A key section of the National Walking and Cycling Network, crossing part of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park has officially opened.
The walking and cycling route, which forms part of the Cross Scotland Pilgrims Way, is situated in the community owned woodland at Dalrigh, Tyndrum. It creates a circular loop from Tyndrum, allowing cyclists to bypass the A82 trunk road.
The path has been created by the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs Countryside Trust, a charitable organisation with the aim of encouraging more people to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. It has been delivered in partnership by Sustrans Scotland, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, Tactran, Forth Valley and Lomond LEADER, the Brown Forbes Memorial Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation, Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Strathfillan Community Development Trust.
The route takes in impressive views of Ben More, crossing the river Cononish with views of pine forest. Since completion in the last two months, 1446 walkers and 317 cyclists have enjoyed the new path.
Speaking at the opening, Natalie Stevenson from the Countryside Trust said: “It has long been an ambition of the communities of Tyndrum and Crianlarich to not only provide a safe access route between the two villages but also to offer new local links to nationally recognised long distance walking and cycling routes such as the West Highland Way and National cycle routes.
“ Cycling and walking improves mental and physical health, offering a low cost and low carbon alternative to other modes of transport. ”
“This ambition ties in with long term plans to create a network of paths running from the east of the National Park at St Fillans to the west at Tyndrum. This new path gives residents and visitors more opportunities for active travel, to enjoy recreational walks or bike rides or to join longer distance routes.
“We are committed to supporting local businesses and communities in achieving this ambition and are thrilled that we can now start work on the next sections around Crianlarich and Killin.”
Sustrans Scotland provided £200,000 towards the route, through its National Cycle Network Development fund, which is funded by Transport Scotland.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “The Scottish Government continues to work with a wide range of stakeholders and partners to develop and support ambitious infrastructure projects such as the new Tyndrum cycle path, encouraging more people to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.
“Cycling and walking improves mental and physical health, offering a low cost and low carbon alternative to other modes of transport. More people on bikes and walking means better air quality.
“We are spending record levels on walking and cycling which will continue for the duration of this Parliamentary term, and working with our partners, to ensure as many people as possible can enjoy the benefits of cycling and active travel.”
Sustrans Scotland Deputy Director for Behaviour Change, Kate Campbell: “As a charity which helps to encourage people to walk and cycle for more of the journeys they make every day, it is important that people across Scotland have access to a network of safe walking and cycling routes.
“We hope this path will encourage residents and visitors to discover and enjoy more of their local area.”
Gordon Watson, CEO of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park: “The creation of this new pathway in Tyndrum is another fantastic example of routes being improved or created through the National Park.
“This project was a key action in our Outdoor Recreation Plan, which also aims to improve the health of people living in and around the National Park. The new pathway contributes towards the delivery of the National Walking and Cycling Network which is a National priority for Scotland.
“Well done to the Countryside Trust for bringing everyone together for this project which will bring huge benefits to the rural communities in this area.”
The new path is suitable for cyclists, horses, buggies and walkers and includes a brand new bridge connecting the communities and businesses of Tyndrum and Crianlarich. The Countryside Trust hope to start the next section of path later this year linking the 4.5km to Crianlarich and then a further 22km to the National Cycle Network in Killin.