Pentland MTB Orienteering event – thoughts?

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 108 total)
  • Pentland MTB Orienteering event – thoughts?
  • Kit
    Member

    Just found out about this: http://www.smbo.org.uk/pentlands-mtb-o-event-18th-march/

    Don’t think I agree with the timing of this. Sure, wait until May/June, but in March my bat-senses tell me that it’s too wet for a group event of that nature.

    Mainly off road tracks, some rutted, muddy in places. Some solid tracks on the lower grounds

    So, muddy everywhere except the roads?

    Or am I being a miserable git? (no need to answer that one πŸ˜‰ )

    IA
    Member

    Depends which areas/tracks are in/out of bounds, and where they put the controls really. Could be ok, could mess stuff right up.

    Not the first pentlands MBO/trailquest there’s been.

    Agreed. It’s a bit irresponsible considering the conditions of the paths up there. The Bike Chain posted some photies recently.. it’s a bit of a mess:

    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150681973918223.449809.198816828222&type=1

    The last orienteering event in the Pentlands was in February time! It was actually pretty dry and a really good event (well, I enjoyed it anyway).

    Seems to be open season on the Pentlands at the moment, after the Mega-October-Avalanche held on Allermuir lat year…

    druidh
    Member

    Certainly puts me off doing any trail maintenance if I know it’s going to be trashed for an event like this.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    But March is the driest month in Edinburgh πŸ™‚

    It’s ran for a few years now and is a good event – It doesn’t really attract the numbers to be an outrageous assault on the trails. Maybe 50 people, something like that. The nature of the event disperses the impact considerably – it’s a million miles away from 50 blokes hammering the same piece of singletrack over and over. Not that there’s any ST in the Pentlands, but you know what I mean. I hope to come up for it.

    Certainly a point worth raising though – the organisers often mark the maps with ‘trail unsuitable’ or similar, and are local so will distribute the checkpoints intelligently.

    Kit
    Member

    Good to know that they’re sensitive to the conditions, but also agree with Colin πŸ™‚

    the organisers often mark the maps with ‘trail unsuitable’ or similar, and are local so will distribute the checkpoints intelligently.

    Hmm maybe we’re being too quick to judge. I’d like to see the people who’re organising these events organise path repair days – there’s certainly no lack of willing volunteers.

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    Phantoms was completely ruined by one of these events in 2008, not sure which one, but they were supposed to stick to trails marked on the 50k map, which I don’t think Phantoms is. It has never been the same since.

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    Ah well Phantoms is marked on their 50k map as a trail within bounds.

    IA
    Member

    It was a rat-race or some other “adventure” race that wrecked the trails in 08 – far higher numbers of people, all over the shop getting lost. Came across some folk in odd places*, some navigation skills lacking!

    *the wrong side of the wall up poet’s, in the grounds of the house, etc.

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    Ah right, I remember being surprised at the number of people, I was living at castlelaw farm at the time and was sitting in my living room with dozens and dozens of cyclists going past.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Member

    I’m fairly sure we didn’t go anywhere near the Pentlands in the ’08 Rat Race. Went across the top, and possibly down Phantoms in ’06, but it was very dry up there at the time (in July)

    IA
    Member

    I might have my years confused, there was definately an adventure race of some sort, between 06 and ’10, where there were a lot of folk on bikes all over the shop and in some odd places.

    Premier Icon AlasdairMc
    Subscriber

    You might be thinking of the Wan Dae in August/September 2008. Poet’s Glen was in the route, but only going uphill. I seem to recall only using the more minor trails, not running anywhere South of the reservoirs and generally sticking to the hills closest to the bypass as the course was more spread out than previous years. Or maybe that was 2009.

    Either way, a race in March in the Pentlands is poor, especially given the winter we’ve had.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Member

    Well if it was ’06 I find it very hard to believe we did any significant damage to the trails – was very dry, and on the day so hot that people were struggling with dehydration.

    I did the event last year (the Orienteering even)and would echo the small field comments, surprisingly small seeing as it on Edinburgh’s door step. Last year it was held around the same time and was bone dry (and very hot).
    Although I can see where people are coming from re the date, it is Scotland it’s not as if the weather is predictable! I distinctly remember a few insanely wet days in May/June/July.

    There are fairly strict stick to the paths rules and the “control points” (I think that’s what they are called) are well placed so you don’t have need to go off the paths.
    From my experience it was a well run(apart from some annoying person stealing one of the control points, which due to my lack of experience, I spent ages looking for which possibly cost me a top 3) friendly event, and was a lot more fun than I had imagined (thought it would be a bit boring/annoying having to map read, rather than race).
    It should be supported rather than grumbled about.

