A CYCLE route which is said to offer some of the most breathtaking scenery Scotland has to offer will be officially opened later this year.
The Caledonia Way, which connects Campbeltown to Fort William, is being upgraded as part of a wider redevelopment of the country’s National Cycle Network, with work expected to be completed in the spring.
It follows a new £3 million route from Fort William to Inverness through the Great Glen, which links established paths, and opened in October.
Sustrans Scotland today unveiled a video which highlights some of the scenery which can be enjoyed along the Caledonia Way.
“The new and improved Caledonia Way will be a fantastic addition to Scotland’s cycle network. Given our breathtaking scenery, it’s not hard to see why cycle tourism and leisure tourism are valued at hundreds of millions of pounds,” said John Lauder, Sustrans Scotland national director.
Cycling tourism is a growing market and foreign visitors were estimated to have spent £126 million north or the border in 2014.
“The route will also enable local people to get active by making those everyday journeys by bike – whether it’s the commute to work or school, a trip to the shops, or to visit friend,” added Lauder.
Transport minister Derek Mackay said the new route would bring multiple benefits to rural communities in the area.
“For the past two years we have invested record amounts into active travel – £78.4m in total,” he said. “And this shows that everyone benefits - local residents, local businesses, tourists – not to mention the health and wellbeing of everyone who will use this new route.”
The Caledonia Way upgrade involved construction of traffic-free paths for walking and cycling between Oban and Fort William, which commenced in 2007 and will be finished in the spring.
Mike Cantlay, VisitScotland chairman, said: “From the tranquillity of Campbeltown to Fort William, the completion of the Caledonia Way improvements will allow our visitors to experience the beauty of Scotland’s undulating west-coast landscape on two wheels.
“Scotland is world-renowned for being one of the best destinations for cycling tourism and this final stage in improvements presents a huge opportunity for the local visitor economy to grow. From restaurants to accommodation providers, businesses can capitalise on this year-long leisure pursuit as we encourage visitors to ‘get on their bike’ and explore our stunning country.”