Cycling Scotland: New coast-to-coast 250-mile bicycle route opens this summer
Early projections forecast that it could attract up to 175,000 visitors to the region, with a direct spend of £13.7 million a year.
The launch of the new cycle path will come just ahead of the UCI Cycling World Championships, which is set to be held in Scotland this August.
In keeping with local history, the route’s name has been inspired by Kirkpatrick Macmillan, the 19th-century Dumfriesshire blacksmith who is generally cited as the person who invented the first pedal-driven velocipede.
Gordon Smith, from VisitScotland, described the Kirkpatrick C2C as a “fantastic addition” to the region’s “already strong cycling offer”.
"There has never been a better time to experience cycling in Scotland,” he said. "With new cycling initiatives and experiences being created right across the country, such as the Kirkpatrick C2C, promoting cycling and helping businesses cater for this growing market will benefit communities right across the region and beyond.”
The new coast-to-coast path will be available to anyone wishing to use it at any point.
Targeting experienced road cyclists, however, the Kirkpatrick C2C offers either the eight-day “explorer” approach or the four-day “challenger” approach.
The former takes cyclists across the country in eight stages, with daily cycling distances varying from 21 miles (Newcastleton to Hawick) to 51 miles (Dumfries to Newcastleton).
The latter approach can be done over four days, starting with a 74-mile stretch from Stranraer to Kirkcudbright and finishing with a 59-mile ride from Selkirk to Eyemouth.
But for those not wanting to go the full hog, shorter day trips are available between locations along the route, with details available on VisitScotland’s website.
Comprehensive information about and including itineraries, route maps, key landmarks and places to stay, eat, drink and visit along the Kirkpatrick C2C route will also be published on the travel guide website Scotland Starts Here.
David Hope-Jones, chief executive of South of Scotland Destination Alliance, a marketing firm and one of the project’s leaders, said the initiative involved working closely with businesses to make the most of the cycle tourism the path is projected to bring.
Businesses along the new route have said they are preparing for an influx of new visitors in the months ahead.
Romano Petrucci, chairman of the Stranraer Development Trust, based at one end of the new cycle route, said: "We are delighted and excited to have been chosen as the starting point for the KC2C experience. Our hope is that visitors and cyclists alike will take time to explore our hidden gem here in the south-west corner of Scotland, and we are very confident they will love what they see and look to return again and again."
The KC2C starts in Stranraer on the hammerhead peninsula known as the Rhins of Galloway and ends on the Berwickshire coast in the small town of Eyemouth.
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