North East 250’s glaring omission as Stonehaven missed from tourist map
GIVEN the parlous state of the oil industry, the North-east needs to diversify its economy now, more than ever before.
One of the key drivers, in my humble opinion, needs to be tourism.
After all, this is rapidly becoming one of the fastestgrowing sectors in Scotland, a lucrative economic driver creating untold jobs and opportunities.
Yet here in the North-east we seem to be playing catch up with other parts of our beautiful land, lagging behind Edinburgh, Glasgow and even Dundee.
It is, in my humble opinion, down to an attitude of “we’ve got oil, we’re doing just dandy, ta” that has been prevalent for decades. So we haven’t done enough to push and promote some of the stunning attractions we have here.
A place so central to history it merits entire books
We have beautiful coastlines, we have soaring mountains, we have wilderness to explore, castles to discover, distilleries to enjoy, fine restaurants and great pubs scattered across the region and a thriving city at the heart of it.
So when the new North East 250 tourist route was announced I was delighted. Finally, a bit of joined up thinking to get people around some of the best things and places we have to offer. Then I saw the map.
It took me barely a nanosecond to spot the glaring omission – Stonehaven seems to have dropped off the landscape.
That would be Stonehaven that is home to Dunnottar Castle – one of the most iconic and most photographed castles in Scotland, used in previous tourism drives in cities like London and Paris.
A place so central to the history and lore of Scotland it merits entire books.
That would be Stonehaven whose art deco outdoor pool is considered a national treasure, key to holiday memories of generations of Scots and people from further afield.
That would be Stonehaven which has a beautiful little harbour dotted with awardwinning pubs and restaurant.
That would be Stonehaven that has the fireballs at Hogmanay, a nationally recognised folk festival, one of Scotland’s biggest and best beer festivals.
Yet it is deemed irrelevant by those who created the North East 250. Which, to my mind, diminishes the enterprise.
It cannot be beyond the wit of mortal men to put this right by adding a loop to include one of the best towns in Scotland. Let’s hear it for the North East 300.
iconic: Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven is one of the most photographed forts.