Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Ewen Beaton R.I.P.

The August blog, one I’d rather not be writing. 

I have always used this blog to provide an insight into my world of being a full-time mountain bike trail designer. To many people it might appear to be a dream job for a mountain biker, for those in the know, they will know that most of the time it can be planning, designing, number crunching and endless rounds of meetings where we talk about trail building, but nothing ever appears to be done. 

The best bit, obviously, is the building of new trails, and the teams I work with. All the teams I use these days are not only hand picked for their abilities, but also for their attitude to building trails. Trail building isn’t about just another job, it’s about producing something that you know will be used by kids, families, first time riders, enthusiasts and making sure all of them go away with a grin, and because of this I like teams who appreciate what we’re trying to achieve.

My team at the moment is one of the nicest I like to use, they are obviously good at what they do, they can work comfortably on any ground in any conditions, they have all the relevant machinery and, like me, they are family men and passionate mountain bikers. 
We think alike, we talk about the same things and we work together in the rain, snow, mud and the days when it’s dark by three. So to lose one of the team in such tragic recent circumstances has been a terrible shock. 

Ewen Beaton and his two young sons tragically died in a boating accident whilst enjoying a sunny Sunday at Gairloch up on the north west coast. 

If you’ve ridden at Aonach Mhor, Golspie, Learnie, Laggan, Forres or the Logging Way in Rothiemurchus you will have enjoyed some of Ewens handiwork. He and I had raked, shovelled and dragged a wacker plate or man handled rocks on all these trails, in all sorts of weather. Like me he was a good husband and a devoted father to two young boys, so most Monday mornings were spent catching up on what we had done family wise over the weekend. He was good craik to have around, never put out by the task in hand or moaning when we were faced with yet another huge berm to try and compact. 

The project we are on at the moment, was a huge exciting contract to land, with miles of lovely singletrack to build and Ewen was graduating from the hand tools to building trail with the digger. I had scoped out an exciting rock section for him to build, we had just selected the rocks and I know he was really looking forward to actually being at the sharp end. 
For us, the project will continue, with new faces to integrate into the team and the day to day challenges of building trails as winter approaches. 

But for his wife, Jo, who has lost this good man and her two young sons, the world will never carry on as before.