Save the Cairngorms from Singletrack

  • This topic has 336 replies, 90 voices, and was last updated 8 years ago by  AntM.
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  • Save the Cairngorms from Singletrack
  • Scotland has more riding than anyone can do in a lifetime so why are the guys from Singletrack up on the Cairngorm plateau? (Issue 63)
    That coarse sandy ground you are so pleased with is a fragile and unique mountain environment. That ‘obvious path’ you mention must be a lot more obvious after you’ve scraped off a few hundred yards of top soil with your highrollers. Its just mad to be abusing such a place with bikes. Check out any of the gazillion miles of excellent riding below 600 m in the area-feshie, rothiemurchus,glenmore – and show some respect for the gorms.

    Kit
    Member

    I think you and TJ will get along famously!

    Are you serious? They published a route or story about riding on the plateau? If so, that is completely moronic. We may have great access to the land in this country, but there is a huge condition that comes with that freedom – we need to use our rights RESPONSIBLY.

    Premier Icon bedmaker
    Subscriber

    These fatbikes which are all the rage now are even better, allowing me to get off the beaten track and crush rare plants, ptarmigan eggs and baby capercaillies willy nilly.

    sharki
    Member

    http://www.singletrackworld.com A mountainbike magazine and forum for mountainbikers.

    You’ll be needing the ramblers forum. πŸ˜‰

    I can understand where you’re coming from, with all the erosion issues on the gorms, much of which walkers contribute just the same to levels of damage.IMHO

    Have a great day!

    Premier Icon BoardinBob
    Subscriber

    Meanwhile, in more important news, thousands of Libyans are being killed…

    Kit
    Member

    Meanwhile, in even more important news, millions of people are dying of AIDS… etc etc.

    I think the OP’s point is that by effectively promoting riding on a sensitive area, the journalists are acting irresponsibly. While the odd biker on the plateau compared with the number of walkers would not be considered an issue, exposure of the route to the wider MTB community will likely generate more traffic. This is probably not the responsible thing to do, and I agree with the OP on this one.

    Whilst it may be ( but not IMO) responsible to ride on the plateau to publicise it is simply wrong and shows a typical lack of understanding of the balance of rights and responsibilities involved in the right to roam.

    Its a very special and rare place. An SSSI and a site of world importance.

    Edit – having not seen the article is there any discussion of its unique status?

    mrlebowski
    Member

    Just one question: Have you ridden there yourself? Be honest.

    Sympathetic to this…

    >much of which walkers contribute just the same to levels of damage.IMHO<

    Haven’t read the article but iirc from his posts on here that’s pretty much the authors justification for broadcasting such routes on the net and in print. Sometimes its better to just zip it than claim the glory…

    Gorms fragile plateau aside there’s a lot of stuff broadcast on here which is not encouraging responsible access and unlike the Ramblers and other groups we dont have an org that puts anything directly back in to hill path maintenance.

    Mr Lebowski – the answers no I have not although I have walked and climbed there many times – even if I thought it was acceptable to take the bike up there I would not have the legs….
    Most of the people reading this will walk or run as well as bike and we all know which causes most erosion. Can’t we all just stay in the woods?
    Oh aye and boardinbob – don’t get me started on that tip in Coire Cas

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    As we speak, 10000 sys admins are prepping their audis for a boot up the A93 to Braemar. Out with the 5 spots and leather it up the Beinn a Bhuird climb, then over to the Ben Avon plateau to pull enormous skids.

    That’s not actually going to happen, is it?

    grum
    Member

    Most of the people reading this will walk or run as well as bike and we all know which causes most erosion.

    Walking?

    >Out with the 5 spots and leather it up the Beinn a Bhuird climb, then over to the Ben Avon plateau to pull enormous skids<

    Funny you should mention that – last time I was up there some assholes had straightlined it through all the switchbacks to the Sneck. Coincidence perhaps but just after it had appeared as the next must do ride on here.

    Sonor
    Member

    We may have great access to the land in this country, but there is a huge condition that comes with that freedom – we need to use our rights RESPONSIBLY.

    After “looking” at that article on the front page, people rant about rights but forget their responsibilities.

    martinxyz
    Member

    There are a few great rides to be had over the plateau as long as you stick to the tracks and keep to rocky sections.without knowing how delicate it really is up there,its so easy to go “heather bashing” or “off piste” and mess up so much in one descent.

