North East 250’s glar­ing omis­sion as Stone­haven missed from tourist map

Evening Express (City Final) - - Uk & Abroad -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.