Cream o’ the Croft: three Muckin' good family festivals rolled into one

Lovers of the outdoors, both on and off the bike, are in for a treat this summer, as Cream o’ the Croft Mountain Bike Festival, supported by EventScotland – part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, makes a much-anticipated return to Comrie Croft, Braincroft, Perthshire, the award-winning green tourism destination, mountain bike trail centre (and onsite bike shop), from Friday 15 to Sunday 17 June 2018

To celebrate the 2018 event programme a new and highly entertaining Cream o’ the Croft promotional video, filmed at the venue with the Beast from the East taking a lead role, has been released – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-B1zyZUAds.

Cream o’ the Croft – ‘Scotland’s Mountain Bike Festival’ - is not only a festival of mountain bike racing for all ages, it is also a music festival with camping and fun activities and a gourmet food and drink festival, all crammed into one unbelievable family-friendly entertainment weekend; and its all within an hour’s drive of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and Perth.

Aaron Gray of Muckmedden Events, organisers of Cream o’ the Croft, added:  “It’s not easy to showcase an action-packed, three-day summer family bike festival while it’s snowing and the Beast from the East is trying to blow you off the hillside.

“However, I think we have done a great job in highlighting the best of Cream o’ the Croft, a weekend festival of fun and frolics for all the family both on and off the bike.  It is based largely around the four great tenets of mountain biking, the great outdoors, music and ‘consumption of deliciousness’.  Add in to the mix an award-winning campsite, hostel and mountain bike trail centre, beautiful surroundings, family friendliness and great activities for all ages, and you get the rough idea of what to expect.”

Festival organisers, Muckmedden Events, are promising the best edition of the festival yet with new events, activities and entertainment for all the family, all shoehorned into the already fun-packed line-up festival goers have enjoyed in previous years.  Additional highlights off the bike – all included in the festival pass at no extra cost - include yoga and wellbeing workshops and talks; more live bands; a giant water slide; steel band workshops; trail running coaching and guided runs; circus workshops; quad pods; Segway tours and even a rodeo bull! A fuller line up is outlined below.

Road cyclists have also been catered for in 2018.  They can look forward to the new ‘Breadalbane 160’, a 160km (100 mile) Audax road ride (a non-competitive, time-limited long distance ride out).  With an Audax UK AAA (Audax Altitude Awards) certification, this is sure to be a challenging but rewarding day on Highland Perthshire’s most iconic roads with some stunning views to cherish en route.

In celebration of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, Muckmedden Events have also scheduled a number of exciting opportunities to get local young people involved at both of their bike festivals this year.  From engaging budding DJ’s to engineers, none is more exciting than the inaugural Monster Balance Bike Challenge. 

This competition, a collaboration between Muckmedden Events and several Scottish bike recycling centres, gives young members of community groups the chance to design and build a Monster Balance Bike under the expert guidance of their local bike recycling centre. They will then compete against other teams at Cream o’ the Croft and The Eliminator Mountain Bike Festival, being staged in Fife later in the year.  To level the playing field, the challenge is not just about getting a fast race time.  Teams will also be scored on their ingenuity and imagination before they’ve even turned a wheel.  The crazier the design, the better! 

For the mountain bikers the festival’s main event will be the Cream o’ the Croft Enduro on Saturday 15 June.  The multi-stage Enduro race will once again use every inch of Comrie Croft’s mountain bike trail network, with many new trail sections set to be unveiled, in a bid to find ‘The Cream o’ the Croft 2018’. In the festival’s signature event riders will experience the very best of Scottish mountain biking at IBikeRide’s Scottish Trail Centre of the Year.

For female riders only there will be a Muckmaiden coaching session and and ride out that will include taking on some of the Enduro stages.

Young, budding world champions can also take to the trails in the Mini Enduro, which will take place on Sunday 16 June. Riders aged 6 to 13 will experience Enduro mountain bike racing on mellower (but no less fun!) trails.  Parents can even chaperone their kids on the course if they want to give them moral support, or just want an excuse for another ride!  There are also opportunities for the very tiniest of riders to get their race faces on, with toddler bike racing and open track sessions across the weekend.

Andrew Donaldson of Comrie Croft said: “This year the festival is really moving into 21st gear, thanks in no small part to support from EventScotland. We’re also totally chuffed that – as part of the Year of Young People 2018 - young folk are involved in organising and promoting various new additions to the festival, some of which are completely crazy! The programme might be loaded, but it’ll be the same family-friendly atmosphere and welcome to all that the festival has become known for, whether you are into bikes or not.” 

