The eagerly-awaited Coolaney and Gortin mountain bike trails centres are nearing completion, in what will create a combined trail network of almost 30 kilometres.
While official opening dates are not yet certain, Sligo’s Coolaney and Tyrone’s Gortin centres both confirmed that they are in the latter snagging stages of their current builds and are pushing hard to have the ribbon cut in the near future.
The news comes following the recent opening of phase one of Slieve Bloom Mountain Bike trails in Laois/Offaly at Christmas.
“We’re getting tons of messages wondering when the mountain bike centre will be opening and the truth is, we don’t know at the moment but we are trying our best to get a confirmed date!” wrote Coolaney on their Facebook page.
“There are still snags going on and the trails are still being finished off at the moment and access is closed. We will let everyone know asap!”
Coolaney had hoped for a Christmas opening but Storm Elsa had other ideas resulting ideas with up to 100 fallen trees severely hampering progress.
This phase 1 build will see 16.5 kilometres of trail delivered with a mixture of blue, red and black. However the black will not be ready for the opening weekend.
Facilities are basic with just a carpark for now and no cafe or toilet.
However, by all accounts the open mountain views will be worth the wait.
“When this place opens it’s going to be pretty special, where on earth would you get such a raw view of the Atlantic Ocean with a ribbon trail flowing down the open mountain. Its going to be incredible!”
“Trail quality is looking great now, no flat sections, no straights, no loose gravel.”
Similarly it’s full steam ahead over at Gortin Glens outside Omagh, Tyrone.
Build begun last year on an initial 12-kilometre phase of trails in what will be a mixture of blue and red tracks.
The nature of the boggy ground has hindered the build, but things are starting to come together.
“We haven’t been given a new date for opening, but we would guess the end of February,” posted Gortin MTB club on their facebook.
“But there will be an official announcement when they are ready for use, so don’t worry.”
Gortin club membership doubles
Good news already for the area is that when the club also held their recent AGM, they practically doubled in membership numbers over 2019 for 2020.
Boosted by the new trail network, a year of regular ride-outs and youth development work – assisted by local man Kelan Grant – is in the pipeline.
“As we will soon have trails in place, we are going to really push the club this year.
“We plan to get regular ride outs and ultimately push and grow both the adult and youth element of the club.
“This club is for everyone and we really want to grow it, but to do that we need both more club members and more club officials. So if you would be interested in either please keep an eye on our Facebook page,” they added.
We’re looking forward to hearing more news in the near future. Keep digging lads!