Issued by Highlands and Islands Enterprise on behalf of the Glencoe and Glen Etive Community Company
The Glencoe and Glen Etive Community Company has announced that construction work on a major section of the Glencoe Orbital Recreational Track began earlier this month.
Having received an offer of full funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), and also with the support and encouragement from Glencoe landowners, the work is expected to last around three months and will be carried out in one continuous operation.
The main contractor for the job is Fion Construction of Fort William supervised by Claire Thomson Consulting Engineers of Glencoe.
This new section of the Orbital Recreational Track will generally follow the line of Glencoe Old Road and will connect both the village and Forestry Commission Lochan tracks, to the National Trust for Scotland's network of trails in and around An Torr and Signal Rock.
Dave Smith, Chairman Glencoe and Glen Etive Community Company said: "After many years of hard work The Community Company are extremely pleased that this project will finally be brought to fruition. The Company would like to thank all the local community groups for their support. The new low level walking routes to be provided by the Glencoe Orbital Recreational Track will bring lots of pleasure over the years to come to young and old alike and hopefully to all ability users.”
The new track will also link to the existing route that follows Clachaig burn and then crosses the River Coe to An Torr car park, site of the former NTS Visitor Centre. Here there already exists a further track leading up to Achnambeith along the south side of the River Coe. All this means the village of Glencoe will be connected by track, most of which will be off road, to Wade’s Road going through to the upper reaches of the Glen.
In addition to providing much needed easy walking for young and old alike in the lower reaches of the Glen, this new section of the Orbital Track will also provide mainly traffic free walking to and from the village for residents along Glencoe Old Road together with all those staying at the busy hostels, camp site, chalet parks and hotel.
Along with the substantial long-term support contribution and funding from HIE, other agencies including Leader Plus, Highland Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and the National Trust for Scotland have also provided financial support from time to time over the years.
Scott Dingwall, HIE’s Head of Regional Development, said: “HIE has been delighted to support the hard work and dedication of the community as they have developed this project. This investment will provide improved access for locals and visitors alike and is sympathetic to the natural beauty and heritage of Glencoe and Glen Etive.”
This funding, coupled with encouragement and advice from all agencies, has allowed Glencoe and Glen Etive Community Company to maintain a close working partnership with National Trust for Scotland and Forestry Commission Scotland to take forward the joint aim of creating the Glencoe Orbital Recreational Track.
In addition to the Orbital Recreational Track, the project also includes for creating link tracks from Glencoe to its neighbouring communities. Work on these links will follow on completion of the Orbital Recreational Track. One link, however, is already in place in the form of the recently completed cycle track linking the two villages of Ballachulish and Glencoe and the Oban Fort William Sustrans cycle route.
Once this new section of the Glencoe Orbital Recreational Track has been completed alongside Glencoe Old Road this will leave just one section of the Orbital Route to be completed to make it truly orbital. This will be the National Trust for Scotland track that will follow the line of the A82 and link the An Torr car park with the NTS Visitor Centre by Inveriggan. The Centre is already connected by track to Glencoe Crossroads. The National Trust for Scotland Team in Glencoe are actively seeking funding for this last vital link.