What's the Craik?

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  • What's the Craik?
  • hodgynd
    Member

    Going to Craik Forest near Hawick in the Scottish Borders tomorrow with my mate..
    I know there used to be a bit of an mtb ‘scene’ there ..its somewhere I have never visited before ..although Colin has and really likes the place…
    Any pointers / routes from anyone out there ..?
    Cheers

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    We went there and tried to follow the waymarked route, closures and missing signage made that all a bit of a fiasco but it’s a really nice forest, especially compared to the usual FC haunted shitey sitka. No idea what’s going on there now but it seemed pretty much forgotten.

    hodgynd
    Member

    So I’m led to believe ..it more of an explore than anything else and I’m not expecting anything mind blowing ..but as it’s just over the border and I’ve never been it’s a scratch I need to itch ..

    hodgynd
    Member

    Even an itch I need to scratch 😆

    Premier Icon jeffl
    Subscriber

    Don’t know the area but Strava heatmap is always a good start when researching a new spot.

    hodgynd
    Member

    Cheers Jeffl..
    I’m not on Strava ..but had a look on trailforks …with no success..I guess we will find out soon enough ..

    Premier Icon jeffl
    Subscriber

    Don’t have to be on Strava to look at the heatmap https://labs.strava.com/heatmap/

    Most of that heatmap is me and the guys I ride with. Craik is OK. FCS are trying to run it down so signage is missing. We use it mainly as a place to keep the legs ticking over. It has great potential but…..

    hodgynd
    Member

    Have I just had a glimpse into the future when the money runs out..?
    That’s the feeling that I got yesterday after visiting this place and it’s a great shame as the singletrack that is in place is terrific fun but the lack of love for the place is plain to see ..no signage on what were way-marked trails ( as previously mentioned in posts above ) and 2 short sections of woodwork which have been closed ..interrupting the flow of the trail ..when all it would take is a little bit of chicken wire and less than an hours labour on each to satisfy the FC’s stringent H&S rules ..the woodwork itself is structurally sound.
    When it gets to that stage then there really is no hope !
    Thankfully Colin had been before so had a reasonable idea as to where to go and we had a really nice pootle about ..I was really impressed with the singletrack off Crib Law ..nothing too technically challenging but it goes on and on and is great reward for the climbing it takes to get there.
    Onehundredthidiot..please keep using this place ..we noticed a few tyre tracks and it would be a real shame if nature claimed it back ..with the surrounding tracks and drove roads there is real potential ..which unfortunately will probably now never be realised ..but we will be back again for a longer ride & explore in the summer.
    Which will be the next trail centre to die? ..Winter is coming!( Jon Snow)

    This is bullshit..( see comments above)

    20180110_135507 by Neil HodgsonFlickr2BBcode LITE

    20180110_140609 by Neil HodgsonFlickr2BBcode LITE

    20180110_140629 by Neil HodgsonFlickr2BBcode LITE

    Colin.

    20180110_110915 by Neil HodgsonFlickr2BBcode LITE
    Living on the edge ..

    20180110_130008 by Neil HodgsonFlickr2BBcode LITE

    20180110_130017 by Neil HodgsonFlickr2BBcode LITE
    The icicle works ..

    20180110_132133 by Neil HodgsonFlickr2BBcode LITE

    20180110_133535 by Neil HodgsonFlickr2BBcode LITE

    20180110_133641 by Neil HodgsonFlickr2BBcode LITE

    Yeah saw your tracks last night. We’re trying to get fcs to hand the trails over to a community groups but they’re not playing. The forest is well used but relatively quiet.
    There may be a few wee trails following animal runs that give challenge and there’s plenty of scope but no money or inclination to spread the 7 stanes love to craik.

    Sounds like the perfect opportunity for the local bikers to ‘craik on’ and build for themselves.

    Build away from walkers paths, keep it sensible, enjoy.

    Life’s too short to wait on FC.

    Premier Icon ChrisL
    Subscriber

    hodgynd – Member
    ..when all it would take is a little bit of chicken wire and less than an hours labour on each to satisfy the FC’s stringent H&S rules ..the woodwork itself is structurally sound.

    While resurfacing the woodwork itself would be an easy task, doing so would require the area’s MTB rangers inspect them once a month. That’s the FC’s rules – a trail containing built features (i.e. woodwork) requires monthly inspection.

    My impression is that Craik ended up spreading limited MTB resources too thin so the FC has backed away from managing its trails. By removing the waymarking and decommissioning the woodwork they presumably absolve themselves of their duty of care for the trails (at least bureaucratically).

    onehundredthidiot – Member
    Yeah saw your tracks last night. We’re trying to get fcs to hand the trails over to a community groups but they’re not playing.

    That sounds like it could be a way forward, it’s a pity that the FC aren’t engaging with it.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    hodgynd – Member

    all it would take is a little bit of chicken wire and less than an hours labour on each to satisfy the FC’s stringent H&S rule

    That wouldn’t satisfy their rules- as ChrisL says the problem is ongoing maintenance and inspection. Especialyl for chicken wire, which is rubbish You’ve probably noticed everyone’s moving away from it. But grip paint doesn’t work at all on wet wood (ie existing features) and grip plates only work in strong wood and are a lot more time consuming (because they have to be cut to fit. And at the end of the day, rider volume means that spending an hour at Craik has a similiar cost benefit to spending a lot of hours elsewhere.

