Nevis Red, the UK's only red-graded cross country mountain bike trail accessed by mountain gondola -- and runs alongside the Fort William World Cup downhill course -- was officially opened today.
Nevis Red follows a 5.5km singletrack route that undulates and weaves its way 543m down from top to bottom, combining a mixture of infamous Fort William natural bedrock, metre-wide wooden boardwalk and gravel paths. Locals say even the fastest riders will take around 20 minutes to complete the descent.
Accessed by riders and their bikes on specially adapted carriers fitted to the UK's only mountain gondola, the trip takes riders from the Nevis Range car park at 100m to 650m up the mountain. On exiting the gondola riders follow a track to the Snowgoose chair, which in the winter transports skiers and boarders further up the snowy slopes, marks the start of the new track.
The Nevis Red route has taken over a year to build as a result of a particularly harsh Scottish winter and extreme weather hampering the diggers and small team of construction workers from Hitrack. Riders will quickly discover all the effort has been worth it as they see the trail give way to a sweeping highland mountainscape showcasing previously hidden panoramas across Lochaber - the Outdoor Capital of the UK.
"This trail was one of the most challenging to build," said trailbuilder Mark Hedderwick of Hitrack Ltd. "The weather held us back a lot. We were knee deep in snow walking up to work in November: that's what made us stop for the winter! It's certainly not an easy red to ride, but it's the kind of track you will just want to ride, ride again, and then ride again."
Sportscotland invested £77,050 of Scottish Government money in Nevis Red, adding to its previous investment in the Nevis Range.
For more information, visit http://bike.nevisrange.co.uk.