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Forestry commission apologises for 'unsuccessful' resurfacing of National Cycle Route in Scotland

National Cycle Network 1 is now a mess of treacherous large stones, says cyclist

A cyclist who complained about the resurfacing of the Scottish National Cycle Network has won an apology from the Forestry Commission for the work.

Donald Baddon, 55, from Broughty Ferry, said the NCN Route 1 between Tayport and Tentsmuir was now comprised of large stones, which made his route “treacherous”.

He told the Evening Telegraph: “My wife and I were coming along the route the other day and it was like the bedding of a railway line.

“I think it runs for about five or six miles — it’s a fairly substantial stretch.

“It was much better before — I can’t believe they did this and thought it looked right.”

He added: “I ride a road bike so it was treacherous for me. My wife has a commuter bike with wider tyres but even she was really struggling to use the path.

“Other cyclists and runners have been complaining as well. It’s part of the NCN route so you really need to be able to pass it by bike.”

NCN Route 1 is one of the UK’s longest cycling routes, stretching from Dover to the Shetland Islands.

Hamish Murray, of Forest Enterprise Scotland’s team in Tayside, said: “The route through the forest has for a long time been made up of soft sand that hampered access for our vehicle and for the emergency vehicles which are called out to incidents.

“The design of the upgrade did initially provide a smooth rolling surface but unusually dry and windy conditions in spring prevented the surface from consolidating properly.

“Unfortunately, our recent attempts to correct this have not been successful.

“We are working with Sustrans to come up with a solution for this problem, and it is our intention to create the smooth quality expected for a multi-use path.

“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience that this has caused.”

Last month we reported how a fresh petition was launched highlighting the danger posed to cyclists by so-called ‘scraping’ – the practice by some local authorities of dressing road surfaces with gravel chippings, rather than resurfacing them.

The charity Cycling UK, however, says it is unaware of any increase in its use, but has asked cyclists to let them know if that has happened in their own areas.

The petition was launched by Danny Shafrir on the website 38 degrees (link is external), where he wrote:

    Over the last few months and weeks, local roads and lanes around the country have been scraped instead of resurfaced.

    The government claims, it is more cost-effective way to maintaining roads. This policy has created highly dangerous conditions for thousands of cyclists who uses these roads and lanes, whether commuting to work, leisure rides or staying fit.

    The loose gravely surface is highly slippery and damn right dangerous, especially in rain, during descents and while turning.

    How is this policy compatible with policies such as, cycle to work, reducing air pollution, safe space for cycling?

    This could lead most cyclists on to using main roads with fast moving traffic or avoid riding all together. This policy must be reversed!

 

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11 comments

Avatar
Beecho | 6 years ago
1 like

I wouldn't take a horse down some of the NCN I've seen.

Avatar
burtthebike | 6 years ago
1 like

What are they apologising for?  It's well up to the standard of the rest of the NCN.

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Christopher TR1 | 6 years ago
2 likes

Tarmac. Simple.

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Edgeley | 6 years ago
1 like

Round here, in Oxfordshire,  we have NCNs which are coated in gravel, coated in mud, which have 4 inch leaps onto bridges.   Sustrans role as a rubber-stamper of appalling provision in full evidence.

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wycombewheeler | 6 years ago
0 likes

Ncn5 in princes risborough is a muddy track best ridden on a mountain bike and a road with such a steep gradient only hardened roadies would attempt it within about a mile.

I really wonder who this 'route' is aimed at.

Avatar
Man of Lard | 6 years ago
4 likes
Quote:

“We are working with Sustrans to come up with a solution for this problem, and it is our intention to create the smooth quality expected for a multi-use path.

Who is expecting smooth quality on an NCN? They need to look at the bit of NCN68 between Wooler & Norham and NCN1 between Berwick & Holy Island - both are barely passable on a mountain bike due to encroaching vegetation, erosion, poor drainage, obstacles, cattle grids, ...

Avatar
oldstrath replied to Man of Lard | 6 years ago
2 likes
Man of Lard wrote:
Quote:

“We are working with Sustrans to come up with a solution for this problem, and it is our intention to create the smooth quality expected for a multi-use path.

Who is expecting smooth quality on an NCN? They need to look at the bit of NCN68 between Wooler & Norham and NCN1 between Berwick & Holy Island - both are barely passable on a mountain bike due to encroaching vegetation, erosion, poor drainage, obstacles, cattle grids, ...

I think nobody currently expects it, but really we should expect it, indeed demand it.

Avatar
exilegareth replied to Man of Lard | 6 years ago
0 likes
Man of Lard wrote:
Quote:

“We are working with Sustrans to come up with a solution for this problem, and it is our intention to create the smooth quality expected for a multi-use path.

Who is expecting smooth quality on an NCN? They need to look at the bit of NCN68 between Wooler & Norham and NCN1 between Berwick & Holy Island - both are barely passable on a mountain bike due to encroaching vegetation, erosion, poor drainage, obstacles, cattle grids, ...

Cyclists regularly flag up NCN 1 between Berwick and Holy Island as a disaster zone; last week I was at a planning site visit at the Spittal end, and watched two cyclists on tourers ride up the tarmac strip by Spittal Beach, take one look at what awaited them and turn back.

Avatar
recurs | 6 years ago
2 likes

This is the case with many of the NCRs. I've been on a few were there were sudden changes in road surface without warning or the option to jump off of the route onto a road.

Because the different routes vary so much in their road surfaces, I wish there was some sort of simple graphic notation on all of the signs that let you know whether the section you were entering was passable by a road bike (paved), touring/cross/commuter bike (smooth dirt) or mountain bike (loose gravel/rough).

Avatar
CanAmSteve | 6 years ago
2 likes

I might add that the last time I rode through Savernake Forest -also a National Cycle Route (403) - the surface was only acceptable for MTBs. It would appear NCR designation is the quivalent of blue paint - just saying it's a bike route doesn't make it a bike route

Avatar
oldstrath replied to CanAmSteve | 6 years ago
6 likes
CanAmSteve wrote:

I might add that the last time I rode through Savernake Forest -also a National Cycle Route (403) - the surface was only acceptable for MTBs. It would appear NCR designation is the quivalent of blue paint - just saying it's a bike route doesn't make it a bike route

That seems standard for NCR routes - a mix of badly surfaced tracks and dangerous minor roads. The contrast with Dutch practice is horrid

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