    Realistically,what we’ve been doing with the FC is just finding alternatives to wood. Often it can just be removed. Basically most of the time it was either to add a feature, or it was a quick easy way to fix a problem rather than doing it right (with a dug stream splash or similiar)

    The real problem is their inability to deal with community groups tbh.

    hodgynd
    Member

    Yep.. I’m more than aware of dealings with the F.C ( I was a fairly active trail builder with Kielder Trail Reavers) and I know that chicken wire is not a preferred option ..I was part of the team that fitted gripper plates to woodwork on twist & shout ..( and also helped on the bypass section built last year )
    I maybe should have known the frequency that a ranger had to check on these features ..but didn’t realise it was monthly .
    FYI..if you are familiar with The Lonesome Pine Trail at Kielder you will know that there is extensive woodwork on that section..that also will be allowed to run into disrepair..with no further maintenance planned ..which given the amount of money it took to build it in the first place seems a criminal waste ( as other flagged out sections had to be scrapped because of lack of budget).
    What happens in the future is anyone’s guess ..but funding for trail centres run by the FC has almost certainly reached its peak ..and we are now on the slippery slope on the other side..

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Yup- they have no money for trails basically, everything is done on a shoestring or on special budget allocations.

    Lonesome Pine always feels like maybe they all woke up the day after and said “well, what did we do that for?” 😆

    Premier Icon ChrisL
    Subscriber

    The inspection requirements for woodwork was a major reason why the little bridges were removed from Broon Troot at Glentress. I think that shifted its formal inspection requirements from monthly to yearly! Presumably removing the waymarking for a trail reduces its inspection requirements too.

    As Northwind says, the FC are not provided many resources for MTB trails these days. There’s 1.5 MTB Rangers for the Tweed Valley, for example.

    Premier Icon wonny j
    Subscriber

    I remember seeing the NPS XC and DH events at craik in the late 1990s. It was pretty wet and desolate but the racing was good with hundreds of riders. The dh was gnarly.

    Shame that the fc situation has recently deteriorated but then again it’s more isolated than Newcastleton.

    hodgynd
    Member

    I think you probably hit the nail on the head there wonny ..still a shame though .

    I go there on my cx and ‘grind gravel’ never really looked for the mtb trails, will have to try and find some

    hodgynd
    Member

    Head up to Crib Law and you will probably stumble across some ( terrific descent )

    bajsyckel
    Member

    Nice pics hodgy – with this and your Ros Castle and Wark threads it looks like you’re doing a tour of places I haven’t been for years.

    Should really get over to Craik again as I used to go back in the day before all the 7 stanes were developed and became the centre of the known universe. Has anyone got a link to a strava route that makes the most of things as they currently are?

    hodgynd
    Member

    I didn’t make use of the heatmap link earlier in the thread ..but its up the page if you look.. 😉

    mwg58
    Member

    When NPS were held had a really supportive Forest Ranger who stayed in Craik Village nothing was out of bounds but H and S was not such a big deal then and Forest Rangers were old school who had come up through F C for years ,all that changed when more university graduates started.

    bajsyckel
    Member

    I didn’t make use of the heatmap link earlier in the thread ..but its up the page if you look..

    Cheers – Having used heat map in the past I know that some of the traces that show up are seemingly an idiot like me following another clueless fool looking for something long lost that may or may not exist, ridden, carried or crawled along by some unknown 😉 . But better than nothing sometimes.

    Thing about places like craik is they are armoured trails but it’s overgrown through years of no maintenance. There was a ranger lived in the village and he hunts so kept lots of the walking and biking routes clear until he got a telling off as clear routes effectively encouraged others to roam. The reason we want community involvement is to get a little of the tweed Valley effect, both in bringing folk to the southern borders and getting the council to spend some cash on infrastructure here for cycling.

    Premier Icon grey
    Subscriber

    Think I’ll put it on the list for a visit this year 🙂

    Looking forward to having an explore round here now. Was planning to pass through last summer but didn’t happen in the end. Planning to head up for an overnighter with some of the Bearbones crew in March (waves at restlessnative).

    @thenorthwind (waves back) final bit of gravel recce next weekend hopefully!

    If you wanna work some singletrack, that’s fine by me!

    Hi all .back in the day mark Brandon RIP and Jamie Lawson we’re building DH trails that were way before there time.only for someone to come dumb them down.
    There used to be national xc and DH events on same weekend. Marks brother Paul told me the death Nell for craik was when the first wind farm was denied planning permission. They had offered to blast a direct route of the A7 to craik. That would have made craik more accessible and worthy of investment. It’s a bastard of a road to get too and FC don’t want bike trails there. Kudos to the Hawick boys for sounding FC out .the just wanted to run the place down.im sure there’s some.local activity on trail building but I fear too much interest will have a negative effect .

    Forgot to say I witnessed Crawford Carrick Anderson ask the Marshall if there was any rule against starting further back than the start line ! Sounds daft but the start line had a wee drop off 2 metres from start line. Crawfy had figured out he could launch it ! The look on the Marshalls face when he cleaned it was super

    Sorry if I’m being rude .Im not on STW often as it turned a bit well **** .

    So I’m taking and I’m guessing I probably know a few of the post owners above

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Nice cross race 😆

    I could be wrong but I suspect the best thing for riding at craik, would be for the FC to forget it exists- they definitely can’t resource it, and they’re very cagy about official volunteering so if it were to fall off their radar entirely it’d maybe open up options.

    I’ve certainly seen wider tyres in cross races!

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