On the trail of a fitting tribute to beloved dad
Alistair Clark on his bike
The late Jimmy Clark
The son of well-known county farmer is moving ahead with plans to create a mountain bike park in memory of his father, who passed away last December.
Alistair Clark, 25, hopes to create 10 kilometres of free-to-use bike tracks, surrounding land left to him by his father, Jimmy, at Luggate Farm, near Haddington.
A public meeting to gauge support and to give more information on the 'Traprain Trails' project - which includes plans for six kilometres of family-friendly trails and a further four of more challenging routes - takes place at 2pm on Sunday, August 5 at Cockielaw Farm steading.
Although his dad was not a cyclist, Alistair believes the park will be a fitting tribute to the county farmer and former Haddington Rugby Club player, who had struggled with bipolar disorder for several years.
Alistair told the Courier: "My dad was injured while playing rugby but he didn't take up another hobby following that. Afterwards he became unwell, but I think if he'd had a hobby it would have taken his mind off the stress of work and the things that were bringing him down.
"When I'm on my bike I don't think of anything else and I think it is a feeling many people are missing. They play the Xbox or go on Facebook rather than going outside. Cycling gives you energy, a means of transport and you meet new people by going riding with them."
Alistair, together with his brother Steven, inherited their father's farmland after his death, aged 52, and began to consider uses which would provide a fitting legacy to Jimmy and benefit the community. Alistair enlisted the help of his friend and fellow cycling enthusiast James Turner to set up 'Traprain Trails'.
Among those he hopes will benefit from the plans are young cyclists and county schoolpupils.
He added: "I've received positive feedback from East Lothian Council officials, who told me that that a lot of the local schools have bikes for the children but there aren't any nearby trails for them to use. You see kids in Haddington town centre riding their BMX bikes because there is nowhere for them to go."
Although the plan is in the very early stages, Alistair is already considering other ways to expand the site's appeal in the future, such as creating a nature trail up Traprain Law, and starting a cafe on the site.
Members of the public will be able to suggest ideas for the trails project, give their views and be given a tour of the site at next Sunday's meeting.
Delivery driver Alistair, who lives in Edinburgh, said: "The public meeting will allow us to see if there are any objections and what we can do to work them out. I don't foresee any problems as we have space for car parking, good access from the old A1 and there won't be any noise pollution.
"We'd also welcome anyone who would like to get involved in the project."
Following the meeting Alistair will explore funding options for the creation of 'Traprain Trails'.
For more information, visit www.trapraintrails.com
This article appeared in East Lothian Courier 26 Jul 12