Western Isles getting ready to cater for active visitors

Record-breaking round the world cyclist Mark Beaumont has accepted a challenge to launch the Hebridean Cycling Way by cycling the route from the Southern Isles to the Butt of Lewis in 24 hours.

The well-known adventurer will tackle the 185 mile route from Vatersay to the Butt of Lewis to help mark the official launch of the project.

The walking and cycling route passes through 10 islands linked by a combination of causeways and ferries, over rugged hills and along dazzling Atlanticcoastline.

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Following the National Cycle Network Route 780, Mark will attempt his challenge on March 10th and 11th, crossing between islands with the help of Uist Sea Tours.

It will be a great opportunity for communities along the route to demonstrate their very best Hebridean hospitality, with organisers hoping that everyone from island schools and sports clubs to local bars and businesses, will take the

opportunity to come out and celebrate the launch in style.

A full itinerary is still being prepared but keen cyclists and clubs may like to get on their bikes and keep pace with Mark on part of the route.

If you wish to join Mark contact organisers via email: here

It is hoped the stunning landscapes, geology, wildlife, heritage and scenery of the Outer Hebrides along the length of the new cycling and walking route will attract more tourism to the region.

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The walking route is comprised of purpose built sections and also makes use of existing footpaths, peat tracks, quiet roads and traditional rights of way, whilst the cycling route follows both main and quiet roads.

Following Mark’s challenge the official launch of the Hebridean Way will take place on Friday evening March 11th at the Isle of Harris Distillery.

The event is part of Scottish Tourism Week, which will also see the launch of the eagerly anticipated Eat Drink Hebrides Trail.

The Hebridean Way project got off the ground in 2012 backed by financial support by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Scottish Natural Heritage and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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It is estimated that 1,000 cyclists already travel the length of the Outer Hebrides each year, and it is believed the Hebridean Way will increase this number by an additional 2,000, putting £742,000 into the local economy.

It is also anticipated that around 500 people a year will walk the entire Hebridean Way route and spend an average of £560 each.

Commenting on the project, a statement from VisitScotland said: “The Hebridean Way will be incredibly attractive to a wide range of active visitors considering booking a break in the Outer Hebrides. We warmly welcome this investment which ensures we better cater for our active visitors.”

Pictured is round the cyclist Mark Beaumont