Winton Castle and Estate in East Lothian was thrilled to be the hosts of the 2nd round of the Thistly Cross Cyclocross Scottish Super Quaich, for the second year running, on the 18th of January 2020. 240 competitors registered to tackle the 2.6-kilometre Thistly Cross course, and they were greeted with a fun but challenging route bathed in glorious sunshine.

The event attracted all levels of participants from complete novices to seasoned professionals, and all ages from 16 to 70. Even Francis Ogilvy, owner of Winton, donned his kilt and jumped on his bike. Competitors raced in 2 groups, group B and the more competitive group A, around the newly improved cyclocross course, tasked with racing around the track as many times as possible in one hour.

The cyclocross organisers John Archibald, Neil Clyde, Colin Shearer and Eric Easton from the Haddington Cycling Club, said to the Winton Events team: “Well done for yesterday! We’ve had a lot of great feedback about the course and I received the comment below today, which is testament to all the work that’s gone into developing the course.”

“Another stunningly epic cyclo-cross course. Just a massive thanks from myself and the guys I was with to you and all your team. We fully appreciate the weeks of work that will go into organising an event like that and you even sorted the weather out. Best course by miles.’’

“Fantastic turnout by inspirational athletes who were awesome in their abilities to ride the challenging course,” said Francis Ogilvy (pictured above). “Rose tinted and mud-splattered specs made light of the ‘wash board’ and I remember instead the joy of the pumping descents and off-camber manoeuvres. Must let someone else share in the Lanterne Rouge trophy (the wooden spoon) next year! Three cheers and thanks to the organisers!”

Anthony Robson on Facebook said: “Loved and hated the course in equal measure – the mud seemed to be that extra-special sticky kind, but so many fun elements as well, and kept you on your toes all the way round. The tunnels and bridges had to be the Thistly Cross defining characteristics.”

The team from Winton Estate and more than 20 cyclocross enthusiasts had worked together to ensure the course was ready in time.

Winton Castle and Estate’s General Manager, Linkon Axon, said, “We are currently making significant activities infrastructure investment across the estate, and the Cyclocross Course plays a major part in that. The route can easily be used for quad bike tours and mountain biking events.”

John Archibald described the course: “The circuit includes a great blend of technical difficulties, challenges, muddy hazards, respites, tunnels and bridges.

“There are big off-camber descents followed by steep climbs then respites. The route includes a great mix of ditches, run-ups for carrying bikes up and even a couple of 12-inch hurdles for experienced riders to bunny-hop! The technical features reward the best cyclists and provide challenges for less experienced ones.

Francis Ogilvy at Thistly Cross Cyclocross Competition
Bridge Sketch Cyclocross Competition Winton Castle

“Winton provides a fabulous venue; with the castle as a backdrop, it’s very picturesque and the Winton team were brilliant to work with, going above and beyond.”

Some cyclists commented on Facebook:

“Cheers to Neil Clyde, John Archibald, Colin Shearer, Eric Easton and all their squad of helpers for a great Thistly Cross today… Great course with good techy wooded bits and a good mix of surfaces…,” wrote Ian Churcher.

“Definitely a great course – kept you on your toes – as soon as I relaxed at all I lost the line and all momentum! Loved the gravel track – but heading straight into the sun, boy did those bumps come at you quickly! Great effort by all involved,” added Howard Perkins.

The group A and group B winners’ photos even made it into the Evening News in Bill Lothian’s Community Sport!

Winton Castle is looking forward to hosting the Thistly Cross Cyclocross Scottish Super Quaich series again in 2021 and is also investigating the possibility of hosting further Cyclocross events as part of the National Cyclocross Series.

Anyone interested in holding cyclocross, quad bike or mountain bike events at Winton, should contact the events venue direct. More information is available in Activities at Winton on our website.

Photos and Credits

  • Cyclists at the start and during the race.
  • Sir Francis Ogilvy, owner of Winton, rides in his kilt, for the second year running.
  • Sketch of bridge on course courtesy of Anthony Robson.