Dukes 2O19: Aberfoyle Community Information

Hi Everyone,

Hopefully you were all aware of the Dukes Weekender from our inaugural event last year and had a good experience with it!...  Well we decided to do it all again, this time a bit bigger and even better!  

In just under a months time, on the 7th and 8th of September, the 2nd edition of The Dukes Weekender will be happening right here in our village. With things finally coming together for the event we wanted to give you all some background information and the weekend schedule. Our aim is to make it even better than last year and we’re encouraging as many locals as possible to get involved!

However as with any major local event we also have some logistics to deal with and aspects of the event that will obviously impact on normal proceedings in the village and surrounding area. With that in mind we wanted to let everyone know the details of the event and the the plans we have in place to accommodate both locals and visitors during the event weekend. We hope it doesn’t affect anyone to much and that the event is a positive for everyone in the community but if you have any questions then please do get in touch at info@dukesweekender.com.



Event organiser and Aberfoyle resident Rob Friel starting Graeme Obree on the hillclimb last year. Photo by Phil Crowder @ The Forth Inn

Event organiser and Aberfoyle resident Rob Friel starting Graeme Obree on the hillclimb last year. Photo by Phil Crowder @ The Forth Inn

The two of us making the event happen are Stu Thomson and Rob Friel, we're both keen local cyclists with young families living in Gartmore and Aberfoyle who decided on a ride at the end of 2017 that we should try and bring an event to Aberfoyle.  

There were 2 main reasons for starting this challenge; Firstly as local cyclists we love the riding on our doorstep, it is truly amazing, we love showing it off and particularly the offroad riding that is less well known. Secondly, with so many locals getting involved in helping the community, lifting the village’s profile and the local businesses, this is what we felt we could do to help the amazing revival that Aberfoyle is seeing.  We felt that with our enthusiasm and contacts in cycling we could do something to try and bring new people to the area to enjoy it, spend money and hopefully come back in the future. So despite both having full time jobs, 3 children under 5 between us we decided to get involved!

So the Dukes Weekender was born... A 2 day cycling event that we hope will bring people to the village to discover the area, spend time and money locally and enjoy some amazing cycling.


The event will run over the weekend of the 7th/8th September. We do this deliberately outside summer season and make it a 2 day event so (on the basis that we can attract participants) it has a positive impact on the local economy.



One of our goals this year was to make an ‘Event Village’ in Aberfoyle.  This is to make more of a ‘festival’ atmosphere for those not competing, allowing riders to bring friends/families to enjoy the day and also giving locals some things to see and get involved with. So this year we’re stepping things up a little…..

We’re bringing an amazing kids pump track to our event this year. Open to everyone free of charge and we’ll also have demo bikes for kids and adults available.

We’re bringing an amazing kids pump track to our event this year. Open to everyone free of charge and we’ll also have demo bikes for kids and adults available.

We’ve been very lucky to secure some support to bring in a 9m x 23m ‘Pumptrack’.  If you’re not familiar with the term it is basically a small BMX track that will be available to kids and adults to ride all weekend (see the photos to get an idea of what is involved). This will be supervised and free for anyone to use all weekend.

In addition to this we’ll have several cycling brands (both kids and adult brands) who are travelling to Aberfoyle for the weekend to the event and will be offering demo bikes to try all weekend. This will be open to everyone so come and have a go!  There will also be several other brands offering bikes to try and activities going on around the event. We are expecting/hoping for a significant increase in attendees this year so the town will be buzzing… Please tell all your friends/family and get them along!……. 

We deliberately won’t have any food/drink other than local businesses, so get involved and let’s get everyone fed and watered while they are here! Any Dukes Weekender Specials will be amazing to see! If there is something you’d like to support us with please get in touch, otherwise get ready to be busy!! 

