General News

Cathkin Braes Country Park What happens now...

Share on Facebook  Share on Twitter

Published: 31st July, 2014

After the excitement of the 2014 Commonwealth Games on tuesday 29th July you may be wondering, whats next for the infamous Cathkin Braes Country Park? Now you can ride it for yourself.

The facility, developed by Glasgow City Council, is the city’s first international standard mountain biking course and will remain as part of the legacy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. It will not only provide a venue capable of staging future international events but will also be a facility that will benefit people from the surrounding area and visitors alike.

Because of its location close to the city centre, it provides easy access for residents and for elite athletes – as well as some of the most stunning views over Glasgow and beyond.

Local communities have been involved in the creation of the 5.6km course with eight of its key features being named by local schoolchildren from Glasgow and South Lanarkshire – the neighbouring local authorities in which the park lies.

Their winning entries included:
  • Propeller Point for the area where athletes will pass close to a wind turbine
  • Double Dare to describe the twisting downhill two-lane track where cyclists will overtake each other
  • Boulder dash, a creek crossing
  • Broken biscuits, a rough rocky stretch of track and
  • Clyde Climb, a long uphill track (dimensions needed). 

Other challenges along the course include Braveheart a curved and steep downhill drop. Construction of the course was underway in early 2013. Glasgow City Council and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee worked closely with Phil Saxena, the world renown mountain bike course designer, to ensure suitability for international competition, achieving the design standards expected by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).

More than 10,000 people had bought tickets to witness the action up close as the athletes smash the course, which forms a figure of eight. The men completed seven laps to the finishing line and the women five.

David Grevemberg, Glasgow 2014 Chief Executive, said: 
“Mountain biking offers a fantastic opportunity to get more people involved in cycling through the inspiration of seeing some of the worlds’ best cyclists at the Commonwealth Games. The Cathkin Braes course will be used for years to come by riders of all ages and experience, making it one of many of the tangible benefits the Games will leave for local communities.”

Cabinet Secretary Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison said: 

“Scotland is one of the best places in the world for mountain biking and the excellent facilities at Cathkin Braes will help create a lasting legacy for Glasgow and the rest of the country. As well as getting people active the course can attract future competitions and help develop the sport and raise its profile. We are about to see some fantastic mountain bike action at the Commonwealth Games, with great trails across Scotland, anyone inspired by what they see is a short journey from an exciting course to suit their ability.”

Councillor Archie Graham, Executive Member for the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow City Council, said:
"The Mountain Biking competition will bring more memorable sport to the Games, and provide another new striking perspective of Glasgow for spectators and vieers.  Team Scotland has done fantastically well on the track so far at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, and I am sure the achievements of all the cyclists on the various surfaces will inspire Glaswegians to use our fantastic new facilities and enjoy a sporting legacy from the Games."

Councillor Eddie McAvoy, Leader of South Lanarkshire Council said:
“We are looking forward to the Commonwealth Games experience at Cathkin at what will be an exciting event. Good luck to everyone competing in the mountain bike challenge.”

Cathkin Braes Country Park covers 199 hectares (493 acres) and is a site of importance for nature conservation. It extends from Blairbeth Golf Course in the east to Windlaw Farm in the west and has a wide range of local habitats includes marsh, heath, scrub, grassland, hedgerows and ancient woodlands. Last summer, Cathkin Braes hosted the British National Champs and in April the Scottish Champs.

Course Features:

Propeller Point

This features is designed to create multiple line options where technical trail features are in parallel pairs to allow easier overtaking. Riders with more technical ability will be awarded with the chance to overtake slower riders on these features.

Unless there is a suitable width or a different line available, then on most sections of the trail it may be very difficult for a more skilled rider to gain enough of an advantage over one feature.

These sections allow a small increase in technical skill, over a small distance, to be rewarded.

Double dare

This section runs down the open hillside of the north facing slopes of Cathkin Braes overlooking the City of Glasgow. It is a 200m section of double trail that snakes down the hill towards the Maureen Cope Community Centre in Castlemilk. 

Beginning from the Big Wood at the top of the hill, this section drops down a small bank before splitting into two identical parallel tracks. The first corners head right, with berms taking riders out of the thick bracken onto the open grass, from here the tracks head left over a natural bedrock outcrop. Heading back into the bracken again the trails snake right and left using any natural bedrock as a technical riding surface. 

Identical bermed corners keep the two tracks the same speed so there will be no advantage to either track. Seven corners lead riders down towards the community centre where the two tracks merge and become a single trail again.

Clyde Climb

This section traverses the open hillside before gradually climbing towards the transmitter area.

Using grade reversals and natural undulations the trail flows along the hillside incorporating a short natural bedrock technical climb and a small stream. Being the main climb on the course this section will favour the fittest of riders.

Rest and be thankful

This technical trail section is located at the end of the long ‘Clyde Climb’ giving it a
sting in the tail for riders climbing up to the transmitter plateau at the top. Riders will wish that they had wings to get them up this switch-back climb.

Following a short rest on the flat section of the top plateau, riders then have a choice of three lines to drop down to the lower plateau. The shortest route comprises a double drop- off with a tight turn however.

The less technically gifted rider can swing wide, but could lose their race position. The worse the off camber technique, the higher the time penalty. From there, it is then through a narrow gulley to the upper plateau, before immediately dropping down a steep bank and looping round to the woodland above.

Broken biscuits

This section of trail has been designed to create multiple line options where a shorter, more technical route will be awarded with a time saving. 

It contains a number of drop offs and exposed bedrock sections. The whole section undulates naturally with sections of exposed bedrock already existing in places.

The jouk

A berm is a banked and curved cornering feature on a trail that facilitates a change in direction in a smooth manner. A berm allows the user to maintain speed while cornering.

A ‘Moderate’ difficulty (Blue) graded berm will be generally open and shallow with more difficult berms encompassing tighter angles, steeper surfaces and higher entrance speeds. The speed at which a berm is ridden increases with rider skill and experience.

This section of the Big Wood has several berms, with ‘A’ and ‘B’ lines at technical features.

Brig O’Doom

First the trail twists and turns up against a 2m high rock outcrop, then across a causeway over the burn with a tight turn before being faced with sharp ris, forcing riders to kick hard or stumble in the gulley.

Finally the rider have a water splash through the burn.

Boulder dash

To be created in this naturally bowl shaped area of the heathland, the surface of the causeway will be constructed from rock boulders or large flagstones rather than crushed stone.

Riders will need appropriate momentum to navigate this feature, which may feature small steps or small drop-offs, demanding advanced bike control skills.

Click any of the images below for a larger view / slideshow

More on the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014 XC Mountain Bike:
Event Calendar Listing

Advertise your business/event here »