New Scotland End to End route is unveiled with accompanying book and BBC TV programme.
The Gore-Tex Scottish National Trail was officially launched by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond in Leith today, a new long distance route linking Kirk Yetholm in the borders with Cape Wrath in the north west of the country linking various existing long distance trails to form a single 470-mile walk.
The trail is the brainchild of longstanding walking writer and broadcaster, Cameron McNeish, and, in parlour game parlance, is both a newly published book, authored by McNeish and a television programme produced by BBC Scotland and set to be broadcast over the Christmas / New Year period.
The project, according to McNeish's own web site, 'will become one of the iconic walking routes of the world' thanks to a combination of variety and quality of walking through the Scottish landscape.
Linking Established Paths
The route, as above, links a selection of existing paths and runs from Kirk Yetholm to Edinburgh, then via canal paths to Minlgavie before heading to Aviemore and the Cairngorms before a final leg of 119 miles from Badenoch to Cape Wrath, much of it following the Cape Wrath Trail. Other trails used include St Cuthbert’s Way, the Southern Upland Way, the West Highland Way and the Rob Roy Way.
Thus far the new route has no waymarking of its own, bar new plaques to be sited at Kirk Yetholm and Cape Wrath along with one at the Water of Leith Visitor Centre in Edinburgh and the Cape Wrath Trail stretch isn't signposted at all.
In other words, for now at least, it's mostly a line on a map rather than a fully signposted national trail like England's Pennine Way, though it's a line on a map with its own book and TV programme.
The BBC Scotland quotes McNeish as saying that the unveiling of the route came at a time when Scotland was beginning a "process of re-discovery". And as an outspoken advocate of Scottish independence, it's appropriate that he should be the architect of the route.
The book, should you wish to start planning a long walk through Scotland is published by Mountain Media in hardback and priced at £20. Along with McNeish's words, there are images from top landscape photographer Richard Else.
Finally and understandably, some will be outraged at the idea of an outdoors brand 'owning' a national trail through its backing and sponsorship, even if the Gore-Tex UK offices are in Scotland. The short answer to that, we guess, is that without financial backing from Gore-Tex, the trail simply wouldn't exist.