New route could be a tourism boon

NEW WALKING ROUTE: Corrie Fee at Glen Clova, which will be incorporated into the 'Glens and Deeside Way.'
NEW WALKING ROUTE: Corrie Fee at Glen Clova, which will be incorporated into the 'Glens and Deeside Way.'

A NEW walking route covering part of the Angus Glens could bring a tourism boost to the area.

The ‘Glens and Deeside Way’ will run from Aberdeen to Pitlochry crossing Glen Clova, Glen Prosen and Glenisla covering a distance of around 106 miles.

It is estimated that the route will take six days to complete.

The route was discussed at a meeting of the infrastructure services committee as the Dispatch and Herald went to press.

Eric Lowson, director of infrastructure services, said: “By 2015 walking tourism is likely to contribute 22 per cent of the overall UK tourism revenue in Scotland.

“A similar route, the Kintyre Way, opened in 2006 - it is predicted that this walk will bring approximately 5,000 additional walkers to Kintyre each year which has the potential to generate an additional £1.3 million per annum gross tourism expenditure.

“The Glens and Deeside Way has the potential to attract a similar number of walkers and could become an important tourism asset for Angus.”

While the route will incorporate the already established Deeside Way and well-known Cateran Trail the Angus Glens will be a welcome addition to those wanting to explore more of this area.

The concept for the new walking route was developed by the ERDF Rural Tourism Support project - an east of Scotland partnership to boost tourism through food and drink, heritage, golf and outdoor activities.

Angus Council, Aberdeen City Council, Perth and Kinross Council and Outdoor Angus were all involved in drafting the route.

The first step of bringing the route to tourists and the general public will be to present it as a ‘virtual route’.

Mr Lowson continued: “The virtual route would involve developing a website with full details of the route, including map co-ordinates.

“This would also mean that the route would not have to be fully waymarked or maintained.

“There has also been interest from guide publishers such as Rucksack Readers which would be investigated.

“This approach has been taken successfully with other routes such as the Rob Roy way which was initially a virtual route, but due to it’s success managed to secure funding to become a fully waymarked route.”

As the route follows such well-known walks as the Deeside Way and Cateran Trail it is already mostly waymarked.

However, it will be marketed as a virtual wilderness route which should only be undertaken by experienced walkers with navigation skills.

As it stands the path needs little work to make it useable. One area in Angus was pinpointed as an issue but this is already marked as a planned expenditure on the Core Path Network so this will soon be resolved.

Agreement is currently being sought from all local authorities and landowners who will be affected by the path on the basis that it will be a virtual route for the time being.