The North Highland Initiative (NHI) has created Scotland’s version of ‘Route 66’ aimed at opening a fresh tourist market in northern parts of the country.
NC500, as it’s to be known, is expected to attract cyclists and walkers, as well as car and motorbike enthusiasts, from all over the country to visit the Scottish Highlands and enjoy the stunning scenery around Caithness.
The route will run from Inverness to the Kyle of Lochalsh on the West Coast via the dramatic northern scenery at John O’Groats, then heads down the east coast before finally completing the loop at Inverness.
Travellers will be able to enjoy links to Scotland’s natural heritage and scenery coupled with celebrations of cuisine - particularly important during the Year of Food and Drink. Accommodation, retail, arts and crafts and attractions in the region will also be a key part of the route and will give tourists the opportunity to experience the country’s natural larder and warm hospitality and traditions.
David Whiteford, Chairman of NHI, said that NC500 was the north Highlands’ most exciting development for some time. He said:
“Across the globe, touring routes have become famous and are often the very reason for visitors making the journey to that country.
“We have, in the north Highlands, an opportunity to create a globally significant route that captures the essence of the wonderful landscapes and seascapes, people, stories, culture, history, adventures, food and drink and much more”.
The Chairman of VisitScotland, Mike Cantlay, has also shown his support of NC500; comparing its expected success to Route 66 in America and the Great Ocean Road in Australia. Mr Cantlay said that these famous routes have the ability to generate millions of Pounds towards the economy and attract tourists from around the globe. He added:
“From our enchanting wildlife and countless historic attractions to magnificent mountains, dramatic lochs and sandy beaches, the Highlands is a true touring paradise. There really is nothing quite like the open road.
“People travel from all over the world for Route 66, and with our scenery, there’s no reason NC500 can’t prove to be just as popular”.
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