Glenshee Uplift – Report

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  • Glenshee Uplift – Report
  • rs
    Member

    wow! lift accessed biking with uphills and walkers on the trail, shakes head!!!

    Went up Tuesday for a look.

    First things first – it's NOT Fort William. Secondly, there's a blooming great UPHILL near the start and another wee one a bit further along.

    If you're still reading….. it was actually good fun.

    Turned up, got our day tickets from the Cafe – £15 each. Went over to the Cairnwell chairlift and got going. They hook little racks onto the side of your chair then the staff put your bike on once your in the chair. They don't quite seem to have sorted out a system for doing it but we generally managed to get the bikes on ok. Atleast it doesn't stop like the Lecht.

    I think the chairlift was built in the sixties as it's a little ropey but you get to the top ok and then off you go. There are a few little tight berms and a straight downhill run.

    Then you get a steep uphill ahead which is a pain if you've set the bike up for going down.

    At least there's a good view at the top of the climb.

    Next there's a decent straight fast descent, some little jumps, a tabletop and a water splash which is all fun…..

    …. until you hit ANOTHER uphill which isn't as bad as the first one. Pictured here:

    At last it's downhill all the way with some decent swoopy bits down round some ski huts and the Cairnwell Cafe.

    Note Rambler on the trail (with headphones on)

    Then some singletrack down the gully.

    Stan fixes puncture number three.

    Pleasant day in terms of weather.

    All in all not a bad day. Did about a dozen runs. We also went off piste and hiked up some other bits and made our own runs down for a laugh. If you treat it like a ride in the mountains with a lot of downhill and a couple of uphill gradients but with the bulk of the climbing done by chairlift then it's satisfactory. Plus you can mess around on the mountain top going your own way. As we learned the run it became more fun as the speed increased with each run. If you're crap at jumping (like me) the confidence inspiring jumps are good for learning on.

    Another negative was walkers on the trail. We were the only bikers there but there was still scope for hitting some, especially the muppet in green in one of the photos who had headphones on and was oblivious to anything.

    The Glenshee people seem keen to improve it but need to get their publicity in order for sure. They also mentioned that the SDA are looking to build a downhill course down the Tiger – which would be interesting.

    For £15 – well worth it 🙂

    I KNOW it's not a real downhill course but mere mortals on XC bikes can have a laugh and it's a good day out in great scenery so WTF.

    messiah
    Member

    Great write up 😀

    Premier Icon scoobmw
    Subscriber

    Unfortunately – that road is the standard route for many walkers up those Munro's – especially walkers taking young children to the hills.

    Wasn't aware of the MTB angle now in place, which sounds like great fun, but something will have to be done re the walking/biking thing.

    How will (and I include my own family in this) a 4 or 5 year oldreact when they see a bike coming at them. Answer – completely unpredictably.

    All of this written with no knowledge of whether there's something in place to direct one group one way and another another of course, or whether this is a new track built separate from the one I'm thinking about too – if it's brand new, marked as MTB only and the existing one is still there, then possibly just some marking req'd.

    PS. Walkers with headphones on – I don't wear them, but some do – not really sure that's cause for tagging them muppets 🙂 unless of course there's something that says "watch out – downhillers about" that they'll have definitely seen in which case you'd simply expect people not to be there, headphones are irrelevant.
    In my time I've seen more MTB'ers with headphones than walkers is another thing.

    Ducks now, pending some sort of walking/biking debate 🙂

    Premier Icon scoobmw
    Subscriber

    Cracking pics, and thanks for the write-up. Not many cloud free days in Glenshee.

    Good points scoobmw.

    I only referred to the muppet as a "muppet" coz I rode down past him at walking speed, noticed he was wired for sound and smiled at him and gesticulated back up the hill that there was another bike coming down – he just carried on,didn't look round and went on down the trail oblivious.

    They'll definitely need to do something to make walkers aware of bikers although as it's pretty rocky it's easy to hear us coming.

    All the walkers we spoke to were really friendly and interested in the biking angle.

    TBH I kinda like the laissez-faire attitude that everyone shares the mountain and common sense prevails rather than the nanny state scenario but we'll see how that pans out……….

    stanfree
    Member

    Good right up , I'd certainly pay £15 for a day pass . Seems more interesting that there are a couple of climbs involved as well.

    GW
    Member

    that's a shame 😥

    cheers for the write up though.

    grumm
    Member

    Thanks for the info and pics.

    Now I don't want to prejudge not having ridden it – but based on the pics and writeups I've seen on this and the Lecht DH – it seems like they are really wasting the potential for this kind of thing.

    Surely there must be a decent market for chairlift assisted riding for them to have bothered doing it, but they are unlikely to get big numbers of people wanting to ride a course like that are they? What would someone from Whistler think if they had a go?