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said:  “EventScotland is delighted to be supporting both Cream o’ the Croft and The Eliminator Mountain Bike Festival for the first time this year, through our National Events Programme. It is great to see in Scotland’s Year of Young People that both festivals include a wide range of activities catering to cycling fans of all ages and abilities. Scotland is the perfect stage for events, and Cream o’ the Croft and Eliminator will no doubt attract visitors from the local area as well as further afield to Perthshire and Fife respectively.”

For more information about Cream o’ the Croft Mountain Bike Festival and to purchase festival passes and race entries go to https://www.muckmedden.co.uk/our-events/cream-o-the-croft/.  All Cream o’ the Croft attendees must have either a Festival Pass or a Race Entry. If you’re looking to stay overnight, you also need a camping pass (unless you’ve paid for an accommodation upgrade). 

Highlights of Cream o’ the Croft Mountain Bike Festival include:

Biking

  • Pumptrack Challenge & Bunny Hop competition
  • “The Breadalbane 160” - a brand-new Audax road ride which will showcase the very best roads and views of Highland Perthshire.  https://db.tt/AcH7snU55m
  • COTC Enduro - Multi-stage Enduro (age 12+) using every inch of trail on offer in a bid to find the “Cream o’ the Croft”
  • Toddler Bike Racing and open Sessions - (in)famous Toddler Bike Racing (under 6)
  • Monster Balance Bike Challenge #yoyp2018 - https://www.muckmedden.co.uk/event/monsterbb/
  • Mini Enduro - (age 6-13) – small version of the big race

 

Gourmet Food and drink

Cream o’ the Croft has always been about showcasing the best locally-sourced food and drink too, so once again Comrie delicatessen Hansen’s Kitchen and Comrie Croft’s own Tea Garden will team up with many of Scotland’s finest food and drinks producers to serve up all manner of delicious locally-sourced edibles over the three days.  Title sponsors Black Isle Brewery will ensure beer lovers are well catered for by serving up an assortment of organic craft ales at the bar, to compliment an array of local spirits and fresh juices.

 Cream o’ the Croft Velo Village

The event Velo Village will include stalls and bike related activities for festival goers to participate in and enjoy.  There will be lots of ‘non-bikey’ stuff too, for little and big kids alike, with an emphasis on hands-on fun for everyone.  Giant Water Slide, Petting Zoo, Bushcraft, Funky Mountain, Circus Workshops, live music and a silent disco, etc.

For little and big kids

  • Remake Craft Workshops – Make cool stuff from household waste
  • Smoothie Bikes – Make a fruit smoothie using your own pedal power!
  • Giant Waterslide
  • Mechanical Rodeo Bull – Age 8+
  • Magical Fairy Trail – Kids follow clues around the fairy forest to get a prize at the end.
  • Bouncy Castle
  • Face Painting, Henna Tattoos & Hair Feathers
  • The Funky Mountain - For 6 +.  Conquer a family friendly obstacle course that has you climbing, crawling and running on all fours, all while being blasted by funky colour powder. An hour of fantastic fun.
  • Nature Stories and Craft Workshop -  Sit down for a nature-based story and then venture into the woods to find natural materials to make some of the characters from the book.
  • Adventure Circus Workshops and circus show – Learn circus skills such as ribbons, juggling and trapeze and then marvel at the pros in action!
  • Active Glen Quad Pods – A train of two-wheeled pods, towed behind a Quad bike.
  • Active Glen Segways – Off-road Segway tours around Comrie Croft.

 

Health and Wellbeing

  • The Kilted Coaches talk about mindset principles that promote good health, followed by a Q&A session
  • Yoga Taster Sessions
  • Swedish Massage and Remedial and Sports Massage 
  • Guided Trail/Hill Running – A selection of guided trail runs leaving from Comrie Croft.
  • Pedal Powered Cinema (showing This Way Up, a film about mountain bike guide Andy McKenna’s life coping with Multiple Sclerosis)

 

Live Music

  • Steel Band Workshop – Saltire Steel Band (Crieff High School) bring some Caribbean sunshine to COTC by providing live music on the Low Meadow.  Learn how to play a steel drum in the steel band workshop sessions!
  • Chitterybite Ceilidh – Family Ceilidh in the Hay Barn
  • The Bullet Holes (TBC) – Comrie-based country rockers with swag.
  • Banjo Lounge 4 – Old skool hip-hop with a touch of tweed.
  • Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5 -  Colourful, playful, bonkers Scottish headliners!
  • Silent Knights Silent Disco – DJ’s battle on wireless headphones! Those without headphones hear no music, giving the effect of a room full of people dancing to no sound at all!

 

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