The ECHO (East Cowal Heritage Outdoors) Trails project, a network of landmarks and walking trails encompassing the shores of Holy Loch, Loch Eck, Loch Long and Loch Goil, has been officially launched after a two-year delay due to Covid-19.
Representatives from Forestry & Land Scotland, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, the AITC (Argyll & Isles Tourism Co-operative), Dunoon Area Alliance, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and Bookpoint Dunoon gathered recently at Historic Kilmun to celebrate the launch.
The ECHO Trails incorporates ten key landmarks around the east Cowal peninsula, including Puck’s Glen, Benmore Botanic Garden and the beach at Ardentinny, as well as a number of places of interest that reflect the rich heritage and notable, historic personalities associated with this small corner of Argyll.
Funding for the project has come from Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, Bookpoint Dunoon, HES and the Culture and Business Fund Scotland.
Jenni Minto, Member of the Scottish Parliament for Argyll and Bute, commented: “Cowal is such a beautiful part of the world, rich in landmarks and history, so anything that can be done to help showcase this should be encouraged and the ECHO trails project does just that!”
Ciorsdan Taylor, AITC Community Engagement Agent for Cowal, commented: “The ECHO Trails are a wonderful way of showcasing the interesting heritage and landmarks we have here in Cowal and there are many of them to see.
“The AITC is very glad to be supporting and promoting this great resource within Cowal and we hope that many visitors to the area and local people will use it for many years to come.”
Dinah McDonald, owner of the Bookpoint bookshop in Dunoon, said “We are delighted to sponsor this fascinating project which will
enable so many more people to explore and appreciate the amazing heritage of this peaceful corner of Argyll. Stunning scenery, amazing wildlife and a historical heritage going back over 3000 years, it feels
like the heritage of Scotland all in one small area.”
Amy Eastwood, Head of Grants at HES, said: “We’re pleased to support this project as part of our Organisational Support Fund. The ECHO Trail is a fantastic way to encourage visitors to explore the history and heritage of East Cowal.”
Steve Gillen of Forestry & Land Scotland said: “It’s fantastic to see this project finally coming to fruition after so much hard work by the ECHO team over the past few years. It is a great opportunity to highlight the number and variety of destinations in the area, and to promote and encourage responsible public access across them.”
Rob Wilkinson, appointed co-ordinator for the project earlier this year, commented: “The ECHO Trails builds on the great work of Robin Patel carried out before the arrival of the coronavirus and seeks to create an identity for this part of the world in much the same way as the Secret Coast and the Clyde Sea Lochs Trail around Dumbarton and Helensburgh.
“Links have been established with a number of community-focused organisations and individuals and we will soon be appointing a “Friends of the ECHO Trails” committee to determine the future direction of the project. There is so much potential when it comes to building a vibrant community network,” he added.
The ECHO Trails project will be linking up with the Cowal Open Studios network to showcase the work of local artists on the 24th and 25th September at Historic Kilmun to coincide with the COS open studios weekend (23rd to 26th September).
For more information please look around our website. A free app “ECHO Trails” is also available for download.