A wheely unusual bridge for Kirroughtree

The Kirroughtree Wheel, due to open on 22 February.
The Kirroughtree Wheel, due to open on 22 February.

The new Kirroughtree Wheel, a bridge with a difference, opens for the first time next Saturday on the 7Stanes route at Kirroughtree.

Standing at five-metres in diameter and with a 12 metre ramp on and off the bridge, it’s a great way to end any trail.

The new bridge was designed and built by Andy Hopkins, 7stanes Technical Officer with Forestry Commission Scotland, with support from Alasdair Rennie of Sustainable Scotland and other Forestry Commission Scotland staff.

Andy was given a brief from Keith Muir head of Tourism at Galloway Forest Park, to guarantee that bikers crossed over walkers ensuring that conflict between users was reduced to a minimum. By looking at the area where the bike trails end and combining that with the new Kirroughtree Visitor Centre design, Andy came up with the shape of the bike wheel.

Using Graeme White of the Forestry Commission’s civil engineering team, they worked together to draw up and correctly engineer the design. In the lead up to the final design, Andy visited Hope Engineering and asked if they could produce two quick release duplicates that could play an integral part of the design and make the whole layout work as a feature. Hope kindly donated two hubs for the bridge.

The final bill for the new bridge was £25,000 which was spread across both the 7stanes and the Kirroughtree centre project making the best use of resources and ensuring that both walkers and bikers have a wow feature to end and start their trails.

The opening or the Kirroughtree Wheel coincides with the opening of the Kirroughtree bike and out door shop which will be home to the Breakpad who have been operating at Kirroughtree for 7 years. The state of the art facility with purpose built workshop, bike wash and showers next to the Café at Kirroughtree operated by Cream O Galloway will put Kirroughtree very much in the league of Glentress and other lead cycling centres across the UK and a must visit destination.

The Breakpad have organised a fun day out to celebrate the opening of their new shop, the layout for the day begins at 11am for corporates and customers with a Piggy Pass with a ride out for those that wish with free shower and bike wash, the Breakpad are then putting on a Hog Roast and a glass of bubbly with a walk around the new shop at 2pm. From 6pm onwards friend’s family and Mega Piggy Pass Holders are welcome to join in more Hog Roast with mash, bar and some indoor games.

To celebrate the opening the Breakpad are also offering vouchers to their customers, local businesses and enterprises for the shop and in order to receive a voucher, people need to get in touch with the Breakpad directly so that they can be put on the guest list for a free Hog Roast and glass of bubbly

Sam, the owner and director of the Breakpad said ‘’ We are so excited to open our new shop at Kirroughtree, it has been a long and challenging journey to get to this point, and we feel that the new facility will offer both our staff and customers a quality experience deserving of such a beautiful place. We started our bike hire shop 7 years ago, with 10 bikes, and now offer the largest hire fleet in Dumfries and Galloway, as well as a large retail area. We aim to improve our online presence, offer financial purchasing options, and work closely with local businesses and customers to bring more people to the area.”

Mandy Layden, Development Manager of the 7stanes CIC added ‘’this is an exciting time for all, riders, walkers, families as well as, people attending the different events, will love the new feature, will welcome back the taster loop and will have an improved visitor experience with the new bike & Outdoor shop, facilities & the café at Kirroughtree. 7stanes offer a high quality experience and we need to continue to build on that to retain world class status – Kirroughtree was already a popular stane however these improvements not only better the trail centre but will work to retain this status.”