PRESS RELEASE 20th June 2017
Arran Coastal Way recognised as one of our greatest
A 65 mile long circular route around the Isle of Arran on Scotland’s south west coast has been added to the ‘Scotland’s Great Trails’ network by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).
The Arran Coastal Way is the 29th Long Distance Route (LDR) to achieve this status, along with world-famous paths including the Great Glen Way and the West Highland Way. It is one of the more challenging LDRs, but the rewards for users are high.
The trail passes through ancient woodland and along sandy beaches and rocky shores, with amazing wildlife and spectacular scenery all the way around the island. The route links 12 coastal villages which offer welcoming accommodation and local food for trail users to enjoy at the end of the day, making it perfect for a week-long walking holiday. Equally, with plenty of side trips and other attractions to visit, the path is also ideal for those wanting to explore particular areas of the island.
To be included in the Scotland’s Great Trails branded network, LDRs must fulfil certain criteria. For example, each trail is at least 25 miles long and largely off-road with a clearly defined path. The routes all have a high standard of waymarking and signage in place, with a range of visitor services along the way and an online presence with information to help all kinds of visitors plan a trip.
SNH developed and champions the Scotland’s Great Trails brand to identify, improve and promote the country’s network of LDRs so they can be enjoyed by as many people as possible. Collectively the different routes provide more than 1900 miles of well managed paths from the Borders to the Highlands, offering great opportunities to explore the best of Scotland’s nature and landscapes and to experience our amazing history and culture.
The route on Arran was originally conceived in the 1990s by two local men who had a dream to create a walk around the island’s entire coastline. Several years ago the Arran Access Trust (AAT) took on responsibility for the route and, with funding from the Coastal Communities Fund, has overseen recent improvements to the path, signage and interpretation along the route.
Dr Mike Cantlay, SNH Chairman, said: “We are really pleased to be able to give this much-deserved award to the Arran Coastal Way. The Arran Access Trust has worked incredibly hard over the last few years to bring the path up to the high standards required to become one of Scotland’s Great Trails. Their vision and commitment is a shining example of what communities can achieve when they have a clear goal.
“The Arran Coastal Way is a fantastic outdoor tourism asset and one of the flagship routes in our National Walking and Cycling Network. We hope recognition as one of Scotland’s Great Trails helps to attract many more visitors to this beautiful island over the coming years.”
Malcolm Whitmore, from the Arran Access Trust said: “Arran Access Trust is delighted the Arran Coastal Way has become recognised as one of Scotland’s Great Trails. Arran has been called Scotland in miniature as the island encompasses so much of the landscapes, history, geology and wildlife of Scotland and, being only 2 hours from the centre of Glasgow, it offers unrivalled opportunity for folk to visit and enjoy island life. We believe the Arran Coastal Way is the finest walking circuit of an island anywhere in Scotland and look forward to welcoming walkers whether they are completing the whole circumnavigation of the island or exploring a taster section for a day.”
Developing the National Walking and Cycling Network and encouraging as many people as possible to enjoy using it is one of the ways the Scottish Government is aiming to achieve its 2020 Biodiversity Challenge goals. These goals include increasing participation in outdoor recreation to improve the health and quality of life of the people of Scotland.