    Theres arctic vegetation up on the plateau that when ridden or walked over,it can take years,if at all,to recover.without knowing anything about this,it is so easy for us mountain bikers to think “och,like heather.. itll pop back up once it gets a day or so of weathering" but to give you some idea of what these mosses are like.. you know those hard sponge type bases you can plant flowers into,or maybe stick some fake plants into? the stuff you can press your finger into and it crunches,never to return to its original state? well thats pretty much what some of the slopes up there are covered in. Its possible,and weve seen it,to return to an area you have walked or ridden over only to find it still hasnt returned back to its normal state many months later.

    Heather bash down the lower slopes on the local hills you venture out onto but dont think that because you havent been skidding down a mountain side in the Cairngorms,that the tyre track will recover.It probably wont.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    I’m with the OP here, there’s a need for magazines to think about the routes they publish… Course it’s not just STW. In autumn WMB printed a pentlands feature that didn’t just include the black hill singletrack- a ride-it-in-the-dry, always collapsing trail- it also said in the article “The pentlands are good for a ride in all conditions”. Just ridiculous… You’ve got to point the finger at the local guides where applicable too.

    Was pleased to see MBR print a very winter-suitable, sustainable pentlands trail this month.

    Premier Icon Mugboo
    Subscriber

    Why the hell would I leather my lovely Estate car past all those wonderful trail centres to get to a ‘mountain’.

    Crazy!

    jamesb
    Member

    Further agreement with OP, quite shocked to see STW publicising, and that I believe is biggest issue, a route in such an environment. I mentioned it to a walking friend and although she is also a part time MTBer she was horrified that a magazine was publicising such a route at all. I was up in Cairngorms area end Feb and enjoyed walking / easy climbing in corries and walking out on the plateau; I also enjoyed MTBing around Rothiemurcus and through Ryvoan. Both were great days doing appropriate activity IMO in each part of the mountains. A sure fire way to get MTB access restricted is to use them in inappropriate areas, and Cairngorm plateau would be one such

    If it’s that fragile, surely people shouldn’t be walking there either?

    messiah
    Member

    An article in a mag is not going to make a huge difference to the number of bikers heading up there. It might make people think about it but once they realise the size of the undertaking most will not bother… especially when you add in the fantastic Scotish weather.

    As someone who who does bike, walk and ski up there I agree with the OP in only so far as that I want to keep that place quite and ideally to myself (which is why most people whinge about it).

    FWIW – most of the people I meet when up high on the bike are lovely and chatty. The people who tend to have a pop at us bikers and whinge about us being on “their” precious mountains are wandering around the low hills mouthing off (and sometimes throwing rucksacks at us).

    Oh – and if you want to start a fight do you use walking poles? The damage caused by walking poles is many times worse than the passing of a tyre… the evidence is plain to see on any hill πŸ‘Ώ

    “Enjoy your day” πŸ™„

    Premier Icon Woody
    Subscriber

    mouthing off (and sometimes throwing rucksacks at us)

    Are you serious?

    messiah
    Member

    Yes – I’ve had a rucksack slung at me… amusing thing was his wife/carer apologising for him as I rode past her a few seconds later.

    Note – this was on a little local hill beloved by the rambling fraternity and he was great fat tattoo’d f*&^er who was obviously enjoying his day away from the open prison.

    Left me with a good story :mrgreen:

    CaptJon
    Member

    We walk 100 undergrads up to the plateau every year. Should that be stopped too? Or just not publicised?

    Messiah – the damage done by tyres is obvious. YOu see it all over the place. Whether people complain when they see you on the high mountains or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is the duty to be responsible in using your right to roam and encouraging people to cycle on the cairngorm plateau is hard to argue that it is responsible.

    There is not many places I believe MTBers should avoid – but the cairngorm plateau because of its very special and sensitive nature is one such place.

    Certainly publicising routes on it without discussing the issues is simply not on. Its smacks of a failure to understand the balance of rights and responsibilities that “right to roam” obligies us to consider

    messiah
    Member

    Only those of us who go up there see what we see with our own eyes, and even then we can draw whatever differing conclusions we want according to our prejudices πŸ˜₯

    I have not seen the article so can’t comment on it directly, but I do enjoy the odd ride on the Cairngorm plateau. Like anywhere else it is about responsibility. It is possible to ride responsibly in sensitive areas providing:
    1) You keep to existing paths that have already been made for/eroded by walkers
    2) You exercise a high degree of bike skill and ensure that you do not skid.