    Premier Icon Woody
    Subscriber

    Thanks for the write-up.

    Maybe it's the pics flattening everything out but considering the terrain they had to work with, that looks about as dull as a Scottish mountain trail could ever be.

    Having said that, you enjoyed it so I may well give it a crack next month when I'm up. Would you recommend it over the Lecht?

    enmac
    Member

    After the great skiing season this year there were reports in the Aberdeen press of Glenshee applying to instal a new chairlift on the Cairnwell side. That would be a big improvement over the current rickety 1970's lift. Might encourage more people to visit in the summer too.

    balfa
    Member

    They have been installing a new chair lift (second hand) thats been lying around for ages. It only really serves as access to the bottom of the main tows on the Cairnwell side so pretty much useless for biking.

    People seem to be expecting fortwilliam/trail centre trails instantly. I think it will take time for them to get to that sort of level if ever. Like glencoe they are working with a minuscule budget and no additional external funding either. If they are ever going to see much development I think we need to show them more support not just shoot them down in flames at the start gate.

    namastebuzz, how would you grade it, and how long did it take to get down, including the ascents? Can't tell from the pics how steep it is, but is doesn't look very technical

    Premier Icon Woody
    Subscriber

    I think we need to show them more support not just shoot them down in flames at the start gate.

    I agree with that to a point but after the season they have had I would have thought the budget could be a bit more than miniscule, especially as any income is additional to what they would have had previously in the summer. There are many business models to look at and the problem will be if the reputation is poor initially it will be difficult to shake off. I am not a charity and they are competing as a commecial enterprise so have to provide something that is worth the trip and expense even at this, presumably embryonic stage.

    I think that it could be very good indeed given the time and funds to run alternative routes and options. It will never be a Whistler any more than it could compete French and Italian areas, purely on scale and weather but as a day out it could and should be a viable alternative to Fort William and Welsh trail centres. Biggest drawback that I can see is that it is so affected by the weather, which is made worse by the fact that it is above the treeline and can't offer any shelter on windy/wet days.

    grumm
    Member

    If they are ever going to see much development I think we need to show them more support not just shoot them down in flames at the start gate.

    Yup fair enough – I wonder though, are there many riders local enough to form a trail building group or whatever to try and develop these trails? I'd certainly be up for it if there was something like it anywhere near me.

    CaptainMainwaring

    TBH I've no idea how long it took – maybe around 10 minutes with all the climbing. Nothing technical at all but the fun comes from going faster each time and picking lines then starting to run out of road as your speed increases. Plus all the wee hollows can be turned into launch pads.

    The Glenshee people seem open to development input from riders I'd say.

    As folk say, it should be supported then it'll get better in time. The SDA building a DH track down the Tiger (steepest piste at Glenshee) is an exciting prospect.

    Premier Icon Woody
    Subscriber

    The SDA building a DH track down the Tiger (steepest piste at Glenshee) is an exciting prospect.

    Now that is steep, even on skis 😯

    Premier Icon stabilizers
    Subscriber

    Good right up. I might give it a go. Mind you I have been saying that about the Lecht and I still have not made it there yet.
    I am afraid you will just have to live with the walkers until they can get some proper trails and signage. They have just as much right to be there as bikers do. I once followed a guy running down Oxen Craig on Bennachie with his dog. Completely oblivious. The dog however was very nervous.

    Premier Icon soulrider
    Subscriber

    if they want better trails they need to get Mark Hedderwick involved.

    Premier Icon swavis
    Subscriber

    Looks interesting. £15 is far better deal than the £25 at the Lecht.

    jemima
    Member

    Thanks for the report. Would be ace if the SDA get involved with something steep 😈

    As for now think I'll just keep pedalling to the top of Golspie and other such fun trails…

    notlocal
    Member

    There are plenty of riders up here to form a trail building group. The problem lies in the restrictions placed upon Glenshee by governing bodies such as SNH.
    The track follows the line of a service road up Cairnwell. SNH wanted to minimise the impact on the natural state of the hill 😯

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    "balfa – Member

    "People seem to be expecting fortwilliam/trail centre trails instantly. I think it will take time for them to get to that sort of level if ever. Like glencoe they are working with a minuscule budget and no additional external funding either"

    The Nevis Red didn't have a big budget either, but was built quickly and is pretty fantastic. Not to criticise this too much but it just seems flawed, and if it's going to be full of walkers and not signposted as such then it's not a matter of if there's a collision, just when really. Uplift trails with a climb in just seem odd too, even the very short uphill sections on Nevis Red seem completely wrong when you come to them.

