Hundreds of mountain bikers and their families attended the Whyte King and Queen of the Hill event in Traquair Forest at the weekend.
It took place against the background of the news that P Ramorum – known in the US as Sudden Oak Death – had been found in the forest, but the organisers worked closely with the Forestry Commission and their actions have been praised as exemplary.
Bikers followed the advice and took advantage of the free bike washing service that was made available.
According to the Forestry Commission, P Ramorum is a disease that is fatal to shrubs and trees like the Larch. It has been slowly spreading across Scotland and has been found in both the North East and particularly the South West and Galloway as it seems to thrive in wetter conditions.
They are particularly susceptible, and large numbers have been affected. P Ramorum infection on larch trees is sometimes also referred to in the UK as “Larch tree disease”, “Japanese larch disease” (although European and hybrid larch are also hosts) and “sudden larch death”.
Last year round 5000 tonnes of diseased timber had to be felled in Scotland because of P Ramorum.
A spokesman said: “It is a disease which has been around for many years in Scotland and one that we can’t fully eradicate.
“However, we can take preventative measures to slow its spread and this involves felling the infected trees and those surrounding them.
“We have found the disease in a couple of parts of Traquair Forest and we worked with the organisers of the festival on a plan to tackle the problem which was carried out in exemplary fashion.
“Our aim will be to keep any disruption to a minimum but our work will involve felling as this is required on a statutory basis.
“In the meantime, we advise all our visitors to the forest to follow our Keep it Clean campaign and clean their bikes, shoes and kit before they arrive at the forest as this helps slow the spread of the disease.”