Rural Communities Leading on Tourism

Across rural Scotland, rural communities are building partnerships with local businesses and tourist attractions, to spark new interest and new things to do in their local areas.

We’re delighted to highlight one of these, the new Upper Nithsdale Trail, but if your community is doing something interesting, do let us know so we can help promote your endeavours!

People are being encouraged to ‘Discover Upper Nithsdale’ with the launch of a new tourist trail which aims to ‘change the story’ of the area from economic deprivation to tourism success.   

The Upper Nithsdale Trail has been designed to showcase the dramatic landscapes of the Lowther Hills and Nith Valley in south west Scotland, and to highlight the quirky visitor attractions and heritage of the local towns and villages.

The 35 mile route has been developed by members of the newly formed Upper Nithsdale Tourism Partnership; a tourism development collaboration between community groups, local businesses and visitor attractions. The partnership’s stated aim is to stimulate the economies of the communities of Upper Nithsdale, which includes Wanlockhead, Scotland’s highest village, Sanquhar, Kirkconnel and Kelloholm.

The trail encourages people to discover attractions such as the deep underground mine workings at the Museum of Lead Mining, the historic Sanquhar knitting patterns at A’ the Airts, spectacular land art at Crawick Multiverse and rich history at Kirkconnel Parish Heritage Society.  The route also invites visitors to explore the natural beauty of the area, including the stunning Mennock Pass, famed for the Scottish gold found regularly in its stream, hidden picnic spots such as the Soldier’s Pond and the scenic uplands of the Crawick Pass.

Rose Murdoch, Chair of the Upper Nithsdale Tourism Partnership, said: 

“We are thrilled to launch this route and to invite people to explore our local area. While our little pocket of rural Scotland is just a stone’s throw from the motorway, we know it remains relatively undiscovered, and we want to change that.  

“The towns and villages of Upper Nithsdale have a reputation as being places of economic and social deprivation, and while we recognise the truth of that, we also know the incredible untapped potential of them as beautiful and fascinating places to visit and explore.  This project is about changing the story of Upper Nithsdale, from one of deprivation to one of extraordinary creativity, innovation and potential.

“Upper Nithsdale is blessed with incredibly dramatic scenery, quirky places to visit and unusual things to do – everything from gold panning to exploring the Multiverse.  This project is about coming together as a partnership of communities to celebrate our scenery, heritage, creativity and, of course, our people.”

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