    Still, reserving judgement, I'll need to get myself up there before the end of the summer. Assuming that didn't happen in June.

    balfa
    Member

    The Nevis Red didn't have a big budget either, but was built quickly and is pretty fantastic. Not to criticise this too much but it just seems flawed, and if it's going to be full of walkers and not signposted as such then it's not a matter of if there's a collision, just when really. Uplift trails with a climb in just seem odd too, even the very short uphill sections on Nevis Red seem completely wrong when you come to them.

    I hear what your saying but the budget for the red route at nevis was huge in comparison to what Glenshee have available.Nevis range's projects are normally funded by Highlands & Island Enterprise. I believe Glenshee is outwith HIE's remit so it sees nothing. Glencoe also sees nothing even though its within HIE's boundary. The red route at Nevis was funded by sportscotland, Highlands & Island Enterprise, West Highland Wheelers, Forestry Commission Scotland and Lochaber – The Outdoor Capital of the UK. I doubt Glenshee have seen any external funding. The cairnwell side at Glenshee (where the biking is) lies within the national park boundary too so they are more limited to what they can build. You may criticize Glenshee for not spending more on biking after a good winter season but a few bikers don't pay the bills. Thousands of skiers do thus why they are still investing in their ski infrastructure. If we support it then the maths might add up but spending 250K on a bike trails when the return is marginal doesn't make sense unless the funding comes from elsewhere. Its not like Nevis Range make any significant money from the biking outside of the WC.

    >I agree with that to a point but after the season they have had I would have thought the budget could be a bit more than miniscule,<

    One Swallow doesn't make a summer – GS has limped from one poor season to the next and the window of opportunity for making money on winter sports is incredibly small. I take my hat off to the MBO team for even taking a punt up there in the first place.

    Per Balfa really – lot of competing interests (think Aviemore and the amount of cash the funicular must be sucking out the system) with Glenshee / The Coe pretty much at the bottom of the heap from what I can see.

    I'd be interested to learn if the SMBDC debated any of these issues in Perth last month – anyone?

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    "If we support it then the maths might add up but spending 250K on a bike trails when the return is marginal doesn't make sense unless the funding comes from elsewhere."

    According to the Nevis press relesaes the initial spend for the red was £65000.

    balfa
    Member

    According to the Nevis press relesaes the initial spend for the red was £65000.

    Maybe by Nevis range. About £218K in reality according to Sport Scotland.

    "The Nevis Red route was funded by SportsScotland (£77,000), the Outdoor Capital of the UK (£3,000), Highlands and Islands Enterprise (£51,744), the West Highland Wheelers (£5,000) and by Nevis Range (£80,669). "

    Source

    surely the more options that continue to open is good for the sport ?

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Ah, thanks Balfa, that's very intersting, I stand corrected.

    LD
    Member

    Was up today for a try. Can't add much more to namastebuzz's description but had some interesting chats with the guys up there. One of their limits is that they can't go off the current tracks according to cooncil planners and they can't import any materials for trailbuilding.
    I did recommend making more of the step downs and putting some rock on the lips. Some more berms would really help as well to keep the flow going. We chatted about putting a route through Butcharts gully but that is their water supply so not easy to do anything in there.
    Basically they are eager to please but a bit clueless at the moment so do find someone to speak to and give feedback, if you are up.
    It might make sense to have a kinda work party where a few folk in the know go up for the day and suggest/build things.
    On the big downhill on the Tiger they are leaving it to the SDA to plan/develop this so hopefully the council will be a bit more open to them.
    Found one of the best trails I have done in a long time, off piste and off the ski centre, put a big smile on my face to finish the day.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    How much trail is actually built so far?

    LD, your post kind of gives the impression that these aren't experienced trailbuilders, is that fair?

    notlocal
    Member

    As far as I'm aware, the guys who own Glenshee did the construction. There was a staff/management buy out a few years back.
    As I've mentioned in past threads, the team at Glenshee really have their hands tied by red tape, so any help and advice would probably be welcome, as long as it didn't fall into the 'is this the best you can do?' bracket.

    LD
    Member

    They are not experienced trail builders. They have taken an access track and varied it a wee bit, 5 berms, 2 jumps and a couple of step downs. There is loads of potential but they need some help to realise it! I think as previously discussed it's going to be a case of putting in time not money, but lots could be done by moving rock around and maybe even digging out some bedrock.

    Premier Icon Woody
    Subscriber

    Basically they are eager to please but a bit clueless at the moment

    That's encouraging in that they are willing to listen. Sounds like a few days with an 'expert/consultant' to point them in the right direction could transform the place without prohibitive costs.

    I'm actually really looking forward to getting up there while the level of gnarness is still low enough for me to (hopefully) have fun without too much risk of carnage!

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