On the Pentland Trail of a local cycling revolution

Left to Right -Cameron Hutchison (7), Isla Hutchison (10) (both Juniper Green Primary), Alastair McClung (Swanston Farms, the landowner of the Lothianburn site), Olivia Mitchelmore (8, Pentland Primary), Stuart Wright (Advie Properties and formerly responsible for Dobbies' development activities) and Cormac Mitchelmore (5 Pentland Primary). Photo by David Cheskin.
Left to Right -Cameron Hutchison (7), Isla Hutchison (10) (both Juniper Green Primary), Alastair McClung (Swanston Farms, the landowner of the Lothianburn site), Olivia Mitchelmore (8, Pentland Primary), Stuart Wright (Advie Properties and formerly responsible for Dobbies' development activities) and Cormac Mitchelmore (5 Pentland Primary). Photo by David Cheskin.

Two local businessmen are behind a new mountain bike trail centre that could revolutionise cycle participation in East Central Scotland.

The site for the Pentland Trail Centre is located within the boundary of the former Lothianburn Golf Course, sitting inside Pentland Hills Regional Park. The centre will offer an introduction to traffic-free cycling for kids and their families, as well as more challenging cross-country trails for Edinburgh and Midlothian’s estimated 260,000 cyclists.

The Pentland Trail Centre. Photo by David Cheskin.

The Pentland Trail Centre. Photo by David Cheskin.

The site features 10.5km of high quality and fun mountain bike trails to suit all abilities.

Other outdoor activities to suit a wide range of ages and interests are being considered for the site. These include a high ropes course, a zipline and an alpine roller luge.

Developed from a 2014 feasibility study and subsequent public consultation, the Pentland Trail Centre is an initiative of Hillend Leisure Ltd, a new company established by Alastair McClung of Swanston Farms, the landowner of the Lothianburn site, and Stuart Wright – Advie Properties and formerly responsible for Dobbies’ development activities. Both are keen mountain bikers and qualified mountain bike leaders.

Alastair said: “Our passion is to introduce mountain biking to a much wider audience, on the perfect site, right next to the city. It’s the ideal use of the old golf course site and is a perfect gateway to the rest of the Pentland Hills.”

The outdoor trail centre, occupying more than 80 per cent of the site, will be supported by a commercial development to include cafe facilities, changing facilities, relevant retail, office space and accommodation pods. It will be located in the valley to the rear of the Steading Inn and between the northern slopes of the Pentland Regional Park and the central ridge that runs from the old golf clubhouse up to the woods.

Alastair added: “By introducing a commercial element the project can move from a vision to reality.”

Proposals for the Pentland Trail Centre will be presented at an open public consultation next Tuesday (March 5) at Swanston Golf Clubhouse, between 2pm and 7pm.

The aims of the Pentland Trail Centre project have been supported by Scottish Cycling as the ideal development to improve cycling participation, with good traffic free trails easily accessible from Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Graeme McLean, project manager for developing mountain biking at Scottish Cycling, said: “We look forward to being involved in the consultation process for the new Pentland Trail Centre development; and to understand further how it is going to increase participation in mountain biking.”