Mountain biking has been introduced to the curriculum of a Scottish school to encourage youngsters to become more active.

Pupils at Abronhill High, in Cumbernauld, yesterday put their skills to the test on the beginners' trail at Cumbernauld Glen as part of an initiative which it is hoped could be rolled out to other secondary schools.

The mountain biking scheme - a first for Scottish schools - was developed by Forestry Commission Scotland as part of its Active Woods campaign to encourage people to enjoy activities in their local wooded areas and will be included as part of the PE curriculum.

There are plans to widen the scheme next year to take in Cumbernauld and St Maurice's high schools.

A purpose-built mountain biking trail is to be developed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust at Cumbernauld Glen by the end of this year, enabling youngsters to progress to more adventurous terrain.

Environment Minister Michael Russell said pupils had taken to the project with "such enthusiasm".

He added: "It really shows that with some creative thinking there are new ways to encourage youngsters to have fun and be more active."

Kevin Lafferty, of Forestry Commission Scotland, said: "We teamed up with schools in Cumbernauld because we wanted to target people who wouldn't normally consider coming out to the forest and trying the sport.

"Active children are more likely to be active adults and are also less likely to suffer from many serious health problems in later life."

Local mountain bikers have helped to design the new trail and some have been trained as trail cycle leaders by Cycling Scotland.