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Design talent shines through for Scotland’s scenic routes

7th July 2014

The winners of a competition to enhance two of Scotland’s most scenic viewpoints have been announced today (Monday 7th July).

Scotland’s young architects and landscape architects were invited to design viewpoints that celebrate the beauty of the Caledonian Canal and the Cairngorms National Park as part of the Scottish Government’s Scenic Routes Initiative. The 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.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said:  Scotland has some of the most stunning landscapes in the world that is admired by visitors from home and abroad. This is a great project to harness the skills and creativity of young architects and will ensure people can fully appreciate what our beautiful countryside has to offer.

“The Scenic Routes initiative has now had two great competitions with a lot of creative entries showcasing some of our best architectural talent. I would like to congratulate the young Scottish architects who will have their designs turned into reality and I am looking forward to visiting them.”

In the Cairngorms National Park, four entries were shortlisted for the view point on the A939 Cock Bridge to Tomintoul Road with the winning submission being ‘The Watchers’ by John Kennedy. The site lies on one of the ‘snow roads’ and overlooks the 16th century Corgarff Castle and Ben Avon in the heart of the National Park. The Highly Commended Award went to Ruairidh Moir for his design ‘Na Criochan: Threshold of Territory’.

Duncan Bryden, Convener of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) said: “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 and I feel we have definitely found that in the winning design. The Cock Bridge to Tomintoul Road is known throughout the country because it’s the first to close due to snow and that’s because it takes you through some high and wild land, which is exactly what makes it such a scenic route. I can’t wait to see the finished result and the impact that it has on our visitors.”

The Caledonian Canals’ site at Laggan at the northern tip of Loch Lochy sits within the majesty of the Great Glen and five entries were shortlisted for this viewpoint. The winning entry ‘Harbour Rest’ by Sean Douglas and Gavin Murray was chosen for its attractive and striking design in timber which cleverly uses the facilities building to draw attention to the wonderful view of the loch. The Highly Commended award went to‘Forest-Loch-Reflection’ by Melissa Lawson and Ross Aitchison

And the winning design does just that, according to Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Canals: “Laggan is a wonderful spot which overlooks a world-class canal and attracts thousands of visitors each year. By working with partners and up and coming design talent we want more people to stop off both here and in the Cairngorms, experience Scotland at its best, spend money locally and contribute even more to the nation’s tourist economy. Scotland’s canals already attract 22 million visits a year from all over the world and this project is a great example of how being innovative and bold will ensure we continue to deliver more for every pound of public money that we spend.”

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.

Funding of £500,000 in each of three financial years has been made available by the Scottish Government for the Scottish Scenic Routes Initiative, which was launched in 2013 with the first phase, two projects of which have just been completed at Falls of Falloch and Loch Lubnaig in the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park ( )  The jury tasked with selecting the winners were:  Craig Mitchell (Managing Director of Macdonald Hotels), Bill Jamieson (freelance writer and speaker), Duncan Bryden (Chair of the Cairngorms National Park Authority), Katie Hughes (Director of Estates, Scottish Canals), Lucy Richards (Creative Director, Studio LR Design Agency) and John Ramsay (Landscape Architect, CH2M Hill).