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    It isn’t going off the paths that is the issue, it is the current state of the paths people are riding on.

    IA
    Member

    It should be supported rather than grumbled about.

    This. If you’re grumbling about trails that should be avoided, why not contact the organisers to express concerns? Also they’re surely doing it with liason with the park rangers you’d hope…

    Premier Icon AlasdairMc
    Subscriber

    I think their map choice shows a blatant disregard for current trail conditions. They’ve added a couple of trails on there that are in awful condition, which leads me to believe that they’ve not bothered considering responsible access by inspecting the trails before committing to their use.

    The fact that these trails have been added to their map suggests that there may be controls on those trails, which will just increase visitor numbers.

    Kit
    Member

    If you’re grumbling about trails that should be avoided, why not contact the organisers to express concerns?

    I wanted to check whether my concerns were valid before I approached the organisers, as well as giving weight to the grumbling if I have other grumblers to grumble with.

    I barely rode the Pentlands last year (and not at all this year) mostly due to illness, but also because I could see the state that paths were getting in from use/overuse in wet conditions. Photos I’ve seen recently have reaffirmed those feelings πŸ™

    Also they’re surely doing it with liason with the park rangers you’d hope…

    Hopefully!

    I really don’t see why people are getting het up about this. I think IA makes a good point, if your worried contact the organisers.

    But the numbers are low, not everyone will ride the same tracks anyway. And a fair number of them are locals that would be riding anyway.
    And how do you know what the weather will be like? As I pointed out dry spells are just as likely in march as they are in July.
    We could have a dry spell between now and then? The current state of the trails isn’t that relevant as the event is a month away.

    My experience of the weather is, that doesn’t really stick to seasons that much up here. I do take the point that maybe May/July might seem like better options but if it tips it down then would you say they should cancel it?

    I might be being harsh here but it just seems to be a grumble about something that might not be an issue and about a group of people willing to give up their time to do something for the sport. Maybe not exactly up what seems to be the majority of edinburgh STW’s street but they should be supported not moaned about in my eyes. sigh.

    Cowers in wait of response!

    P.s the map is just of the area, the crossed sections are no go areas but there is no actual control points or route marked on their. I might be missing something but to my eyes it just a map of the pentlands?!?!

    Kit
    Member

    Cowers in wait of response!

    In a car, obviously? Sorry…

    In my experience of the Pentlands, April/May are pretty much guaranteed to be dry months (freak weather accepted), whereas March still has a good chance of snow or rain.

    Not doubting it’s a good event, run by able people, but given how seemingly bad paths generally are at the moment, can you blame folk for getting worried about the effect on them of an organised event? There are a number of folk on here who spend time repairing trails in the Pentlands who I’m sure are concerned! (I’m not one, unfortunately confined to keyboard warrior by illness, booo…)

    Premier Icon AlasdairMc
    Subscriber

    Look at the OS 1:50k of the Pentlands, and compare the marked tracks on there to the ones on this map. You can see a slight difference in the lines between those already on the map and those overlaid.

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    They’ve added a couple of trails on there that are in awful condition

    You are right, they have added some really poor condition trails onto the 50k map, including Capelaw trails and the goat track round Castlelaw Hill which no groups should be riding at this time of the year unless frozen πŸ‘Ώ

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=321655&Y=665311&A=Y&Z=120

    original 50k routes to compare against their additional ones.

    I think contact the organisers if your concerned. I am fairly sure if there are tracks/paths that at the time of the event they deem unsuitable they will make them off limits, by BMBO rules if you go along a path that is off limits then you are disqualified.
    I am sure their intentions in not to ruin the pentland hills, they will want to have the event seen in a positive light and am almost certain that the date/event will have had to have been agreed with the rangers. I seriously doubt that you are able to run an organised event, esp with national body behind, it without permission.

    I will be running tyres with almost zero tread no matter what to help the pentlands out πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon aracer
    Member

    Look at the OS 1:50k of the Pentlands, and compare the marked tracks on there to the ones on this map.

    You did notice that their map is “indicative” – ie it’s last year’s, and this year’s might be different due to issues with tracks? As mentioned, if you’re worried contact them – I’m sure they’re not keen on making a mess of their own backyard, and can easily change the course at this stage.

    Premier Icon kennyp
    Subscriber

    An irresponsible idea. The Pentlands are in no state to host an event like this. Even if there was a drought between now and March 18th it still would be an irresponsible idea, such is the state of many of the tracks.

    The only track suitable up there is the tarmac road up from Flotterstone.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Member

    How do you know what state the trails are in if you’re not riding up there at all, kennyp?

