New Blue Doon Trail – Full Run POV

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The Nevis Blue Doon, the longest Blue grade uplift mountain bike trail in the UK, has been opened at Nevis Range Mountain Experience near Fort William. Joe Barnes and Pete Scullion shot us this POV of the full run. 

The Nevis Blue Doon, is a Blue graded downhill cross country mountain bike trail at Fort William’s Nevis Range. The longest Blue grade uplift trail in the UK, it’s accessed by the Nevis Range Mountain Gondola.  At 650m up on the mountain of Aonach Mor in the shadow of Ben Nevis, the top section of the trail is on open hill side with fantastic views across Fort William and Loch Linnhe. It then heads into the forest and joins the huge network of trails in the lower forest at Nevis Range, and finishes at the car park.

As Pete and Joe note, it takes a full 20 minutes to get down and it’s quite an effort to do without stopping. ‘Bring your sandwiches and stop along the way’ is their advice.

John Sutherland, Activities Director at Nevis Range, said:

“Construction of the trail has taken over two years and required a colossal amount of work from our trail team and has seen all hands-on deck!

“We are extremely proud that 99% of the material has come from our own hill side and really ties into our attitudes as a sustainable business. The team are rightly proud of their achievements and are looking forward to sharing this incredible track with the rest of the world!”

Joe Barnes, having fun on a blue trail. Credit: Pete Scullion

Chris O’Brien, Managing Director of Nevis Range, said:

“Blue Doon is a game changer for the Nevis Range Development Company. The current lift served downhill tracks are awesome including the world-renowned Mountain Bike World Cup Downhill track.  However, as they are graded Black and Orange, we really wanted to add a Blue trail to open-up the riding opportunities to a wider audience!

“SportScotland and HIE have supported this project, not just for the commercial benefits, but because at Nevis Range we have a commitment to both expanding the sport and helping create national and international champions of tomorrow!”

It’s a long way down! Credit: Pete Scullion

Could this be a great introduction to uplift riding for your kids, without a flight to the Alps? Or a good way to add fun for all the family to a trip to your dream DH track? With it being a fair old journey for many of us to get there, it’s good to have more options once we get there.


  • This topic has 22 replies, 14 voices, and was last updated 1 week ago by J.
Viewing 22 posts - 1 through 22 (of 22 total)
  • New Blue Doon Trail – Full Run POV
  • Premier Icon thegeneralist
    Full Member

    Cool skidz Joe. Respec’

    Premier Icon immaterial
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    Looks pretty good for an old fart with no fitness (i.e. me)

    Premier Icon rhaamonkey
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    imagine how cool that would be with some properly bermed corners, the bottom section seems more finished than the top…work in progress still?

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    yeah, it’s definitely a work in progress- there’s loads of bags of stone at the side of the trail still to go into it. Though exactly what form that takes, who knows, I reckon there’s a bit of suck-it-and-see as far as how durable the surface is, how it stands up to winter etc.

    (pretty much all trails like this are works-in-progress tbh, I don’t think we’ve ever opened a section and not been back in a few weeks later fixing unforseen issues and tweaking bits, and then again a bit later once it’s had some riding and some bad weather figuring out what that’s done to it too… But this one, a bit more than most I reckon)

    Premier Icon lancashire-kiwi
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    I think it looks an amazing trail for the family to enjoy. If the fast kids want speed and thrills the they should go and ride the Top Chief or Downhill track.

    Premier Icon cu dubh
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    Barely thrown a leg over the MTB for quite a while so me and my wife did some blue XC at FB before trying the Blue Doon. We both minced down but had a blast. Will be back again once we have got a bit more rust off the MTB skills, such as they are. If you are a cycling god this is not your church. Leave it to the rest of us.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Full Member

    I’m pretty good at bikes, I enjoyed it too, it’s definitely not “not for good riders” just “not for all riders”. Some people have really strong opinions about it but I spent a lot of time just talking to randoms on the day and it was overwhelmingly positive.

    The trail definitely could have been better but the trail that could have existed doesn’t make the trail that does exist worse to ride.

