Borders College

Borders College’s Karra saddles up for mountain biking success

A FORMER Borders College student is making a name for herself in the world of mountain biking.

Karra LaingNot only did Karra Laing recently secure third place at the recent National Downhill Race in Wales, she has also been appointed an ambassador for leading biking holiday company MTB Beds.

The 17-year-old, who lives in Moray, says studying in the Borders has helped her achieve success in the sport. She said:

“I have just recently finished the BASE Downhill course at Borders College, which ran from August to June.

“It was a fantastic experience for me. The Borders is a great place to go mountain biking – there are a lot of great trails. We spent a lot of time out riding in Innerleithen around the Glentress area, in particular, which was really good.

“It really is an excellent place to learn. Everyone is also so supportive and helpful there and I obviously got a great qualification out of it.”

And it has been all go for Karra since she finished her studies earlier in the year.

She was asked by mountain biking holiday company MTB Beds to become its Scotland Ambassador.

The firm, which offers trips around Europe, invited four riders from across the UK to take on the roles.

Karra added:

“I am really excited to be an ambassador for MTB Beds.

“They got in touch with me earlier in the year after seeing me race and asked me to be the ambassador for Scotland.

“It is great because mountain biking is something I have always been really interested in.

“When I was younger, I did a lot of swimming, but it did not take long for me to start racing on the trails and I have loved it ever since.

“It is just something I have always enjoyed – that is what really encouraged me to sign up for the College course in the first place.”

And her hard work at the College paid off last month.

Karra managed to finish in an impressive third place in the Junior Women category of the HSBC UK National Downhill Series – Rhyd-Y-Felin in Wales.

She said:

“It was a great experience to finish in third place at the British National Downhill Series.

“I am really enjoying myself and just want to keep on going and take on lots of different challenges along the way.

“I have done a few different rides now, including the 24 hour Strathpuffer Mountain Bike Endurance Event in the Highlands at the start of the year.”

She and her team also won the mixed quads category of the gruelling event, which is known as one of the world’s hardest MTB courses.

Mountain biking studentsPhoto, right: Karra pictured with her mixed quads team at the Strathpuffer event.

Now she is hoping to pass on her experiences and expertise to others in the future.

Karra added:

“Coaching is something I have been interested in, but I just want to keep progressing.

“Hopefully I have a lot a time ahead of me in mountain biking, so I just want to keep on building on what I have already started.

“I have been focusing on a lot of gym work lately and have been really enjoying it. Hopefully that will help me progress for the future.

“I think the next stage for me is to just keep on biking and I am hoping to apply to do some of the world cup events from next year.

“With any luck, I will get accepted for those and just try my best.”

And Karra says anyone who is interested in mountain biking should sign up for a course at Borders College.

She said:

“The course I took has helped me massively to get into the position I am in.

“I am not from the Borders but I loved going to the College there.

“My advice to anyone who is interested in mountain biking is to go for it and sign up.

“The staff are really nice and you learn a lot from everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.”

Borders College Curriculum Learning Manager Darren Burns commented:

“It has been great having Karra on the course. Her hard work has been rewarded with some great results and we wish her all the best for the future.

“We are starting to see more females come onto the course, and hopefully Karra can replicate and surpass some of the achievements of other BC students on the circuit and inspire others to follow in her tracks.”

If you would like to follow in the footsteps of Karra and sign up for a mountain biking course at Borders College, apply online at, call the Admissions team on 08700 50 51 52 or email

Courses take place from August to June each year and offer a suite of qualifications at SCQF Level 6.

Published: Wed 24th Jul, 2019