Last Wednesday night the combined Community Council meeting in the URC hall, under the Chair of Tommy Hogg River CC, decided to investigate the possibility of extending the Moray Coastal Path through Nairn, westwards to join up with the
Great Glen Way
that finishes in Inverness. An initiative that would see Nairn placed on a major walkers’
network that already exists from Peterhead to the . The
potential to attract walkers the other way from Culbin Forest Inverness is obvious too.
Cllr Brian Stewart said: “In terms of tourism, environment, of access to the outdoors and all the rest of it, if it were possible to promote and encourage, not just the rebuilding of our little bit of path but a joined up approach which actually ends up with a Coastal Path all the way along the Moray Firth and the boost that that would give to tourism and those who would like to bird watch or whatever would be significant.[…] If Grampian can do it, if Aberdeenshire can do it, if Buchan can do it and Moray can do it, it seems to me no obvious reason why Highland can’t."
Brian’s thoughts found unanimous support from the Councils and the fifty odd members of the public in the hall. Since then the Gurn understands that Colin MacAulay has provided the councils with information about an existing plan for a coastal path. It is a very interesting document but it hardly has a high profile. Maybe the political or organisational will hasn’t existed before to take this forward but now an initiative has come forward from the town’s Councils that should put this project right up the agenda. It is interesting to contrast the Highland Council wish list document (you can download a copy from this page) with the reality in Moray. Have we been slower off the mark as a community to ask for this sort of thing or have the authorities not really bothered with it? Perhaps a mixture of both really. There is cash available as this HM Treasury page proclaims.
Gurnites who are long distance walkers will appreciate how the large numbers that can be attracted to this genre of path spend cash in the communities they visit. Walkers will treat themselves to comfortable beds and wholesome meals at each stop and a whole infrastructure grows up to support them – services to take bags on to the next B&B etc. It goes without saying that Nairn is a perfect natural stop on such a coastal walk. This observer supports the Community Councils (the Usual Suspects) who wish to make this path a reality and hopefully the business association, the local tourism sector and local politicians all the way up the pecking order will support them in their worthwhile efforts.