A new long distance ‘Sea to Sea’ tourist route is being planned from the Solway to the Forth…
[Update April 27: More trailblazing rides May 10/11 and June 7/8]
A route map will be on sale later this Spring at £5, but all Spokes members will get a free copy in their Summer mailout at the end of May. If you’d like to make sure of a copy, join Spokes now!
The route will follow the Annan, Tweed and Esk valleys, crossing the Southern Uplands and Moorfoot Hills, ending at the world-famous Forth Rail Bridge. It includes the Upper Tweed Railway Paths project, to which Spokes gave a small seed-corn donation some years ago.
The route is the brainchild of John Grimshaw [founder of Sustrans] and David Gray, who created the first C2C route, from Whitehaven to Tynemouth. That route now brings around £12m annually into the local economy, with trade for B&Bs, local shops and bike services, and it is hoped that Solway-Forth can do the same.
The Solway-Forth route is still in its infancy and not yet signed on the ground, but has generated a lot of interest in Borders and Dumfries & Galloway Councils. Growing interest in the route should encourage councils and others to improve sections which are not yet ideal and create new alternatives to onroad sections.
During 2014 there will be several ‘trailblazing’ weekend rides to try out the route, organised with full backup, luggage van, etc, including a Grand Inaugural Ride the weekend of April 26-27* which includes bikebus transport from Edinburgh to the start of the route in Annan. The rides also forms part of the Edinburgh Mellow Velo 2014 programme which includes useful information. The cost to Spokes members is £75 with transport from Edinburgh, or £50 if you make your own way to Annan. Click here for more info and to book.
If you are planning to try the route or go on one of the above rides, do be aware that the route does still include some main road sections, as will be clear on the map. The route’s promoters intend that these will gradually be replaced by new pleasanter sections as the route grows in popularity and Councils do more to enhance it.
*There is an unfortunate clash with Pedal on Parliament 2014, due to the late approval of PoP date by the council, by which time it was too late for the C2C organisers to change their dates. Whether you spend the afternoon at PoP or the whole weekend on the trailblazing ride, you’ll be helping push the case for more cycling and cycling facilities. Note too that there is only space for 15 or so on the bikebus from Edinburgh for the trailblazing ride, so only early-bookers are likely to make it.