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Connecting communities in the National Park: phase 3 of community path improvement project is completed

Community led project to open up the Loch Earn Railway Path reaches an important milestone as phase 3 opens to the public.

St Fillans Community Trust recently celebrated the opening of another section of the Loch Earn Railway Path project. The aim of the project is to create a high quality shared use path between Lochearnhead, St Fillans and Comrie, and will eventually help to form part of the cross Scotland Pilgrim’s Way from Iona to St Andrews – a priority route within Scotland’s National Walking and Cycling Network.

Cecil helps to offically open the path

The key funders for this stage of the project were Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, Sustrans Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage. The increased funding levels have given the community an opportunity to build confidence year on year and gradually increase ambition. To date the whole project spend has been in excess of £1M.

Kenny Auld, Recreation, Access and Health Manager at the Park Authority said: “This project is a great example of a community driving forward their own aspirations and working with the public and third sector to deliver a path which will be used daily by all types of residents and visitors to the village. We have no doubt that the project will bring health and economic benefits to the village and look forward to supporting the community as they work towards a link to Lochearnhead.

“One of the Park Authority’s key aims is to support projects which help people get out and get active in the National Park. We’ve also worked with partners in Drymen, Tyndrum, Strathyre, Callander and Croftamie on projects which promote active travel.”

Sustrans Scotland, Senior Project Officer for NCN Development, Marie Davis said: “Since 2013, Sustrans Scotland has been involved in funding the improvements of the route running from Lochearnhead to Dalchonzie, as part of the National Walking and Cycling Network.

“We are delighted to see that the improvements to the disused railway path at St Fillians have made it easier and safer for more people walk and cycle along the route.  We hope to continue working with the St Fillans Community Trust to see the full extent of the route completed.”

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of Scottish Natural Heritage, said: “We’re delighted to see this latest section of the Cross Scotland Pilgrim Way being completed. It’s a great asset to the community of St Fillans and another step forward in the development of our network of paths and cycle trails around the country – known as the National Walking and Cycling Network.  We hope people will enjoy this new stretch of path and relish the lovely views and autumn colours.”

Local resident and Chair of St Fillans Community Trust Cecil Smylie officially opened the section of the path and said a few words of thanks. Along with his dog, Mr Smylie uses the path every day on his mobility scooter and was pleased to see these vital improvements being made.

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