In order to have enough space and with the support of Stirling Council and National Park, we’re going to take over some of the public car park behind the Forth Inn to create a proper 'Event Village'.  This will be from the Saturday morning until the event finale on Sunday night. While we will be taking up some parking spaces in the car park to account for this we have made additional car parking arrangements across the river (details below) to account for competitors this year and allow the rest of the public car park for any other visitors to the village. The council are involved to assist with logistics and any redirections for vehicles/buses. If you have any questions please do get in touch though to info@dukesweekender.com


As this year we’re expecting to increase the number of people coming to the event we’ve had to account for this in additional parking and also a few competitors onsite camping.  Geraint has kindly allowed us to use his field across the river by Manse Road and the council have provided a permit for this.  This will be used just over the weekend with Sunday likely to be the busier day and (as you may have noticed) we’ve been cutting the grass and preparing the area for this.

We will be issuing a letter to those nearby on Manse Road with all the details of our plans... We’re not anticipating large numbers to camp onsite however we felt in necessary to offer given this is very common with events of this type and local accommodation has filled up very quickly for the event. The camping area is being restricted to the north end of the field by the river and just for the one night, there will be toilets provided for those camping onsite.  We will also be supervising the bridge crossing to ensure safe pedestrian access during busy periods.



If you didn’t get up the hill to see the Hill Climb racing last year then make sure it’s in the diary for this year!… What an atmosphere!…  The Dukes Pass is such an iconic road for cyclists so we decided that the opportunity to close the road, line it with people and get a festival vibe going could be an amazing thing!

The closure itself will be between 3pm and 7pm on Sat 7th September. Stirling Council handle all our logistics around this and will be lettering all residents affected and we have Central Traffic Management coming in to co-ordinate everything on the ground. In the village itself we will have one half of the road closed (left hand side heading up Dukes) to allow any required access for residents. We have also informed as many bus tour companies as possible (with few affected at those times) along with other affected businesses and no postal routes will be affected at the times. We will also have a short opening in the middle of the event to allow traffic to clear out of the Lodge car park. This will only be northbound on Dukes Pass with no access back to the village until 7pm.

We cannot explain enough how great this was last year so this is where we need you the locals to come out in force again, support the riders and help make it even more awesome!. We'll have lots going on up the hill including music, a bar, food (courtesy of The Lodge), a drummer and lots more… If you're around then come out and make some noise!




9.30am - 11am Children's Enduro:  Open to riders aged 8-14 we're giving kids a taste of 'Enduro'.  A 18km loop heading out towards Cobleland, Gartmore and back to Aberfoyle. This will have 4 timed 'stages' where the kids will race as fast as they can. Details and entries on our website if you'd like to get your kids tired out on a Saturday!

All Day: Five Ten Pumptrack and Demo Bikes:  As above the pumptrack and demo bikes (kids and adults) will be setup and run all weekend. This will all be free of charge and run all weekend from Saturday morning so bring the kids, family and friends down to try it out!

Aberfoyle local Andy Stanford enjoying (sort of) a hillclimb up Dukes Pass

Aberfoyle local Andy Stanford enjoying (sort of) a hillclimb up Dukes Pass

Hillclimb 4pm - 6pm - Dukes Pass:  As above… If you didn’t get to see this last year then make sure it’s in the diary for this year… What an atmosphere!  

The road closure is at 3pm with riders running from 4pm - 6pm. Bring your whistles/chalk/music/banners etc!!

The hillclimb had an incredible atmosphere last year…. We’re hoping to get as many locals as possible out to support the riders.

The hillclimb had an incredible atmosphere last year…. We’re hoping to get as many locals as possible out to support the riders.

Road Closure 3pm - 7pm:  With the hillclimb event comes some restrictions on the road from the corner of the Main Street to Enda and Cindy's house (the cottage near the top).  We really want to minimise disruption for local residents so again have kept it to later on Saturday for a minimum time. We plan to use just the left hand side of the road (driving out of Aberfoyle) for riders and local access will be in place on the right until the edge of the village. From the edge of the village there will be a full closure will be in place to make this a truly special experience.  The kids loved this last year, getting to write on the roads and blow whistles until they were hoarse seemed to keep them entertained!!

