Being based in Sheffield, we're lucky to have plenty of awesome riding close at hand. Cut Gate in the Dark Peak is one of those all-time classic routes, but it's suffering a bit and we now have an opportunity to help.
We're also lucky to have a strong mtb community in Sheffield and the Peak District, with plenty of local riders being engaged in two advocacy groups: Ride Sheffield and Peak District MTB. What that means is we've got a team of people working hard to represent riders to the authorities, land owners and other user groups; that counts for a lot. And it's a two-way street because often, there's an issue that we as riders need to be aware of, and we have a mechanism in place to get the word out.
Keeper of the Peak is a twitter feed (follow @KoftheP) for riders in the Peak District. After a ride, riders send in details of where they’ve been and what kind of condition the path was in, then we share it with everyone else. Everyone then gets a live(ish) update on the Peak District paths.
The Bog Of Doom
In a way, Cut Gate is a victim of it's own success. It gets a fair bit of traffic from all user groups, and as a result it's in a bad way. If you've ever tried to ride it in wet weather - and that's a lot of the time - you'll have come across the Bog Of Doom:
It's not pretty, it's not much fun to ride and as people try to avoid it, the path is widening and seriously damaging the moorland. If you're local, you know to avoid Cut Gate when it's in bad shape, and in that way we can minimise the damage. There are plenty of other places to ride. If you're not local, you can always check @KoftheP for an update. But at some point, it needs maintenance and that's where the Mend Our Mountains campaign comes in.
We haven't been involved in putting this together, but as a local company and local riders we feel it's important to do our bit to spread the word and to help raise some funds to fix Cut Gate up for everyone.
The project aims to sensitively reinforce the path with minimal impact on the landscape and the character of the trail. The aim is to raise £75,000 to complete important work on the top boggy sections, commonly known as the Bog of Doom. The path is an iconic ‘classic’ in the outdoors community. Loved by mountain bikers, walkers, horse riders, fell runners and many more. But it’s also fragile and struggling to cope with the amount of users it has.
The trail is widening, affecting the peat moorlands which make it a destination for thousands. Led by Moors for the Future and the Peak District National Park, Cut Gate will be one of the top projects earmarked for fundraising in the BMC’s campaign. The Peak District National Park has also succeeded in getting the Great Ridge on to the list; one of only two national parks with two backed projects.
“It’s brilliant to get Cut Gate backed by the BMC. This was an issue identifed by the mountain biking community and driven forward by them in collaboration with other user groups. The mountain biking community has led this drive and now to have it picked up by the BMC’s brilliant national campaign is recognition of how effectively they’ve done things so far.” Si Bowns, Ride Sheffield
And it’s a big campaign. This year, the BMC aims to Make One Million in the Mend Our Mountains campaign and are seeking donations from individuals and companies large and small.
Access and Rights of Way Manager for the Peak District Mike Rhodes said “The Mend Our Mountains, Make One Million campaign is a fantastic opportunity for The Peak District National Park to work with partners to raise vital funds for path repair work on The Great Ridge and at Cut Gate. Just as important is working with user groups including Peak District MTB, Ride Sheffield and Keeper of the Peak, to raise awareness of the challenges of looking after the recreational landscape and foster a sense of collective public responsibility”.
“It’s down to us now,” says Chris Maloney, Keeper of the Peak and PDMTB committee member, “We’ve already shown that we’re realistic and pragmatic about our impact on the places we ride - now it’s time to literally put our money where our mouth is and dig deep - into our pockets at first of course!"
“We want to hear from anyone who can back the campaign, in any way. We want to hear from companies or individuals - anything you can do to help sensitively protect this iconic trail for future generations is massively welcome.”
The groups have a number of different ways you can support the campaign, but if you want to simply donate, then please click on the link below. It will make a difference.