This spring will see the completion of key upgrades to cross-country cycle route the Caledonia Way, which stretches from Campbeltown to Inverness, through Oban and Fort William, covering 237 miles.
The route should be ready for the tourist season but it's also connecting communities along the route as part of Scotland's National Cycle Network (NCN), which is estimated to bring in hundreds of millions of pounds from cycle tourism and home users.
Sustrans’ figures show that in 2014 the estimated spend of tourists on the NCN was £126 million in 2014, while the value of home-based spending was £249 million.
Ahead of the upgrade completion, Sustrans Scotland has issued a video to promote the route:
“The new and improved Caledonia Way will be a fantastic addition to Scotland’s cycle-tourism offer," said John Lauder, Sustrans Scotland national director. "Given Scotland’s growing National Cycle Network and breath-taking scenery, it’s not hard to see why cycle tourism and leisure tourism are valued at hundreds of millions of pounds. The Caledonia Way will make a fantastic addition to this growing industry.
“The route will also enable local people to get active by making those everyday journeys by bike – whether it’s the commute to work or school, a trip to the shops, or to visit friends."
Derek Mackay, Minister for Transport & Islands said: “This new route will bring multiple benefits to rural communities in the area and will help promote active travel across the country.
“For the past two years we have invested record amounts into active travel – £78.4m in total. And this shows that everyone benefits - local residents, local businesses, tourists – not to mention the health and wellbeing of everyone who will use this new route. I look forward to seeing this route, including the Great Glen Cycleway, becoming one of our flagship routes and welcoming record number of bike users to the area.”
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “From the tranquillity of Campbeltown to the ‘outdoor capital of the UK’, the completion of the Caledonia Way improvements will allow our visitors to experience the beauty of Scotland’s undulating west-coast landscape on two wheels.
“Scotland is world-renowned for being one of the best destinations for cycling tourism and this final stage in improvements presents a huge opportunity for the local visitor economy to grow. From restaurants to accommodation providers, businesses can capitalise on this year-long leisure pursuit as we encourage visitors to ‘get on their bike’ and explore our stunning country.”