Monday 24 June 2013

Government help for visitors to enjoy Scottish landscapes

As those of us who tour around Scotland on business it is all too true that for the visitor, even those on a short break, the journey is indeed part of the holiday. I drove down recently to Crinan Hotel and getting there in the late evening was almost as much fun as arriving at the destination

And it could be about to get a little bit better thanks to a new scheme to make the Scottish landscape more accessible – to visitors and Scots alike. The Scottish Scenic Routes initiative aims to capitalise on the fact that many of Scotland’s roads offer the ideal vantage point to admire the nation’s spectacular scenery.

The project has received £500,000, as part of the £205 million package of measures announced by the Scottish Government to support jobs and growth in Scotland.

Uniquely designed viewing platforms and viewpoints will be created at the roadside of our most scenic routes, such as the A82, to significantly improve the journey experience by creating new places to stop and enjoy Scotland’s landscapes.

Inspired by Norway’s spectacular viewpoints success story, Scotland plans to achieve a range of economic and cultural benefits by:
  • Enhancing visitors holiday experience
  • Making journeys through the landscape more enjoyable
  • Creating opportunities for young Scottish design talent to re-imagine the landscape
  • Providing job opportunities to local/rural communities
  • Attracting more visitors to spend more time enjoying the Scottish countryside
Other projects to support this initiative are already underway, such as roadside scrub tree clearance to open up spectacular views of Loch Lomond from the A82 through Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. It is also anticipated this pilot project will include a location out with the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

Selected viewpoint projects will be opened up to design competitions targeted at young Scottish architects and designers creating opportunities to exhibit their skills and creativity within our best landscapes and to an international visitor audience. It is hoped that the pilot viewpoint projects will be underway later this year.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said, “Scotland has some of the most fantastic landscapes and a high quality environment that is widely appreciated by visitors from home and abroad. We want to provide them with more engaging opportunities to fully appreciate what our great countryside has to offer.

During my recent visit to Norway, I heard of the many economic benefits of their National Tourist Routes project and believe we can build on that and do even better. I am very encouraged that some organisations are already keen to become involved and I have been delighted to receive joint proposals from Scottish Canals and Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park suggesting how to get this national initiative underway.

The future projects will create exciting opportunities and new jobs, support and showcase Scottish design talent, and also have a long lasting effect in supporting our tourism industry, putting our spectacular scenic routes more firmly on the international visitor map. This is only a start, but I am confident that, in time, we can benefit from even better image and reputation of Scotland’s stunning countryside.”

Ewan Anderson, Partner, 7N Architects, said.,  "From the moment we first heard about the Norwegian experience we recognised the opportunities inherent in the development of Scotland's tourist routes. We are delighted our own input to developing this new strategy has contributed to an initiative that can produce a positive transformation in the way Scotland’s citizens and visitors view the country's architecture and natural landscape. It is significant that the project is being launched within the Year of Natural Scotland. The pilot projects have the capacity to deliver a tangible legacy from this celebratory event and present a real opportunity to utilise the talents of Scotland’s emerging architects and designers.”

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