Rollercoaster to the top? Innerleithen chairlift gets planning permission!

When we heard planning permission had been granted for a chairlift at Innerleithen we were pleased – the Scottish race venue has been a mainstay of the UK downhill scene for years. Then we saw what it was going to look like, and we were flabbergasted!

Not a rollercoaster but the proposed Innerleithen uplift system. Picture: AIMUp

Not a rollercoaster but the proposed Innerleithen uplift system. Picture: AIMUp

The Wieli from German company Wiegand looks more like a rollercoaster than an uplift system. It runs on rails and it’s estimated it’ll be able to ferry as many as 1,200 passengers an hour along the 1.4km route to the summit of Plora Rigg, where the current downhill trails begin.

Map showing the proposed uplift route - click to enlarge. Picture: Scottish Borders Council

Map showing the proposed uplift route – click to enlarge. Picture: Scottish Borders Council

AIMUp (Action on the Innerleithen Mechanical Uplift), the community group behind the proposal, plan to add new graded downhill and cross-country trails that’ll appeal to a wide range of riders. And it’s not just new routes and easy uplifts that us mountain bikers can look forward to – a host of visitor facilities are planned too.

This artist's impression of the new development shows some of the visitor facilities on offer. Picture: AIMUp

This artist’s impression of the new development shows some of the visitor facilities on offer. Picture: AIMUp

These include a toboggan run, bike hire, cafes at the top and bottom of the lift, a bike storage area and specialist shops, along with toilets, changing rooms and showers – everything a mountain biker could need. If you’ve never been riding at Inners, check out the video below for a taster of what the area has to offer.

Source: IXS Innerleithen from Calum Darling

The next step for AIMUp is to raise the estimated £5.5 million required to fund the development. You can follow their progress on the Support the Innerleithen Uplift Facebook page.