A scenic new coastal walking trail, taking in the dramatic clifftop scenery of Scotland’s most southerly point, is set to be created.
The 64-mile Rhins of Galloway Coast Path will run from the Mull of Galloway to Loch Ryan.
It will link into the existing Mull of Galloway trail to create an 83-mile circular route around the peninsula.
It is being developed as part of a move aimed at inspiring people to explore and enjoy the rich natural and cultural heritage of the peninsula.
As well as spectacular natural landscapes, the area has a strong connection with the foundations of Christianity.
It is home to the Kirkmadrine Stones and three of the oldest Christian memorials in Scotland, dating from 500AD.
Its cliffs, sheltered coves and beaches, with views to Ireland, the Isle of Man and Ailsa Craig, also provide habitats for a number of important wild flowers and nesting seabirds such as guillemots, razorbills, fulmars and kittiwakes.
The new route will be developed by connecting and repairing existing paths along the coastline as well as introducing new trails, signage, viewpoints, seating and interpretation for visitors.
Communities along the route will be encouraged to get involved through a programme of arts, photography, song-writing and wildlife activities.
Local volunteers will also be trained to record and monitor local archaeological sites and help maintain the path.
The £1.1 million project is going ahead after being awarded £662,800 of funding from the National Lottery.
Archie Dryburgh, chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s economy, environment and infrastructure committee, has welcomed the grant and the opening up of access to the area.
“Dumfries and Galloway is such a beautiful part of the country, with so much scenery and nature around us,” he said.
“We are delighted with the announcement of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It will enable a beautiful new walking route to be developed in the Rhins of Galloway.
“It is such a spectacular part of our region, which we will be able to share with lots of visitors who will get to experience the beauty of our region for themselves.
“Building our local economy is a priority for our council, so this funding will allow us to invest in the unique heritage and beauty we have on our doorstep and promote it to more visitors, who can come and enjoy what we have to offer here in Dumfries and Galloway.”
Lucy Casot, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “The Rhins of Galloway is to a large extent unexplored by many, yet it’s scenery is spectacular.
“Thanks to players of the National Lottery, we’re delighted to support a project which will encourage people of all ages and abilities to get outdoors and experience the beauty of this area.
“What’s good for the local tourist economy is also good for the soul.”
The recently completed Whithorn Way, a 149-mile walking trail following a traditional pilgrimage route, is also in the region.
It runs between Glasgow and the historical town of Whithorn, thought to be one of the oldest in Scotland.