Scottish Scenic Routes is a Government initiative to significantly improve the experience of locals and visitors by making the most of spectacular views on main tourist routes around the country. The aim is to encourage people to break their journey, enjoy a new perspective on a well-loved view – and boost the local economy.
The route round Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is the first to be launched. The pilot project takes in the three viewpoints which were designed by the cream of young Scottish architects as part of a nationwide design competition, attracting over 100 entries. A fourth viewpoint is to follow later this year.
Off the A82 south of Crianlarich, a woven tunnel of steel rods at the Falls of Falloch, designed by John Kennedy, leads the visitor down a walkway dappled with light. On the final turn it widens to reveal a dramatic framed view of the waterfall from on high. The roar of the water, captured by the open mouth of “Woven Sound”, inspired Dorothy Wordsworth, sister of the Romantic poet William, to write the lines that are etched on the viewing platform.
A journey down the tiny single track road off the A84 south of Lochearnhead, leads you to “Lookout” in Balquhidder glen by Daniel Tyler and Angus Ritchie. The mirrored cabin sits on a narrow strip of land between Loch Voil and Loch Doine, reflecting and framing the water, mountains and glens that surround it. Visitors can contemplate the beauty of the area from two benches built into the structure.
At the south end of Loch Lubnaig, further down the A84 towards Callander, is Ruairidh Moir’s “Sloc Nan Sitheanach” or the Faerie Hollow. Nestled among the trees, a hideaway of wood and turf, planted with wild flowers, provides a peaceful place to sit and savour the views across the loch to Ben Ledi.
Further Scottish Scenic Routes pilot projects will be rolled out in the Cairngorms National Park and on Scottish Canals' sites along the A82 in the coming year. A national programme will follow, bringing benefits to many more scenic areas.
Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "Scotland's breath-taking scenery is hugely admired across the world, and it is only right that we create as many opportunities as we can for people to experience it first-hand.
"Innovative viewpoints in areas of outstanding scenery will enhance the appreciation of Scotland's landscapes and enrich journeys for both residents and visitors. It will also support rural economy and employment by creating additional interest and driving more people to the areas.
"We have some top architectural talent in Scotland and these new sites have provided a great opportunity for young architects to showcase their talents.
"These three viewpoints build and capitalise on what is an already famously beautiful landscape and I look forward to visiting.”
Gordon Watson, Director of Operations at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park added: “We tend to drive along the road to our destinations without realising that just beyond those trees or round that corner is an unforgettable view. This project is about celebrating those journeys and providing appealing, well designed viewpoints that become must-visit destinations, as well as showcasing our young design talent to an international visitor audience. We hope they will inspire people to pause, enjoy and take time to explore some of our most beautiful landscapes.”
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said: “I’m delighted to see this ambitious new tourism initiative get underway during this Year of Homecoming Scotland. These pilot projects demonstrate how we can really make more of the great journeys through our country’s world famous landscapes by creating these beautiful viewpoints. The aspiration is to create many more of these across Scotland over the coming years so that we can enhance the promotion of our scenic tourist routes and bring benefits and opportunities to local visitor economies.”
Craig Mitchell, Managing Director of MacDonald Hotel & Resorts said: “Since the Park Authority first came up with this idea, local tourism businesses have been right behind it. The project really helps to show off our beautiful scenery and will bring more visitors to enjoy these places. As a design competition judge, the idea and innovation shown by entrants has been truly inspiring and it’s a delight to see these first installations in place.”