More than a decade ago, Mountain Biking Otago, led by their nationally-recognised track designer, Hamish Seaton, hand built 8km of bespoke single-track at Nicols Creek. This multi-use track climbs up a steep gully close to the bottom of Leith Valley Rd. It is surfaced with compacted gravel (7000 wheelbarrow loads - about 480 tonnes) to make it useable all year round. The Ground Effect Slush Fund pitched a thousand bucks towards the construction of a corkscrew - bridge trail feature.
Recreational bikers, walkers and runners have thoroughly enjoyed going up and admiring the view. Virtually every Sunday since 2019, Hamish has led dedicated bands of volunteers to hand cut another 2 km of track, pushing the trail now quite close to the top of the hill. When the track is finished, several adventurous loop circuits will be available for all users to enjoy; extending north and south along the historical Swampy Ridge Track.
It’s a challenging project due to the lack of road access. The estimated cost of completing the gravelling and making the track accessible to all is $40,000. The Club has exhausted options (and the crew) gravelling as far as they can with dumpers and barrows. The plan is now to raise enough money to haul gravel up the hill in trucks, and then tag with a helicopter. In 2020 the Ground Effect Slush Fund contributed $2300 to the fundraiser. Here’s hoping they meet their objective to complete the project.