingletrAction didn’t contribute to that trail description, read all their ‘trail reviews’ page to get a more informed review.

    If you travelled a long way believing it was a downhill track or DH location, then that misinformation was not the doing of SingletrAction. Stainburn is intended as a difficult XC destination.

  24. I don’t particularly get the relevance of what you’ve linked to either. Unless it’s this:

    “and designed and built what will be one of the most technically demanding permanent downhill courses in the north”

    which was written many, many moons ago about the DH in Dalby. And there’s a whole other saga about …..

    And as for Moredirt (or MBUK) written by journalists with nearly 0 input from us.

  25. He, he. Some of us ride CX bikes but we haven’t built a CX course in just the same way that some of us ride DH bikes but we haven’t built a DH course.

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