SCOTLAND’S reputation as a premier destination for mountain bike enthusiasts has moved up a gear after the burgeoning cottage industry was given a £50,000 boost.

Scores of small firms, ranging from bike-hire shops to cafes for tired bikers to rest their bruised knees, have sprung up over the past decade, largely supporting two of the UK’s best mountain bike tracks.

The country’s also been put on the map with the annual Mountain Biking World Cup in Fort William The Scottish Government is now giving Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland, which provides a web portal for everything from the locations of top trails, to holidays and equipment hire, the money to develop further.

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The pursuit is worth £100 million a year to the Scottish economy, with the forest tracks of Glentress, near Peebles, and Seven Stanes, in Dumfries and Galloway, winning rave reviews.

Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop, who met mountain biker Harry Bucknall at Glentress, said: “Our first-class facilities, like those available at Glentress forest, are an important tourism draw.”

Lee Cousins of Developing Mountain Biking said he was “delighted” with the funding.