A new 250-mile coast-to-coast cycling route across Scotland is to be named after a 19th century blacksmith who was a bike-building pioneer.
Kirkpatrick Macmillan, born in Kier in Dumfries and Galloway in 1812, is generally credited as the inventor of the first pedal-driven velocipede.
The new Stranraer to Eyemouth route is on track to launch this summer ahead of the UCI Cycling World Championships set to be held in Scotland this August.
The official name for the route – Kirkpatrick C2C, South of Scotland’s Coast to Coast – was unveiled earlier this week at a tourism conference organised by the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA).
Early projections forecast that it could attract up to 175,000 visitors to the region, with a direct spend of £13.7m per year.
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Paula Ward, of South of Scotland Enterprise, said: “Kirkpatrick Macmillan is an iconic cycling figure which we in the south are immensely proud of, and it is fitting that his achievements are being acknowledged and our heritage celebrated with this new exciting tourism offering.
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Speaking of the new route and the upcoming 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, she added: “These are opportunities we must grasp if we are to achieve our goal of the south becoming Scotland’s leading cycling destination and recognised as the global home of the bike.”
For those seeking to challenge themselves, the Kirkpatrick C2C can be tackled over four days.
However, riders are instead being encouraged to immerse themselves in the beauty, heritage and charm of the south of Scotland, spending eight days completing the route from Stranraer in the west to Eyemouth in the east.
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Annique Armstrong, VisitScotland interim destination development director, said the new route would help support the recovery of the tourism industry.
“With the region set to host key events as part of the UCI Cycling World Championships this summer, we would encourage tourism businesses to make the most of this unique opportunity.
“Our VisitScotland website provides clear and practical advice to help industry understand how to make the most of cycling tourism and the interest this event will generate.
“With the creation of new cycling initiatives and experiences, promoting cycling and helping businesses cater for this growing market will benefit communities right across the region and beyond.”
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