A Mearns councillor has expressed his hopes that the coastal path between Inverbervie and St Cyrus can be fully developed following discussions with local community groups and potential funders.
There is currently a path linking the coastal communities, running along the former railway line, some of it is in a poor condition and in some sections the footpath has eroded altogether. A steering group has now been established to explore avenues to finance the project.
Councillor Leigh Wilson, has been involved in helping guide the group in terms of strategy and direction. “The coastal path is a local treasure with some of the most picturesque views in the north-east. The path from Bervie to Gourdon has been resurfaced and it is a wonderful asset. I remember the path before the work was done and it was almost unwalkable after spells of heavy rain, so what we have now is really ideal. It has also opened up access to people of all degrees of mobility. The next step of the project is an ambition to resurface the Gourdon to Johnshaven path. I know there are some land ownership issues so we will have to consider creative solutions but with the spirit of the community behind this I am confident that we can achieve our goals.”
The path follows part of the old railway line; opened in 1865 it was discontinued as part of the Beeching review and the last journey was made on the track in May 1966. Community groups have already started raising money to promote the walk and a wooden train has recently been installed at the Lower Park in Gourdon, in recognition of the historical significance of the path. Conversations have been held with funders and the steering group are hopeful they can access the funding required.
Mr Wilson continued, “I now believe, more than ever, that the Mearns is one of the most beautiful wards in Aberdeenshire and I’m grateful to represent it. The funding hasn’t been guaranteed yet – more discussions are to be had before anything can be confirmed. What I am confident of though is that the more people we get to lend their support to this project, the greater weight the project will carry. Tourism is key to the progress of the Mearns and if this project reaches fruition it will unlock its potential.”
Karen Kennedy, who is leading the Local Walking Steering Group, is similarly confident. “The Coastal Path from Inverbervie through to St Cyrus is one of outstanding beauty and Heritage. It is found on several websites because it is an established walk. We want to restore the path so it is accessible to more walkers, local or visitors who can then share the exhilarating experience and take refreshments in the interlinking villages en route.”