    I would argue that on a firm path or rocky base there would be less erosion caused by a rolling tyre that by the striking impact of a boot and poles, especially on the descents. The problem is that in any pastime there are always the few who will ruin it for the many.

    is my magazine late again or was this in the previous mag?

    TheBrick
    Member

    I would argue that on a firm path or rocky base there would be less erosion caused by a rolling tyre that by the striking impact of a boot and poles, especially on the descents. The problem is that in any pastime there are always the few who will ruin it for the many.

    There are many papers come to that conclusion too, it just tends to be that we see a tyre track more obviously than we do a mixture of footprints. All this goes out the window if you start riding like you are on a world cup track skidding and skidding all over the place. Mind you I’ve been walking with my girlfriend who got spooked coming down a steep hill and slid almost the entire way on her bum / feet, which caused a lot of erosion. I cringed the entire way down.

    balfa
    Member

    There are some very well built in paths in some areas of the Gorms. The path up Cairngorm from the Ptarmigan would take something hefty to cause significant erosion. It is possible to ride responsibly in the Cairngorms with care. Walkers and climbers are by far the biggest cause of erosion up there. Perhaps cyclists could become significant but I doubt many will go to that effort even with one magazine article.

    Perhaps the OP is just upset that the Angry Corrie is out of print πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    I cringed the entire way down.

    I’m sure she appreciated it πŸ˜‰

    The brick – many papers? Actually try to find a few.

    I once followed the references that people use to state that bicycles don’t cause erosion – the papers were badly flawed, the main one was using a hard surfaced path, the speeds were low, there was only a couple of bits of very limited research none of which are remotely applicable to most UK conditions

    Seriously – this claim that much research exonerates mountainbikes does not stand up to even the most causal reading of the actual research papers

    druidh
    Member

    balfa – Member
    There are some very well built in paths in some areas of the Gorms. The path up Cairngorm from the Ptarmigan would take something hefty to significant erosion.

    I’ve ridden there just after talking to one of the local Rangers. She didn’t seem to fussed as long as I was going up/down that hardened track.

    Dave
    Member

    There is not many places I believe MTBers should avoid – but the cairngorm plateau because of its very special and sensitive nature is one such place.

    Surely such a sensitive special place should have reduced access of all modes, not just by bikes?

    I’ve seen plenty of articles in the walking and climbing press about the cairngorm plateau I take it everyone writes in and complains to them too?

    Dave – thats why you are not allowed to use the funicular and then go up onto the plateau – restricting foot traffic.

    I agree its not clear cut about access by bike but promoting it in a magazine without any discussion even of the issues over access as a ride to do is not responsible.

    As northwind pointed out earlier tho singletrack have previous on this – promoting routes in Scotland that are fragile and need care as a ride to do without a care

    they simply don’t understand ( as many folk south of the border) that right to roam entails RESPONSIBILITIES as well as rights

    AdamW
    Member

    I’ve not biked up there.

    I’m completely gormless.

    Thanks! I’ll be here all week. Try the steak!

    πŸ˜†

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    If it’s that fragile, surely people shouldn’t be walking there either?

    As TJ says above thats why you can’t walk out the building if you get the funicular up, it keeps the numbers of morons down as only people keen enough to start from the bottom will make it there.

    Bit dissapointed to hear about this article, given the amount of amazing riding in the area it seems odd they chose to feature the only area of fragile sub-arctic environment in the UK.

    There are many papers come to that conclusion too

    Do you ahve a linky for these? Quite interested in this.

    CaptJon
    Member

    Multiple comparisons test results showed that horses and hikers (hooves and feet) made more sediment available [for erosion] than wheels (motorcycles and off-road bicycles) and that this effect was most pronounced on prewetted trails.

    http://www.jstor.org/pss/3673739

    TheBrick
    Member

    The brick – many papers? Actually try to find a few.

    I have that’s why I typed what I typed. Looked into it a while a go and the ones that compared walking and cycling concluded broadly equal erosion, with bike sometime showing less erosion.

    I once followed the references that people use to state that bicycles don’t cause erosion

    I never claimed bikes did not cause erosion, that would be like claiming walking dose not cause erosion.

    The best paper seemed to be this one.

    Journal of Environmental management 91 (2010) 551-562

    As it considered that there are different types of riding and hence different erosions levels and hence over all conclusions of bike always cause less / equal / more than walking but it dose allow for the fact that if you are not riding around skidding e.t.c there are many case where the erosion is less or equal.

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
    Subscriber

    i think the OP has a point, there are loads of better and less sensitive places to ride, it is a bit irresponsible (but i did enjoy the article)

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