A long-distance walk around the Isle of Arran is set to join the famous West Highland Way and Great Glen Way as one of Scotland’s top hiking trails.
The Arran Coastal Way, a 65-mile circular route officially opened in 2003, has been added to Scotland’s acclaimed Great Trails network by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).
To be classed among the Great Trails, a route must be at least 25 miles long and largely off-road with a clearly defined path and good signage.
The Arran trail was originally conceived in the 1990s by two local men who had a dream to create a walk around the island’s entire coastline.
The Arran Access Trust (AAT) later took on responsibility for the route and has overseen recent improvements to the path and signage, with support from the Coastal Communities Fund.
Together the Arran Coastal Way and the 28 other recognised long-distance walks cover a total of 1,900 miles around Scotland.
SNH Chair Dr Mike Cantlay said recognition of the iconic island route is ”much-deserved”.
He added: “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 shared vision.
“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 that this great trail will encourage many more people to head out and enjoy our nature and landscapes.”
Malcolm Whitmore, from AAT, said trust members are “delighted” the path has been included in Scotland’s Great Trails.
“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,” he added.
Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “It’s fantastic to see the Arran Coastal Way added to Scotland’s Great Trail network, which brings together world-renowned walks and hidden treasures to promote our great outdoors.
“I have no doubt that the Arran Coastal Way will encourage many tourists to visit the island and enjoy the spectacular scenery it has to offer.”