SCOTLAND’S new end to end walking route to or from Yetholm will be officially opened at the end of the month.
The 470-mile hike – the country’s longest way – will be launched by Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond in Edinburgh on Tuesday, October 30.
Writer and broadcaster, Cameron McNeish, who created the route, said: “For some time I have believed passionately that Scotland should have a long-distance trail that ran the length of the country.
“I also wanted to walk through my own country of birth, simply to get to know it better, to weigh up aspects of its character and culture, to remind myself of its history and factions, its nuances and its remarkable diversity of landscape at a time when Scotland is beginning a process of rediscovery and seriously examining the question of independence.
“I wanted to rediscover my country for myself, especially those areas that I wasn’t so familiar with, and in doing so walked a route that I believe can stand comparison with the best walking routes anywhere in the world.”
The Scottish National Trail is being sponsored by Gore-Tex Footwear and the waterproof fabric manufacturer’s name will appear on waymarkers along the route. The trail will take in parts of the St Cuthbert’s Way and Southern Upland Way in its southern section of 81 miles from Kirk Yetholm to Edinburgh. The trail will also follow several core paths around villages and towns.
Mr McNeish said earlier this year: “I’ve been able to make full use of these paths in various parts of the country, particularly around Peebles and the Pentlands, in the Trossachs around Aberfoyle and in Badenoch.
After Edinburgh, the national trail will make its way for 51 miles to Milngavie, along the Union and Forth and Clyde Canals. The central Highland section, between Milngavie and Aviemore, will account for 125 miles, incorporating the West Highland Way and the Rob Roy Way. The final route from Badenoch to Cape Wrath will be 119 miles, including the Cape Wrath Trail.
Mr McNeish has co-authored a book about the route called Scotland End to End.
Gore-Tex’s Willie Fletcher said “The trail will provide local, national and international walkers with a fantastic experience.
“We are proud our support has helped this project come to fruition and hope it will help to increase tourism and help the economies of the remote towns, villages and settlements that the route runs through.”