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20 October, 2016

Scotland’s Great Trail recognition for Argyll’s Cowal Way

The 57 mile long Cowal Way in Argyll will be awarded ‘Scotland’s Great Trail’ status by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) at a ceremony in Glendaruel this weekend (Saturday 22nd).

The Cowal Way is the 28th Long Distance Route (LDR) to be given the accolade, along with world-famous paths including the Great Glen Way and the West Highland Way. One of Scotland’s most diverse LDRs, the Cowal Way offers visitors beautiful coastlines, dramatic scenery, engaging heritage and plenty of wildlife.

LDRs must fulfil a list of criteria to receive the prestigious award. For example, each trail is at least 25 miles long and largely off-road with a clearly defined path. The routes all have a high standard of waymarking and signage in place, with a range of visitor services along the way and an online presence with detailed information to help all kinds of visitors plan a visit or trip.

SNH developed and champions Scotland’s Great Trails to identify, improve and promote the country’s network of LDRs so they can be enjoyed by as many people as possible. Collectively the different routes provide over 1700 miles of well managed paths from the Borders to the Highlands, offering great opportunities to explore the best of Scotland's nature and landscapes and to experience our amazing history and culture.

Ian Ross, SNH Chairman, said: “We are delighted to be able to give this much-deserved award to the Cowal Way. We have been really impressed with the recent improvements and the trail is another excellent outdoor tourism asset for Scotland. With shorelines, hills, forests and lochs, the Cowal Way has views for everyone and whether you come to walk the full 57 miles, or pick a section for a Sunday stroll, you won’t be disappointed. We hope the award helps to attract many more visitors to Cowal over the coming years.”

The Cowal Way was established in 2000 to help create employment and to boost the local economy. Over the last two years almost half a million pounds awarded by the Coastal Communities Fund has been invested in improving the path and meeting the criteria required to achieve Scotland’s Great Trail status.

Jim McLuckie, creator of the trail and a trustee of Colintraive & Glendaruel Development Trust, which manages the path, said: “The majority of funds have been allocated to improving the path infrastructure, including clearing vegetation, addressing drainage issues, building timber walkways and bridges, installing multi-user gates, and surfacing along parts of the path.

“We have also invested in a new brand identity, a much improved website, an innovative mobile app, and updating our Guide Book. We have installed people and cycle counters to help us to measure path usage. This season we have seen significant increases of all types of users, including locals, UK and overseas visitors, walkers, runners, cyclists and horse riders.”

The majority of funding for this community project has been kindly provided by the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF), which is administered by the Big Lottery in Scotland with awards decided by an Independent Panel. The aim of this programme is to encourage the economic development of UK coastal communities by giving funding to create sustainable economic growth and jobs. Stephen Leitch, the Glasgow-based funding officer for CCF said “the Cowal Way demonstrates a positive fit with the priorities for CCF in Scotland. We are more than happy with how the project has progressed so far and look forward to seeing how the project delivers planned benefits over time.”

Jim said: “With our improvement programme almost complete, we now believe we have one of the best LDRs in Scotland, if not Europe. We call the Cowal Way ‘Scotland in 57 miles’ because visitors can experience the best Scotland has to offer, including very friendly locals! From Portavadie on Loch Fyne to Inveruglas at Loch Lomond, the path passes through the Cowal’s key communities, bringing a much needed economic boost to this fragile but beautiful area.”

Notes to editors

  1. Cowal is part of Argyll, located in the south west of the Highlands of Scotland. The area is very dependent on tourism as a source of employment and income.
  2. Further information about the Cowal Way is available at the Cowal Way website
  3. Colintraive and Glendaruel Development Trust is a Company Limited by Guarantee (SC350010), and also has charitable status (SC040002). The Trust, managed by local volunteers, manages a wide portfolio of community projects covering diverse areas such as tourism (e.g. Cowal Way), utilities (e.g. community broadband), land resources (e.g. managing a local forest), and much, much more.
  4. Scotland's Great Trails (SGTs) are nationally promoted trails for people-powered journeys. For more details of Scotland’s Great Trails, including the routes that make up the network, visit
  5. For further details about the Coastal Communities Fund please click the link

Cowal Way contact

Stewart Miller, Cowal Way Project Mgr Mob: 07774 926245 Email:

Contact information

Dominic Shann
Job Title
Media Relations Officer
01463 725157

NatureScot is Scotland's nature agency. We work to enhance our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. Our priority is a nature-rich future for Scotland and an effective response to the climate emergency. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

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Coway Way - Scotland's Great Trails: Cowal Way - Scotland's Great Trails.

Coway Way - Scotland's Great Trails

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Coway Way - Scotland's Great Trails: Cowal Way - Scotland's Great Trails.

Coway Way - Scotland's Great Trails

View | Download

Coway Way - Scotland's Great Trails: Cowal Way - Scotland's Great Trails.

Coway Way - Scotland's Great Trails

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