Pupils’ bike skills to improve on track

Councillor Russell Imrie is joined by Beelack pupils a the opening of the new skills track

Councillor Russell Imrie is joined by Beelack pupils a the opening of the new skills track

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A new skills track for mountain bikers was officially opened at Beeslack Community High School, Penicuik, last week.

The community facility, which incorporates everything from balance beams to steps, double humps and jumps, has been laid round the wooded perimeter of the school grounds.

As well as cyclists, cross-country runners, walkers and tri-athletes can also use the track.

The opening was carried out by the chairman of the South East of Scotland Transport Partnership (SEStran), Midlothian West Councillor Russell Imrie (Lab).

He said: “This is a wonderful facility that not only makes cycling fun but can be enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts from across the county.

“I’m sure pupils will be getting on their bikes and racing down here within curriculum time for physical education lessons but also out with school hours.

“A huge well done to everyone who has helped with this project, including Gillian Bathgate and Dave Kenny from our roads services team and the council’s Ranger Service, members of which worked with the school to plant wildflowers to complement the track.”

The council’s criminal justice team, who work with offenders, provided the signs for the track.

After the official opening, which was attended by pupils from Beeslack High as well as Sacred Heart and Mauricewood Primary Schools, Megan Wilkinson, who came third in the Scottish Cross Country Mountain Bike championships U-14s, donned her gear to give a demonstration.

Meanwhile, the cycling charity RUTS, based at Newtongrange, was on hand to give free bike services.

Also at the opening was Grant Duncan, representing sportscotland. The national organisation helped pay for the track from its Legacy 2014 Active Places fund. The £62,000 costs were also shared by the council.

A feasibility study was carried out by Trail Perfection, which specialises in designing and maintaining trails, while the work was done by commercial landscapers Ground Control.

Mountain biking is a growth area for tourism with Scotland classed as Global Superstars by the International Mountain Biking Association. Visitors come for the purpose-built trails.