The wheels are in motion to boost Scotland’s standing as a destination for mountain-cycling tourists, and the Borders looks set to be among the biggest beneficiaries of a £185,000 handout announced this week.
That funding was pledged by Scottish Government tourism secretary Fiona Hyslop during a visit to Glentress, near Peebles, on Tuesday.
The extra investment promised has been welcomed by Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame and Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for business and economic development, Mark Rowley.
Ms Grahame said: “I’m delighted to welcome this investment by the Scottish Government.
“I’ve been to Glentress many times over the years and have seen it grow, offering more and more tracks of varying difficulty and skill in a stunning landscape.
“Its reputation in the world of mountain biking means it’s a real asset to the area, attracting lots of people into Tweeddale and thereafter into the wider Scottish Borders and spreading economic benefits.
“This investment recognises the contribution such centres make and will help it further realise its potential in the coming years.”
Mid Berwickshire councillor Mr Rowley added: “The Scottish Borders’ landscape provides a stunning and challenging setting for mountain biking and a whole range of sports, and it’s so easily accessible from the central belt and the north of England too.
“Action to increase participation and improve facilities for the sport to grow in the Borders is really welcome, and visitors will find a ready welcome from the Borders’ increasingly-vibrant tourism sector.
“Cycling products and innovation have huge growth potential, so Scottish Borders Council is working hard with a range of our partners to ensure that the Borders, such a natural base for biking excellence, is at the heart of all that innovation and development.”
Ms Hyslop, MSP for Linlithgow, said: “Scotland has much to offer those who want to enjoy physical, exhilarating challenges in a beautiful setting, and the Tourism Scotland 2020 Strategy highlights the growth potential of adventure tourism.
“By using our natural terrain and the expertise of organisations such as the Mountain Bike Consortium, we can further develop mountain-biking opportunities to grow the sector and attract even more visitors, particularly to our rural areas such as Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders.
“This funding, alongside the strategy it supports, will unlock a number of benefits, getting people more active and increasing the economic contribution of mountain biking to Scotland.
“It is particularly timely as we build up to hosting the Union Cycliste Internationale Cycling World Championships in 2023, the first time all 13 cycling disciplines will be held in one place at one time.”
According to recent research, the gross value added impact of the mountain bike industry on the Scottish economy amounted to £105m in 2015 and could potentially increase to £158m by 2025.