Bike Trossachs, a local community interest company has announced that as of Spring 2021, it will be launching Gravelfoyle, the new destination tourism brand for the area, with the aim of promoting Aberfoyle as Scotland’s premier Gravel Cycling destination.
Enda McLoughlin for Bike Trossachs, said: “With the growing success of Aberfoyle as a cycling destination and gravel riding in particular we want to harness the success and incredible offering that this area offers cyclists and create a collective vision for the future of our hometown.”
The village of Aberfoyle, located on the edge of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, within easy reach of Stirling, Glasgow, Perth and Edinburgh, is already a hotspot for Gravel Riding. Within just a 12km radius of the village there is a network of over 200km of off-road, multi-surface forestry tracks and trails, gravel roads and paths.
The Spring launch of Gravelfoyle will feature the opening of three new waymarked routes – 10km, 20km, 30km. The three routes, starting and finishing in the centre of Aberfoyle, explore Loch Ard, Loch Chon and venture deep into the Loch Ard Forest.
Neil Christison, Regional Director, VisitScotland, said: “It’s great to see the development of the Gravelfoyle trails, which will offer an exciting new draw for visitors to the region, in turn generating positive benefits for local businesses. The trails will also provide excellent opportunities for wellbeing and responsible travel by connecting people with Loch Ard’s stunning landscapes.
“The gravel riding available in Aberfoyle is world-class, and this development will further the area’s profile as a destination for both novice and experienced cyclists. This comes at an exciting time for cycle tourism in Scotland, just a few years out from Glasgow and Scotland playing host to the inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships in 2023.”
Partnership and collaboration are at the heart of the Gravelfoyle brand. Funding for the first three waymarked trails has come from Forth Valley and Lomond LEADER, Forestry and Land Scotland, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park and The Strathard Development Trust, which have all committed to providing support for the future development of access infrastructure.
The Gravelfoyle brand has been born out of the hugely successful and community backed Dukes Weekender, an annual family friendly weekend cycling festival based in Aberfoyle.
The success of the annual Dukes Weekender event in promoting the high-quality gravel trails in the local forests has also resulted in a huge increase in cyclists visiting Aberfoyle to ride the local trails over the last three years. It has been one of the catalysts to a resurgence in the local economy and a recent boom for local businesses.
Stu Thomson, local rider and one of the team behind Dukes Weekender, said: “It’s been incredible to watch the explosion of gravel riding along with other areas of cycling in the Aberfoyle area over the last few years. The massive amount of gravel roads and trails available within a short distance of the village makes it a unique and wonderful destination for all levels of rider, especially when you combine it with such a beautiful backdrop of the lochs and mountains of the National Park. The local community have been massively supportive and the team at Gravelfoyle and Bike Trossachs have some fantastic plans in the pipeline that will bring benefits to all over the next few years. As a local resident and rider of all disciplines in cycling it’s a really exciting time!”
Jason Clark, Cycle Tourism Officer for Forth Valley & Lomond Leader, said: “FVLL is delighted to support the development of these trails around Aberfoyle with a significant funding contribution. It’s an exciting and ambitious project which will enhance Aberfoyle’s reputation as a gravel riding destination and cycling hub for all, bringing significant economic benefits to both local businesses and communities.”