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  • Writer's pictureNaughty Northumbrian

Trail building - at the heart of the Naughty.

If you were to cast your eyes into the past, you'd find that trail building was something that nearly all mountain bikers had experience of. It was, lets say, a right of passage, a way to earn your spurs.

There have been trails in the Coquet Valley since the early 2000's, when locals had secret ribbons of single track, jumps and berms buried deep within the hills and sitka spruce plantations.

Things became more official in 2008, when Carl Davidson and Phil Grimes set up NDH, creating a fulcrum for discussions with the forestry commission to begin in a formalised way, as opposed to the guerrilla trails that had been there before.

This new access and formalised process was agreed - with the caveat that the trails are only ridden during races or on approved dates.

If you look at how all great non-pay wall (free to ride) riding destinations, and race venues have been formed over the years, it is always through respect, cross stake holder communication and a stoicism to keep on going and keep improving. These years of hard graft, in what is a remote area, have allowed a next phase of trail evolution to happen - with the Naughty providing the stimulus.

From 2017, to 2020, there will have been 6, maybe 7, new trails created by Carl and a group of core builders. All created by hand, using picks, mattocks and spades, along with a good dollop of elbow grease.

Some trails have been more popular than others (We always enjoy reading the feedback forms), but the approach has never faltered - create trails that develop riders skill levels, utilise unique natural features, leave as little trace as possible and bring smiles to riders faces.

The Naughty is the event that has put the Northumbrian riding scene back on the national map - a truly amazing county that, by it's very nature and culture, struggled to shout about what it had hidden in it's high hills and steep sided valleys. There's a quiet, contented attitude round here.

Where once the Coquet was the bolt hole for criminals, muderous border reivers and illicit whisky stills, the Naughty has brought the added dimensions of mass-participation cycling to this remote valley in the Northumbrian hills.

With support from knowledgable, dedicated riders over the last 3 years, and into 2020, long may it continue.

We hope you're enjoying the journey as much as we are.

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