Page last updated at 00:18 GMT, Friday, 12 March 2010

Great Glen Canoe Trail wins European funding

People in canoes
An estimated 2,500 people paddle the Caledonian Canal each year

Plans for Scotland's first official canoe trail have secured £270,500 of European funding.

The Great Glen Canoe Trail, which will take paddlers along the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness, is to be completed by 2012 at a total cost of £601,800.

The marked trail will feature a series of informal campsites with open side shelters, fire pits and composting toilets.

Low-level pontoons will also be put in place at locks and bridges.

An estimated 2,500 canoeists already use the canal, which connects Inverness and Fort William, each year.

'Fantastic news'

British Waterways Scotland is contributing £150,000 towards the project, Highland Council £100,000, Scottish Natural Heritage £71,300 and Forestry Commission Scotland a further £10,000.

The Scottish Canoe Association has also been assisting in the scheme.

The funding package follows the appointment of project officer Donald McPherson, a canoe instructor and member of Inverness Canoe Club.

Russell Thomson, British Waterways Scotland's Highlands waterway manager said: "The award of this major grant from the European Regional Development Fund through the Highlands and Islands Partnership Programme is fantastic news for the development of tourism in the Highlands."



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First canoe trail to be created
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