Following the Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November 2021, there has been a flurry of activity in green issues in the far north of Scotland. At business level, the Inverness and Loch Ness tourism group have launched their Climate Action Plan and at community level in Thurso the North Highland Climate Change Hub was launched and had their first Climate Change Festival in July, supported by the growing number of Friends of the North Highland Way. While we were not part of the official Highland Climate Change Festival organised by the North Highlands and Islands Climate Change Hub, we were happy to support.
In addition, we launched the long-awaited Gateway to the North Highland Way to encourage cross firth and published two books on Amazon – Elements of the Environment (https://amzn.to/3zspyOi) and Creating the North Highland Way: A Green Vision (https://amzn.to/3z2lZwV). Elements of the Environment is the first handbook for the courseware being developed. Creating the North Highland Way: A Green Vision is the culmination of the development of the Way and gives technical specifications of how to develop a route as well as information on the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, how to work with public services and much more.
We agreed a new route for the North Highland Way with the Access Officer, avoiding the Sutherland Space Hub and Loch Eriboll. This is very much a “geological” route and from Cape Wrath to John o Groats is about 200 km in length. There are nine legs, therefore each being roughly 20-25 km long. That’s a comfortable day for each leg, as there’s no substantial climbing involved. There’s remarkably little road walking, although there is an irreducible minimum involved of course. There are a few wet patches, so suitable footwear will be necessary. Navigation is not difficult.
Now we move on to sustainable travel and are encouraging the public authorities, Hi Trans and the Highland Council, to make their strategies available. We need to get people on public transport more – there is no service run by the Highland Council across the North of Scotland, but of course there is the Far North Bus. This is a great service, but we need it to be improved.
Check out www.greentourism.online for the latest info.