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Highland groups take part in National Long Distance Route Week (29/07/09)
Six support groups in the Highlands took part in National Long Distance Route Week this summer with the help of the Great Glen Way Rangers, Forestry Commission Scotland and funding from Awards for All.
Around 60 people from Action for Children; Highland Homeless Trust; Key Housing; The Bridge, Inverness; Woman’s Aid and Sense Scotland took part in a choice of activities including walking, cycling, horse riding, fishing, canoeing and picnicking.
The aim of National Long Distance Route Week, June (22nd -28th), is to introduce the paths to people who don’t normally use the Great Glen Way and showcase how easy it is to get into the countryside for enjoyment.
The events organised by the Great Glen Way Rangers and Forestry Commission Scotland took place at several locations in the Great Glen including towpaths, Loch Oich and Aberchalder.
Lynda Dodd, Great Glen Way Route Manager said: “Long Distance Routes in Scotland when conceived over 30 years ago were aimed at getting people living in large cities out into the countryside who wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to access the countryside positively. As a Ranger team, we feel that ethos is as pertinent now as it was then and so we’ve taken it one step further and targeted support groups in our community.
“It’s been well documented that positive experience in the countryside helps with physical health and well being, mental health and even self esteem. These groups were targeted because we felt that they would benefit most from this week of activities.”
Stuart Findlay of Forestry Commission Scotland said “We have a long history of working well with The Highland Council on the Great Glen Way and on this project we were delighted to get involved in the fishing events during the week.
“Fishing is an activity that can provide people, (especially those with potentially challenging behaviour) a chance to try a calm and reflective countryside activity. These types of events have worked well in the Central Belt of Scotland and this week have proven that they work just as well with children in the Highlands.”
Gordon Fleming of Highland Homeless Trust said: “It was a great day and our group were talking about it all the way home. One member phoned his key worker as soon as he got home to say what a great day he'd had.”
Lynda Dodd added: “It was a busy week for all involved but immensely rewarding for everyone too. The project was only possible due to £2,484 funding from Awards for All. The week was a team effort not only from the Great Glen Way Rangers and what was put in before hand, but with additional support from Highland Council’s Outdoor Education Team and Mother Care Inverness who provided all-terrain buggies for families from Woman’s Aid free of charge, and numerous business that provided activities on the days.”
Managed by The Highland Council, the Great Glen Way is one of Scotland’s four Official National Long Distance Routes and the 73 mile long route generates approximately £1 million per year to the local economy in the Great Glen.
For further information please contact: Lynda Dodd, Great Glen Way Route Manager, Great Glen Way Rangers, The Highland Council, Planning and Development Service tel: 01320 366633