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South Loch Ness Trail 10 Year Anniversary

The South Loch Ness Trail was originally opened in August 2011, stretching from Loch  Tarff to Inverness. The path is 36 miles / 58 km long and follows the wilder, more  untouched south side of the loch, with varied scenery and superb views down onto the  famous waters.  

With the Great Glen Way already stretching along the north side of Loch Ness there was  an opportunity to add one additional path to link Fort Augustus with Loch Tarff,  allowing walkers to combine the two long distance routes and complete a full circuit of  Loch Ness. 

In 2018, Visit Inverness Loch Ness and SSE completed a project to add the additional  path from Fort Augustus to Loch Tarff, linking the two spectacular trails and could  officially launch the 80mile Loch Ness 360. 

To promote the launch of the trail and create a sustainable event Visit Inverness Loch  Ness planned the Loch Ness 360 Challenge to take place in 2020. Held over three days,  the event includes an ultra-marathon, three marathons and a mountain bike race. Due to the pandemic the event has been postponed until May 2022. It is expected to bring  competitors and their friends and family to the area to stay in local accommodation  and they will be encouraged to discover the destination.  

The trail had over 2,000 people pass a people counter close to Loch Tarff in the last  twelve months and the positive impact has been felt by a range of accommodation and  activity providers as well as local shops, cafes and restaurants.  

Visit Inverness Loch Ness also appointed a Loch Ness Ranger through a partnership  with Highland Council that has been in place through the summer of 2021 and had  promoted responsible behaviour from visitors and local people, whilst also providing  information and adding signage for longer term impacts.  

Visit Inverness Loch Ness will continue to support the success of the South Loch Ness Trail by marketing the route, promoting safe and responsible visits and use of local  businesses. There are also plans under way to refresh some of the original signage and  use the opportunity to promote shopping and staying local. The trail has a bright and sustainable future and is positioned well to capitalise on move to slow and responsible  tourism that is focused around local authentic experiences.  

Michael Golding, Visit Inverness Loch Ness CEO said: “With a need to move to a low carbon tourism economy and a visitor desire for authentic slow tourism experiences,  the South Loch Ness Trail is well positioned to play a key role in the future of our  destination.” 

“With the support of key stakeholders, the trail has continued to develop as has its  importance to local businesses. Likewise local people have benefitted from having  such a great opportunity for fresh air and spectacular views on their doorstep.” 

“We will continue to worse closely with partners and stakeholders to ensure the South  Loch Ness Trail and the Loch Ness 360 fulfils its potential and continues to grow from  strength to strength.” 

Chris Taylor, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director said: “I’m delighted to see  the 10th anniversary of the South Loch Ness Trails being marked.  

“These trails really are a brilliant resource for visitors and local people alike. Their  popularity helped lead to further investment to create the Loch Ness 360, and looking  ahead to 2022, stimulated major new running, cycling and walking events in the area.  

“Visitors are drawn to the Highlands for their stunning landscapes and scenery and the  trails play an important part in helping visitors to not only enjoy the area but to slow  down and stay a bit longer as well as promoting more responsible forms of tourism,  creating economic and social benefits for the region.” 

Craig Cunningham, SSE Renewables Project Manager for Bhlaraidh Wind Farm  Extension, said: “The South Loch Ness Trail has proved a tremendous success since  opening 10 years ago and SSE Renewables is proud to have been able to support its  development. The trail borders several SSE Renewables sites in the Great Glen and it  has been rewarding to see it develop into such a popular route for members of the  community and visitors to the area. Our ongoing plans for growth in the Highlands,  including wind farm extensions at Bhlaraidh and Achany South, will allow SSE  Renewables to continue to support valuable projects such as the South Loch Ness Trail  for years to come.” 

Kevin Stacey, owner and founder of 42Cycling, said: “Linking Fort Augustus back to  Inverness or vice versa, the South Loch Ness Trail has opened up access to complete a  full 360 of Loch Ness by bike. Ensuring relative safety and calm away from larger 

vehicles. Having this trail in place has been hugely beneficial to 42cycling. We offer a  super guided cycling experience on Mountain or Gravel Bike with many possibilities for  creating more varied cycling experiences. We strongly recommend cycling the full Loch  Ness 360 route taking in and linking both the Great Glen Way and the South Loch Ness  Trails as part of an 80 mile, over 3000ft of climbing spectacular Ness.” 

Links & Information 

History – https://lochness360.com/blog/story-so-far/ 

All names from images listed from left 

Image 1 – Michael Golding –Visit Inverness Loch Ness CEO, Chris Taylor VisitScotland  Regional Leadership Director, Lindsay Mackinnon TicketToRide Owner, Craig  Cunningham SSE Renewables Project Manager for Bhlaraidh Wind Farm, Graeme  Ambrose former Visit Inverness Loch Ness CEO 

Image 2 – Lindsay Mackinnon TicketToRide Owner 

Image 3 – Michael Golding –Visit Inverness Loch Ness CEO, Craig Cunningham SSE  Renewables Project Manager for Bhlaraidh Wind Farm, Chris Taylor VisitScotland  Regional Leadership Director, Graeme Ambrose former Visit Inverness Loch Ness CEO,  Lindsay Mackinnon TicketToRide Owner 

   

For further information contact:     

   

Michael Golding 

CEO 

07538022445 

michael@visitiln.com