    Irresponsible and not in accordance with the LRA IMO unless they stick to the armoured paths only

    Well worth raising with the organisers

    Premier Icon kennyp
    Subscriber

    How do you know what state the trails are in if you’re not riding up there at all, kennyp?

    I live a few hundred yards from the hills. I haven’t biked in them much recently because of trail damage, but still walk and run (okay, the running’s more like a brisk walk in my case) up there regularly.

    druidh
    Member

    kennyp – Member
    I live a few hundred yards from the hills. I haven’t biked in them much recently because of trail damage, but still walk and run (okay, the running’s more like a brisk walk in my case) up there regularly.

    Pretty much what he said.

    As the organiser please let me respond to some of your valid points.

    We at SMBO follow the outdoor access code which is for reasonable and responsible access for all our events. We contact all the landowners to ensure they are aware of the events and take into account their views and concerns.

    I have contacted the rangers who highlighted areas that should be marked out of bounds. The map on the website is last year’s map and has not been marked up with the out as bounds areas as yet. The challenge on this years event will be to not use a lot of the well known arterial routes that are muddy and at risk of erosion.

    These events are not point to point so you don’t have hundreds of riders going over the same point and churning up the ground. We normally have 50 people scattered across 60 square kilometres over a 3 hour period. Each person chooses their own path as defined by the map and they are disqualified if found hacking through/ being out of bounds etc.

    My aim is to promote mountain biking and get friends and family out on their bikes and discover new areas not wreck the area.

    I probably never appreciated that there are so many “trail fairies” out there helping to keep the Pentlands rideable. I will contact the Rangers and will organise some maintenance with my SMBO friends and others to help keep the Pentlands rideable.

    To the grumblers out there, come and have a shot!

    Look forward to your responses πŸ˜‰

    fizzer
    Member

    “To the grumblers out there, come and have a shot!”

    Hear Hear

    Kit
    Member

    anrmclennan, thanks for your response! Very commendable aims of the event, and I doubt anyone objects to a fun day out, but I feel you are going to get some negative responses to this: “The challenge on this years event will be to not use a lot of the well known arterial routes that are muddy and at risk of erosion.” and this: “…and discover new areas…”.

    There are many paths off the main arterial routes of the Pentlands, and the reason they are generally in good condition (compared to the main routes) is exactly because they don’t suffer the same pressure of traffic. They are not surfaced, not signposted and are therefore not expected or engineered to receive much traffic. For these reasons their condition remains largely good…however introduce en masse (i.e. 50 riders over 3 hours, the 60km2 bit is disingenious!) a group of people, at a time of year which is historically wet, is in my opinion (and others, I’m sure), not responsible. Not only that, but now that people know where these trails are, they are likely to ride them again throughout the year, resulting in further erosion.

    fizzer is right, this does sound like NIMBY-ism, but this is unfortunately a hang-up of the LRA, in that it relies on responsibility and, sadly, many Scottish hill/outdoor users do not practice this point. Hence an attempt by those who do consider responsibility as key (e.g. us ‘orrible lot on STW) to reduce exposure of our local hills to greater pressures. I am rather sad to not be able to support your event, I’m sorry, but think that it is the wrong time of year or even the wrong year to be doing it πŸ™

    As for trail repairs, Tandemjeremy is fairie extraordinaire, I believe!

    I entered this event a couple of weeks ago as I have been keen to get back into trailquesting sorry mtbo again. This thread is giving me a bit of a dilemma as I am sympathetic to the ‘locals’ worried about the state of their trails. In past experience scottish mtbo has pretty small fields many of whom don’t really get too far with only a few ‘serious’ riders getting up into the bigger hills to get the more challenging checkpoints. Would this really cause that much damage if the organiser is as careful with inbounds and out of bounds areas as he suggests? So is nobody riding in the Pentlands at the moment even the all the local forests in Fife more or less shut due to the carnage which was bawbag 2 in January? The fears expressed here strike me as a bit alarmist and I am inclined to ride the event unless convinced otherwise.

    druidh
    Member

    I’m another local who isn’t riding the Pentlands at the moment. I’ve been doing some very ad hoc minor repairs in places. I’m less encouraged to do so if some folk are just ignoring the state of the trails.

    So is nobody riding in the Pentlands at the moment

    Some folk are still riding. It’s frustrating to think that many cyclists are apparently unaware/uncaring about the damage they are causing to both (a) the paths themselves and (b) other users perception of mountain bikers. But two wrongs don’t make a right πŸ™‚

    As Kit says above, when the main routes are already trashed, the answer is NOT to then choose some lesser used routes and get them into the same state!

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 108 total)

The topic ‘Pentland MTB Orienteering event – thoughts?’ is closed to new replies.