A fundraiser has been launched to kick-start plans for a “world class” sport facility in the heart of an Aberdeenshire forest.
In 2017, a feasibility study was carried out to select a preferred location for mountain bike facilities in the north-east – withDurris Forest, between Banchory and Stonehaven, selected.
Now, the charity behind the plan has launched an ambitious fundraising campaign to begin construction on the project.
Gravitate North East, established in 2015, hope to create 45km of mountain bike trails, a chairlift to transport people to the summit of Cairn Mon Earn and a swathe of snow sport facilities as well as a café and shop.
Ambitious plans also include facilities for families to go tobogganing, ziplining, climbing, stargazing and more.
A fundraising campaign has now been launched to raise £150,000 during 2020, with the money raised used to fund the pre-construction phase.
Chairman of Gravitate North East, Martin Byers, said: “This fundraising campaign will take our charity to the next level during 2020.
“I’m excited to take this project through the planning phase and get one step closer to breaking ground.
“This is truly a community driven project and would not have been possible without the help of our volunteers and supporters.
“Its inspiring to see so many business, organisations and individuals get behind us.
“They believe in our vision and are committed to helping us succeed.”
Gravitate North East hope that the venue can attract thousands of visitors every year and boost the local economy significantly.
They anticipate the development bringing more than£2.5 million annually to the region’s economy as well as creating and supporting 50 full-time equivalent jobs.
And organisations such as Visit Aberdeenshire, Scottish Enterprise, Opportunity North East, Aberdeenshire Council, Scottish Cycling and SCDI have already backed the venture.
The land earmarked for the faculties is currently owned by Forestry and Land Scotland, and Gravitate North East plan to access the land via the Community Asset Transfer Scheme.
NETCO are looking to the mountain biking community for its opinion on plans for a multimillion-pound bike park at Durris Forest in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. https://t.co/V2maIa32dm pic.twitter.com/cjABm8qLTf
— MoreDirt (@moredirt) March 19, 2018
Over the coming years, they estimate the cost of the venture will be at least £8 million, and that construction could be completed by 2025.
The fundraising campaign can be found at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/Gravitate-preconstruction-2020, while more in formation is available at www.gravitatenortheast.com.
Duncan Palmer of the Aboyne Bike Park Association said: “A huge amount of action is underway to develop Aberdeenshire as a mountain biking holiday destination.
“With the development at Durris, we wanted to make sure Aboyne becomes part of that network. The expansion reflects that.”