I’ve been feeling particularly sentimental about SingletrAction just recently, and Stainburn in particular. It is my local trail and it is my playground, both for riding and trail-building. Also, its pretty awesome and I just happen to feel particularly proud of that right now. No reason, I just do.
It’s almost certainly spurred on by a recent visit to Guisborough Forest for a trail building day with their trail crew. There I met another group of passionate and dedicated volunteers who quite simply love their trails. They really do. I’d never met them before, but there was a vibe I immediately recognised – it felt like home.
I showed up to a dig at Stainburn for the first nearly 4 years ago, it was kind of a spur of the moment thing, I fancied seeing Stainburn close up after one terrifying ride more than a year before that gave me the screaming heaby jeebies… And I’d always sort of planned giving something back to the trails I enjoyed so much but you know, I never quite got round to it. These factors and a confluence of events meant I finally got round to making the effort.
It just so happened that on that day as well being the SingletrAction AGM (a surprisingly interesting meeting with a pleasing quantity of biscuits), it was a day when a film about volunteer trail building was made, and in amongst digging out tree stumps and the dumping of rock, I was collared to jibber into a camera for a bit. I had no idea back then how much trail building would become a part of my life, but there I am sharing a very wide eyed point of view.
I knew nothing back then, but as well as the wise words of Tim Sellors, STA Chairman, I find that through the hangover of that morning, and the hours of labour that we put in, and the headache I developed through the day, I somehow, surprisingly managed to speak some insightful and worthy sentences that are as relevant today as they were back then.
Stainburn, like me is four years older, it looks very different, it has grown, and altered with the weathering effects of time. But its still very much the same in spirit. It has a reputation and feel, an intensity and severity. We often feel like guardians of the trails, as much as their creators.
Two years ago I wrote this article about my time with SingletrAction. It’s an interesting coincidence that 2 years further on I stumble across this video again. It was an odd day, but I still remember it every time I rattle over the section of trail we built that day. In the article above I mention someone else who arrived at the car park at the same time as me, and went on to put in a heroic effort behind the barrow that went down in legend. That man, Jeremy Sainter is now STA Vice Chair, and a determined presence at many digs at Stainburn, Dalby and beyond.
You don’t always know where something will lead. Some volunteers come and go. Some get utterly addicted. But every volunteer who shows up for a couple of hours, a day, or a year, is valuable, and makes trails happen. And they help more happen. We have acheived a mind boggling amount at Stainburn in those four years, but nothing compared to the plans we have. There ARE trail building groups all over the country. Wherever there are trails, there will be a group of volunteers creating and maintaining them.
So my thought for you is this. Where might it lead you if you go to your local trail building group’s next trail building day? What might you create? What might you achieve?
There is only one way to find out.
Treasurer – SingletrAction.
The next Volunteer Trailbuilding day at Stainburn is Sunday March 2nd.
SingletrAction is volunteer led and funded group dedicated to building, improving and maintain trails, you can support singletraction by joining though the link of the right hand side of this web page. Membership is just £15 and comes with a wide range of benefits, as well as that warm fuzzy feeling from knowing you are supporting the trails you love.