    Premier Icon Rich
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    Definitely on the list for next years annual Scotland adventure

    Premier Icon huck2flat
    Free Member

    Would highly recommend this as a “last run of the day”, after abusing your body on the WC track all day, it’s like a motorway – super relaxing ! Would be ideal for those riders with young kids

    Premier Icon ScotRoutes
    Full Member

    Not saying if it’s right or wrong but the contrast between the work they’ve been allowed to do to create this trail at Nevis Range and the fuss kicked up over at Cairngorm at the mere suggestion of a bike track is incredible. Of course, it looks really bad at the moment and will no doubt “age in” (eventually).. I guess they could at least have attempted to re-cover some of the bare shoulders of the track by saving and re-using some of the topsoil and plants.

    Looks at about my level of technical competence so I’m looking forward to trying it out. Probably next year now.

    Premier Icon donald
    Free Member

    @scotroutes

    I think the problem for Cairngorm is the altitude. The top of Nevis Range gondola is the same height as Cairngorm carpark. Its very difficult for nature to recover and soften the effects of any digging above 2000 feet. I remember the chairlift company going to some effort to restore the old buldozed Ptarmigan track by spraying some sort of sticky grass seed mixure around the place and it didn’t really work.
    Cycle tracks below the carpark might work (ecologically) but I don’t see how you’d get any income from them if people can just drive to the start.

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    The cairngorms must have more paths on them than any other mountain range in Scotland, cairngorm itself is awful looking, they’d be as well chucking in some bike tracks as well.

    Premier Icon ScotRoutes
    Full Member

    cairngorm itself is awful looking, they’d be as well chucking in some bike tracks as well.

    Yep, I’ve often argued that Coire Cas (and, as @donald suggests, the area down to Glenmore) should be “set-aside” for developments of this type and let the rest of the range be preserved, enhaced, re-wilded etc. The ski area is a tiny proportion of the whole range.

    Premier Icon thegeneralist
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    Agreed re cairngorm and letting rip on one minor area.

    To answer scotroutes specific point

    the fuss kicked up over at Cairngorm at the mere suggestion of a bike track

    I assume it is partly due to CG’s uncanny track record of fucking up absolutely everything they lay their hands on. In combo with SNH of course.

    Premier Icon ScotRoutes
    Full Member

    LOL – no, it’s the conservation/environmental/rambler lobby. There are serious suggestions that the whole area should be returned to “wilderness”, including removal of the ski road, thereby restoring the principle of the long walk in. It’s an elitist and selfish attitude with which I have no truck.

    Apologies to the OP for taking this so off-topic btw.

    Premier Icon thegeneralist
    Full Member

    Yup agreed. I was just siezing the opportunity to diss CG and SNH

    I think binning the skiing and preventing mtb under the guise of protecting the environment is mising the bigger picture, like the air miles that Scottish skers would then need to use to get their fix.

    Premier Icon tjagain
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    stupid comment ‘cos I misunderstood!

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    Great news on the new accommodation and facilities getting started, WC track, TC, BD and a new red, Nevis Range upping their game, fantastic.

    Premier Icon J
    Free Member

    “downhill cross country”

    Uh-huh. There’s your problem. This track is utter garbage. Anyone who has ridden in the Alps or Canada will immediately be appalled.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    have you ridden it redrook?

    Premier Icon J
    Free Member

    LOL – no, it’s the conservation/environmental/rambler lobby. There are serious suggestions that the whole area should be returned to “wilderness”, including removal of the ski road, thereby restoring the principle of the long walk in. It’s an elitist and selfish attitude with which I have no truck.

    Both CG and Aonach Mor are SSSIs, and were before the ski developments. It’s not a lobby, it’s a very important part of how we manage places like this for everyone’s interests. CG in particular is an extremely rare place in terms of biodiversity, there are very good reasons why they won’t get a bike track (aside from the fact that it’s been so badly run that HIE have taken it over).
    However, very few people care about the bike tracks on AM, it’s actually a pretty good spot for them since its all on the lower mountain (unlike at CG).

    Premier Icon J
    Free Member

    have you ridden it redrook?

    Yessir. I’ve also ridden Whistler and the Alps, where they know how to build blue graded flow trails which are awesome for all levels.

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