MSP launches the Great Scottish Trail

MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT  STEWART STEVENSON (L) WITH SCOTTISH NATURAL HERITAGE CEO IAN JARDINE  STEP ASIDE TO LET SOME CYCLISTS PASS ON THE FORMARTINE-BUCHAN TRAIL. (DUNCAN BROWN)
MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT STEWART STEVENSON (L) WITH SCOTTISH NATURAL HERITAGE CEO IAN JARDINE STEP ASIDE TO LET SOME CYCLISTS PASS ON THE FORMARTINE-BUCHAN TRAIL. (DUNCAN BROWN)

walkers and cyclists joined local MSP and Minister for the Enivronment Stewart Stevenson for a walk along the Formartine and Buchan Way last week.

For the first time, the best of Scotland’s long distance paths are being promoted as a suite of trails, known as Scotland’s Great Trails. Stretching from the Borders to the Highlands, the 20 trails provide 1,300 miles of scenic, high quality paths around the country.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is behind the initiative to inspire more people to use the routes for short as well as long trips, helping promote them as a great way to discover more of Scotland by foot, bike and horseback.

Mr Stevenson himself stepped out for a short walk on the Formartine and Buchan Way, a 53-mile trail which runs from the north of Aberdeen to Peterhead and Fraserburgh.

Commenting on the initiative, he said: “Enjoying the great outdoors is hugely important to our health and wellbeing. It also plays a major role in Scotland’s economy, particularly as a destination for tourism.

“We are very fortunate in this country to have so many long trails running through some fantastic landscapes from our world-renowned walks to more hidden treasures.

“It’s entirely appropriate that these trails be promoted to as many people as possible, for shorter outings as much as the more serious long distance trips. The benefits of enjoying the outdoors are well documented, and this is an excellent way to reap those benefits.”

To help people make more of Scotland’s Great Trails, SNH and VisitScotland have produced a handy guide featuring short trips on all 20 long distance routes.

Ian Jardine, SNH chief executive said: “There is something for everyone in these trails. You can follow rivers from their source to the sea.

“You can immerse yourself in history, travel along old transport routes and find peace and quiet in wild, rugged landscapes.”

Limited copies are available from the Station Hotel in Maud, the Happy Plant Garden Centre in Mintlaw, and Duncan’s Cycles in Peterhead.