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Design competition to highlight beauty of canals and Cairngorms

27th March 2014

Scotland’s young architects and landscape architects are being invited to design viewpoints that celebrate the beauty of the Caledonian Canal and THE Cairngorms National Park as the latest stage of an innovative competition gets underway.

The Scottish Scenic Routes project, which draws inspiration from the success of a similar scheme in Norway, aims to enhance the visitor experience of Scotland’s landscape by creating innovative installations that celebrate, and improve access to, some of the nation’s most majestic scenery.

Some £500,000 of funding will see the project include sites near Devil’s Elbow, Glen Shee  and on the Lecht Road near Cock Bridge in the Cairngorms National Park and at Banavie and Laggan on the Caledonian Canal, bringing the total investment from the Scottish Government for the project to £1 million.

Rural Affairs and Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “As part of this scheme we have already seen some excellent designs which will capture Scotland’s stunning landscapes and scenery in a unique way, and I’m delighted that we are now bringing this architectural flair to the Caledonian Canal and Cairngorms.

“We are lucky to have a number of established and up and coming architects in Scotland and I’m sure we will see more exciting designs in this latest stage of the Scottish Scenic Routes project.”

The first stage of the scheme involved three locations within Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park at Inveruglas, Falls of Falloch and Loch Lubnaig, with the competition attracting 90 innovative designs from some of Scotland’s most talented young architects. It is hoped that the second phase of the project will generate similar levels of interest.

Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Canals, said:  “Scotland’s canals are home to some of the nation’s most breath-taking scenery and we’re delighted that the waterways will play a part in the second phase of the Scenic Routes project.

“We know from the experience of Scandinavia that creating new and innovative opportunities for visitors to stop off and enjoy the landscape can significantly benefit the nation’s tourist economy. With the help of some of the finest young architectural talent in Scotland, we have no doubt this project will encourage even more people to leave the couch behind and explore the many wonders of the canal network.

“Banavie, which sits in the shadow of Ben Nevis and is home to the iconic lock flight of Neptune’s Staircase, offers some incredible sights. Laggan, where the rugged, fjord-like scenery of Loch Lochy meets the man-made beauty of the Caledonian Canal, is just as stunning. Both locations are jewels in the crown of the Caledonian Canal and we can’t wait to see how the competition’s designs celebrate them.”

The goals of the Scenic Routes initiative include enhancing the experience of visitors to Scotland’s outstanding landscapes; stimulating and sustaining rural economies and employment; attracting private investment in the tourist industry; and harnessing and celebrating the nation’s outstanding young design talent.

Duncan Bryden, Convener of the Cairngorms National Park Authority said: “We are very excited about the Scottish Scenic Routes competition with two sites at iconic locations within the Cairngorms National Park. We want our visitors to have the best experience they can as they explore and travel round the UK’s largest National Park. Excellent, sustainable design is something that we strive for here so we are delighted to be encouraging new design talent and look forward to seeing the results.”