“In an age where many of us feel the world crowds in upon us and where we understand better what keeps us healthy in mind and body, the open spaces of the world assume a new importance. One of the most beautiful spaces in the Northern hemisphere and located in a temperate zone is the North coast of Scotland. The coast offers many ways to promote human wellbeing and to serve as a safety valve for the pressures of society. Among those ways is simply that of affording access for walkers. Under guidance, walkers may learn how enjoyment of the land is to be shared with farmers, crofters, field sportsmen, birds and plants.
The project founders worked with landowners, public bodies and heritage societies progressively to open up the Northern coast to walkers, horse riders and cyclists. It still aims to set up for Scotland a coastal multi use route (the only one in Scotland) matching that which the National Trust has set up in England and Wales. It aims to designate safe paths, to design decent access to them and to protect the permanent activities on the land from the depredations of the transient visitor. Already small stretches of the coast are open, such as at Dunnet Head and John o Groats. The aim is to learn from these pioneer models, to multiply them and to promote safe transport connections between them.
All this will certainly boost the economy of coastal communities. The increase in understanding between visitors and residents could be one of the happiest outcomes of the project. A common interest in securing a sustainable way of life will be a source of hope for us all.” A Friend of the North Highland Way.