£100K grant for John Muir Trail in Bo’ness and Blackness

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COMMONWEALTH Games gold was secured by Bo’ness and Blackness on Tuesday, with a £100,000 cash boost revealed for the John Muir Trail walking route linking the two communities.

The earmarked money, from the Scottish Government’s Legacy 2014 Active Places Fund, was among 24 Scotland-wide projects named this week as the first beneficiaries from the £10 million grant pot.

Upgrades to a stretch of coastal path from West Terrace, Blackness, to Shore Wood in Bo’ness, around 1.6 km in length, will take place - subject to full funding being available - before next April’s launch of the 100-mile coast-to-coast trail.

The long distance route for walkers, named after the 19th century “father of the conservation movement” will run from Dunbar to Helensburgh and aims to boost tourism and help local people get close to nature.

Grants from the Active Places Fund range from £10,000 to £100,000, with the building of playparks and refurbishing of football pitches among Tuesday’s other successful schemes.

Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport Shona Robison said: “Communities across Scotland will directly benefit from the Games with the award of this funding to upgrade facilities across the country.

“This fund allows individuals, young and old, increased access to sport and physical activity, whilst also developing the skills and experience of users, coaches and volunteers.

“The fund is open for further applications and I’d encourage communities to apply now for their share of the £10 million pot.”

Councillor Adrian Mahoney, Falkirk Council’s leisure, tourism and community convener, said: “I welcome this new funding from the Active Places Fund.

“It will help improve and repair the coastal path between Bo’ness and Blackness - which will form a key part of the extended John Muir Trail, due to open in 2014.

“We’ve built up an enviable track record in creating new paths and cycleways over the years and I’m sure this improved link - along the banks of the Forth - will be very popular with walkers and cyclists.”

He added: “We’re hopeful of gaining further monies for the project in the next few months. All going well, improvement works will start later this year. The revamped route will be a real asset to local people and visitors alike.”

Total costs for the Bo’ness-Blackness section of the trail will be around £525,000. Falkirk Council has applied to Sustrans and Scottish Natural Heritage for funds and will itself contribute.

A bid is also being made to Falkirk Environment Trust by Blackness Community Council. If full project costs are forthcoming, works could be done on site between August and October.

The new John Muir Trail will cut across the Falkirk Council area, including Kinneil Estate, Muiravonside Country Park, the Union Canal and the Falkirk Wheel, making use of existing core paths in addition to attracting extra investment.

The council will be funding around £100,000 of the total £900,000-£1 million project.

*The closing date for the next round of Legacy 2014 Active Places applications is July 1. Visit www.sportscot
land.org.uk/Activeplacesguidance

Louise Martin, chairwoman of fund administrators sportscotland, said: “We are capitalising on the excitement and fervour surrounding Glasgow 2014.”