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New Innerleithen Chairlift Campaign

New Group Forms to Pursue the Dream of the UK’s First Purpose Built Mountain Bike Chairlift at Innerleithen

A new action group has formed to pursue the dream of building a chairlift and bike park at the renowned mountain biking venue of Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders.  At the moment riders have to push their bikes up the hill on most days, before they can get their burst of adrenalin as they descend the famous downhill courses.  The group want to create a 21st century facility for mountain bikers of all abilities, and to consolidate Innerleithen as a world-class mountain biking venue.

Wouldn’t it be great if Inners had something like this? Even better with the blue skies too.

The group has adopted the name AIMUp (short for Action on the Innerleithen Mechanical Uplift).

AIMUp is comprised of local businesses, mountain bikers, and residents of the local communities of Innerleithen, Traquair, Walkerburn and Cardrona, united in their desire to bring this development to the Tweed Valley.

A project to build such a facility has been discussed for many years, and a feasibility study funded by Scottish Enterprise was completed in 2008.  The group came together when progress seemed to have stalled on the project.  A Facebook page was started to encourage residents and supporters to write to the Scottish Borders Council, urging them to support further development of the plan.  Following a public meeting, it became clear that the community was prepared to take a more ‘hands on’ approach, and to take responsibility for its own future.

Possible route, taken from FaceBook

The group has received strong public support, both from residents, mountain bikers and from the ‘Future Innerleithen’ community study in which the idea of the uplift and developing mountain biking was the second priority.

AIMUp has set itself an objective to ‘promote mountain biking on Minch Moor, Plora Craig and Plora Rig by building a mechanical uplift and creating the Innerleithen bike park owned and run for the benefit of the local community’.

Several meetings have already been held and a plan is starting to be developed to build on the current facilities whilst building the case for the mechanical uplift.  This would see the community making the most of the bus based uplift, enhancing the range of riding available in the locality, improving links with the town itself, and potentially working with other parties to establish a base station with cafes, shops, and teaching and coaching facilities for example.  The group has also met with Jeremy Purvis MSP, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Borders Council, and are encouraged by the support that has been voiced for the aims and objectives.  Plenty of work behind the scenes continues as the plan is being developed in discussion with numerous bodies and individuals.

AIMUp plans to showcase their plans to the local community by holding a display during the ceremony to turn on Innerleithen’s Christmas lights on December 12th.  To get involved contact the group via the Facebook page ‘Support the Innerleithen Uplift’ .

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