The first voluntary contribution programme of its kind on a Scottish Long Distance route, that reinvests funds received back into the route, was introduced this week (Monday 9th July 2007) on the Great Glen Way.
The simple idea of a voluntary contribution programme was initially brought up at a business workshop held in late 2006, organised by the Great Glen Way Management Team. For the success of the programme it was deemed crucial that all donations from Great Glen Way Route users would be reinvested for route improvements.
Lynda Dodd, Great Glen Way Route Manager said: “We have known for some time that walkers and other route users want to donate to the improvements of the Great Glen Way, but have been unsure how this could happen and ensure that the money donated would be used for projects on the Great Glen Way. This programme allows the community and route users to have a say and donate to projects that affect them the most. The overall ambition is to have everyone working together to improve the Great Glen visitor experience. I believe that this Voluntary Contribution Programme is a huge step towards achieving this goal.”
Lynda added: “There are several elements that make this donations programme different and new to other similar programmes. The funds collected are receipted and ring fenced for each project; they are also held over from one year to the next and are guaranteed for the chosen project.
“Also, the route user chooses the projects and the person or business donating funds can choose the project they would like the funds to go toward. Currently there is a choice of three projects, which have been identified from feedback in a walkers’ and route users’ annual questionnaire.”
The first project will see sixteen new seats installed on the Great Glen Way at various view points, sheltered spots or other appropriate places. Provision of more seats is one of the main concerns of route users.
Removing a section of the Great Glen Way off a road onto vehicular-free path will be the second project. This will be the first of five sections of the route that have been identified as possible sections to be removed from roads.
Trail Blazers Rest is the third project to receive donations. This project is for those route users looking for more than just a walk or cycle along the Great Glen Way. By providing a bio toilet, picnic tables and a basic shelter, this project will allow route users to spend a night under the stars in relative comfort. Although the Trail Blazers Rest is not on the route directly, it will be available for bikers and walkers to enjoy.
The Great Glen Way route, which spans 73 miles/117km between Fort William and Inverness, can be walked in 5-6 days. For further information or to make a donation contact: Lynda Dodd, Great Glen Way Route Manager on tel: 01320 366 633, or see the Great Glen Way website at: www.greatglenway.com