The completion of the Great Glen Cycleway upgrade has been celebrated by Transport Minister Derek Mackay in Inverness today with the help of some local school children from Crown Primary School.
The route, from Fort William to the Highland capital, is the last leg of the Caledonia Way, National Cycle Network Route 78 and represents an investment of more than £3 million by Transport Scotland. With completion of the project, cyclists can look forward to using brand new sections of the cycleway linking the existing paths.
The route goes along the length of the Great Glen taking in some iconic scenery, on local roads, towpaths and forestry roads. It provides an alternative to the A82 trunk road in many areas and improves the transport options for tourists and those living in communities along the route.
Transport Minister, Derek Mackay said:
“The Great Glen is already a wonderful backdrop for cycling and this new cycleway will enhance that reputation further by providing an even better cycling experience from Fort William to Inverness. We want to see as many people as possible enjoying its mixture of stunning scenery, towpaths and forestry tracks.
“Not only will this development help attract more visitors to the area, it will also encourage more people in the communities along the route to use their bikes.
“As a Government, we are committed to investing in cycling infrastructure to make Scotland a more active and healthy nation and increase the numbers of people choosing to cycle each day.
“We need our partners to help us do that and this project is testament to that. The whole of the construction process has been a team effort with The Highland Council and Sustrans playing a part in the process.
“The Great Glen Cycleway, itself is also part of a wider vision and is the end section of The Caledonia Way, National Cycle Network Route 78. It is very fitting that it has been completed in the twentieth year of the National Cycle Network and I know that people will enjoy it for many more years to come.”
John Lauder, Sustrans Scotland National Director, said:
“We’re delighted that the Great Glen Cycleway, which showcases some of Scotland’s finest scenery, is now completed and is already being well-used by visitors and locals alike.
“The cycleway forms a crucial part of the Caledonia Way which stretches all the way from Campbeltown to Inverness, connecting many communities along the way and enabling people to make every day journeys on foot or bike.
“The National Cycle Network, now in its twentieth year, stands out as a significant asset for Scotland. Not only does it give people improved travel choices; it also makes a huge economic contribution to Scotland. Last year the Network carried over 120 million journeys, with the health and tourism benefits valued at hundreds of millions of pounds.”
Convenor of The Highland Council, Councillor Isobel McCallum said:
“Cycling in the UK has seen a huge increase in popularity in recent years and as one of the best areas of the country for cycle touring the Highlands benefits from this. However the lack of alternatives to the main road in some areas such as the Great Glen has not always been conducive to safe and pleasant cycling.
“The opening of this new route through the Great Glen that takes cyclists off the busy A82 is therefore a welcome addition to the range of routes in the area that will clearly bring benefits to businesses along the route as well as giving a much better experience to our visitors.”
Source: Scottish Government