The Kintyre Way, long distance walking route, is set to receive £150,000 over the next three years which will allow upgrading and ongoing publicity work to continue. The funding includes contributions from Scottish Natural Heritage, Argyll and the Islands Leader, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Argyll and Bute Council and the East and West Kintyre Windfarm Trusts.
The funds will allow more of the 88 mile route, which runs from Tarbert to Southend, to become off road. Recent improvements mean that most of the route now runs along paths and forestry tracks, however the section from Campbeltown to Machrinhanish still runs along a fairly busy road, and is sometimes missed out by walkers keen to avoid too much tarmac. There are also some short sections where the opposite problem, boggy ground, will be improved through path maintenance.
The funds will also allow improved marketing of the route, the setting up of a volunteer group to help manage the Kintyre Way and biodiversity projects covering the length of Kintyre.
One of the biodiversity projects will be the Kintyre Way Big Cat survey where locals and visitors alike will be asked to report sightings of big cats along the Kintyre Way. Once the hot spots are identified the plan is to install some infra red cameras along the route and resolve once and for all the continuing mystery of the Kintyre Big Cats. Kintyre Way project officer, Owen Paisley is keen to hear of any new sightings and can be contacted via the Kintyre Way website.
The Kintyre Way has quickly gained popularity and is boosting tourism in this relatively undiscovered part of Scotland. In 2008 around 500 people walked the route bringing an estimated £100 000 into the Kintyre economy. Eventually it is hoped that 4000 people a year will walk the route, which will potentially inject almost a million pounds a year into Kintyre. To read a full description and see photos (but no big cat sightings yet!) of the route at Walkhighlands click here.