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Funding has been secured to develop a five kilometre path extension to the John Muir Way that will take walkers and cyclists up on to the Kilpatrick Hills.
Partners, sportscotland, Scottish National Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland have funded the £492,000 project to provide an upland and wilderness section to the 134 mile coast to coast route from Helensburgh to Dunbar.
The new path extension will provide an alternative to the Balloch to Carbeth section of the John Muir Way which runs on a public road and footpath. Through the Kilpatrick Hills, the new path will offer visitors a more enjoyable walking experience.
Stuart Chalmers, District Forester, Forestry Commission Scotland comments: “This is a really exciting development for the John Muir Way. Our plan is to create this new link in Kilpatrick Hills which are an expansive hill range that tower above Dumbarton and Clydebank.
“People enjoy visiting for the amazing views, sense of space, rugged beauty and wildlife. All of these qualities reflect what John Muir was all about, which is why we’re delighted to be part of this project.”
The John Muir Way opened in April 2014 as a new long distance walking and cycling route, offering visitors the chance to enjoy the landscape, nature and wildlife of central Scotland. It celebrates the values of Scottish-born American naturalist, John Muir.
Ron McCraw, John Muir Way Development Manager, Scottish Natural Heritage said: “This key route improvement has always been the preferred option and is well supported by the public, local groups and businesses.
“Now with funding secured, we can re-direct the route through the Kilpatrick Hills and give users a great upland and wilderness experience within Central Scotland. The existing low level route, which makes some use of the West Highland Way, will still be available as an easier option.”
Louise Martin, Chair of sportscotland said “We are delighted to award £200,000 from the Active Places Fund and the Sports Facility Fund to this wonderful initiative that will take walkers and cyclists up to the Kilpatrick Hills and help them enjoy a wonderful part of the country.
“sportscotland is committed to providing more and better opportunities for people to take part in sport and physical activity and we view the John Muir Way as a key part of this commitment.”
The new path extension will deliver on the Scottish Government’s aspirations as part of the Central Scotland Green Network action plan, part of a 40 year initiative with a remit to change the face of Central Scotland. The vision is to restore and improve the rural and urban landscape of the area, for communities and local businesses to prosper.
Construction is due to start on the new path this week and is expected to be completed by May 2015.
To find out more on the Kilpatrick Hills visit: www.forestry.gov.uk/kilpatrickhills
Notes to Editors
1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment & forestry Directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland
2. For news, events and recreation information log on to: www.facebook.com/enjoyscotlandsforests or https://twitter.com/FCScotlandNews
3. Tha FCS pàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba; a' riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìon, a' cumail smachd air, agus a' leudachadh choilltean gus buannachdan a choileanadh dha coimhearsnachdan, dhan eaconamaidh agus ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh sa ghnàth-shìde. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland