Formed in 2002 Kelso Wheelers is a cycling club dedicated to the promotion of, and participation in, cycling and cycle sports in Kelso and the surrounding local area. The Wheelers currently has a membership of around 75 cyclists and numbers are continuing to grow due to the high profile of cycling at the London Olympics, Tour de France and most recently The Tour of Britain which included a Stage Finish at Floors Castle in Kelso.
The impact of the Tour of Britain in September 2015 played a big part in showing off the beautiful Borders landscapes together with the backdrop of Floors Castle and is sure to provide a boost to tourism in the area. It is hugely important to capture the interest and active participation of young riders through the provision of local facilities like these new Cycle Trails.
The Duke of Roxburghe was delighted to be able to provide consent for the Wheelers to lease Angraflats plantation on the outskirts of Kelso for an off-road cycling area which would provide improved local training facilities and encourage more people to take up the sport. All of the materials used in the constructions were sourced from Floors Forestry providing all the wood for bridges and fencing. Blinkbonny Quarry four miles from the site provided all stone and whin dust for the trails, skills loop and entrance tunnel. The Quarry supplemented the secured funding by generously donating hundreds of tonnes of material.
The main funder for the Project was Fallago Environment Fund which was able to offer a grant of almost half the total project cost. The Fallago Fund was set up by the Roxburghe Estates and EDF in order to provide funding for community and environmental based projects throughout the Borders and so far has awarded grants of over £450,000 for 22 local projects. It is unique in Scotland to have a windfarm supporting such a wide community in this way. Other funders included Club Sport Roxburgh, Awards for All, SBC, Charity Begins at Home, and Plexus, Kelso Community Grant Fun and other local businesses and groups.
The Duke of Roxburghe said “The Scottish Borders is Scotland’s leading cycling destination, but cycling is both about local and visitor use and we were keen to support the Kelso Wheelers in realising their aim of an off-road cycle course in Kelso. This facility will add to the attraction of cycling locally and we look forward to seeing more young people in Kelso enjoying themselves at Angraflat. Kelso Wheelers deserve great credit for getting this initiative off the ground.”
This collaborative approach by a number of organisations who generously gave their time, hard work, materials, funds and a physical location has allowed Kelso Wheelers the opportunity to set up a first class facility to promote sport, health, recreation and community. Judging by the healthy, happy faces who attended the opening in the pouring rain, it’s safe to say the cycle trails will be busy over years ahead.