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A project delivering nine kilometres of new and upgraded paths across Gigha is a step closer to fruition after the second path in the network was completed.
Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust launched the Gateway to Gigha project, which is now well under way, after securing £900,000 from the Low Carbon Travel and Transport Fund and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The new paths have opened access for residents and visitors to sites of interest including beaches and viewpoints that have previously been either difficult to get to or completely inaccessible.
The project is also improving access to and knowledge and education about the numerous historic monuments on the island, through on-site informative installations that complement the landscape, online interpretation and events and community engagement to restore and protect its heritage features.
The work is being delivered in three phases, with the first one focusing on hardcore paths suitable for walkers and cyclists.
The first phase is expected to be finished ahead of the island celebrating its 20th anniversary of community ownership on March 15 2022.
Work is due to begin shortly on the second phase which is mainly trod paths across the island that will benefit from upgraded drainage and way marking, as well as stepping-stones and interpretation points.
The second phase will also provide easy access through Achamore Gardens where the existing paths have become overgrown, making the 54-acre public garden more accessible to everyone.
Part of the development includes the launch of a new ‘Visit Gigha’ website and social channels which will provide information on walking and cycle routes, as well as all the other things to see, do and explore whilst on the island.
Local businesses will also be spotlighted, ensuring visitors are well informed on everything Gigha has to offer before their visit.
The ‘Visit Gigha’ brand is due to launch in the spring ahead of the newly-built campsite opening.
The island is opening its first official camp and motorhome site which will have camping pitches, motorhome hook-up points and new showers, toilets and washing up areas.
The new site is close to the ferry slip which complements the Gateway to Gigha project aims to reduce vehicle use on the island and reduce Gigha’s carbon footprint.
Gigha has a narrow single-track road which becomes congested, particularly in the visitor season, making it difficult and often dangerous for road users to commute across the island.
Therefore, the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust intends to promote the use of the path network and close proximity of the campsite to the ferry to encourage visitors to leave their car behind and explore the island by foot, bike or on one of their 20 new ebikes which will be available to hire from the island’s activity centre.
The activity centre is due to open in April and will offer day hire of bikes as well as water sport hires in summer.