Go Ape and Forestry are the only businesses affected within the road closure (although we have also informed tour bus companies and Loch Katrine Cruises) and have been informed and are very supportive. The closure is confirmed through Stirling Council and being operated by Central Traffic Management rather than ourselves. They will be handling specifics and will be responsible for informing local residents who are affected. We really wanted to have information out to them sooner to ensure everything is as smooth as possible so please send us an email at info@dukesweekender.com if you have any concerns at all.

7pm - 10pm Dukes Gathering at The Forth Inn:  For this special evening we've once again brought some cycling royalty together for an amazing night of chat and films in the back of The Forth Inn. This is in aid of a good cause and all proceeds are being donated to Wings for Life spinal charity. Even if you have only a slight interest in cycling this evening will be full of amazing stories! The speakers we have are Martyn Ashton (paraplegic cyclist.. search for him on Youtube!), Lael Wilcox (a record holding adventurer from Anchorage Alaska), Lee Craigie (All-round MTB girl adventurer and Radio Scotland host) and Kerry Macphee (Stirling based Commonwealth Games MTB racer).  Google a few of them if you haven't heard of them, it will be a special night! Tickets will sell very quickly so keep an eye on our website if you’re interested.. Big thank you to Phil Crowder for the support in letting us host this!


All Day- Kids BMX/Pumptrack and Demo Bikes:  Again the BMX track and kids demo bikes will be available all day in the centre of the village so come back and let the kids try it out again!

A couple more locals, Norman Gillan (Aberfoyle) and Peter Stewart (Ruskie) enjoying some of the views that our route shows off.

A couple more locals, Norman Gillan (Aberfoyle) and Peter Stewart (Ruskie) enjoying some of the views that our route shows off.

9.30am - 5pm Gravel Enduro Event:  This is a 70km, primarily offroad event, running in a figure of 8 loop through the village.  The format is 'Enduro' which means that around the 70km loop there will be 6 timed stages around the loop where riders will race. Each of these are between 3-10 minutes in length. The first 35km will take riders over to Loch Venacher, Loch Achray, towards Ben Venue and back, stopping in the village for lunch before completing the remaining 30km out towards Gartmore, Loch Ard and then back. 

Access wise there will be very little impact on locals.  Due to safety reasons we'll be closing short sections of trails for the event.  These will be the cycle path running along the south of Loch Venacher from the 3 Lochs Forest Drive to Invertrossachs, a short section of forest road above Kinlochard and the short footpath trail loop on the south side of Loch Ard (known as Rob Roy’s cave).  Forestry Commission/National Park should be releasing details of these soon however all other trails and forest roads remain open.  The closest stage to the village will be out at Loch Ard near the Milton Carpark so if you're out and about then go and give the riders a cheer!

Overall it is difficult to tell exact numbers for the weekend just now (entries are open for another 2 weeks) but we're definitely looking at a significant increase on last year which will be bringing a lot more people to the village.  

We will have approx 200 riders for the Hillclimb (which will make it by far the biggest in Scotland), 400 for the Gravel Enduro and 50-70 kids racing... This means approx several hundred people plus their husbands/wives/familes will be staying locally and using local businesses which we hope is a great thing for everyone.


To be able to run this event we need marshals! if you are willing to help please let us know at amber@dukesweekender.com, we are looking for marshals for both Saturday for the Kids Race and Hill Climb and also for the Sunday for the Grave Enduro so if you fancy helping out please let us know, for the Sunday there’s £50 on offer for the full day marshalling plus lunch kindly supplied by Trevor at the Aberfoyle Deli. We will also be looking for some event village based marshals and who better to look after this than people who are passionate about our village! So please get in touch!

That about covers it we hope...  thank you to all the locals who have been so supportive in helping us make this event a reality.  We truly hope it is positive for the community, once it's all done and dusted we'll have a beer, gather some thoughts from everyone and see how it all went!


Stu & Rob


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