15th May 2008
HOP on the Heather Hopper – that is the message to residents and tourists as the only cross-Park bus service makes its annual return today (Monday May 12th)!
The bus makes it first journey of the summer when it leaves from The Square, Grantown-on-Spey at 10.28am. There are twice daily departures from Ballater, Grantown-on-Spey and other stops on route.
The 501 service is being operated jointly by Coopers Tourmaster and Stagecoach Bluebird. Passengers will be able to enjoy a new and improved service this year. Coopers buses offers free cycle carriage and Stagecoach Bluebird buses are adapted for easy access for all. Some of the services will also run to Newtonmore, Kingussie, Kincraig and Aviemore (please check timetables for details of which services and pre-book cycles with Coopers).
The Heather Hopper is now in its third year and is funded by Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), The Highland Council and Aberdeenshire Council. It provides high quality opportunities for outdoor access, one of the Priorities for Action in the Cairngorms National Park Plan, which sets out the Park’s short and long term future. It will also offer a more sustainable form of transport for those who want to leave their cars at home, or do not have access to a car.
CNPA board member and Highland Councillor Jaci Douglas and her family will be amongst the first passengers on the service leaving Grantown and are taking advantage of the free cycle carriage. Councillor Douglas said: “I am delighted the Heather Hopper is back for another year and that more people will be able to enjoy the service.
“One of the issues facing people in the Park is lack of public transport. The Heather Hopper is addressing that and allows everyone an opportunity to explore the Park.”
The Heather Hopper will run until mid-September. Timetable information is available from the CNPA website and www.visitcairngorms.co.uk Cyclists wishing to use Coopers should book cycle carriage on 01540 673 000.