Story of the East Neuk 50 Cycle Route
- Titled tourist route creates a ‘Destination’ experience
- Starts and ends at railway stations; Kirkcaldy & Dundee. Accessible from almost whole of Britain
- Creates desirable alternative for people who would prefer not to travel by car
- Sustainable tourism
- Promoted as weekend or week long trip
- A route that has plenty of interest to stop and see
Named ‘destination’ routes have become popular in recent years. While this concept is not new for walkers in Scotland, it is relatively new for road users. Perhaps the most widely known route is now the North Coast 500. The East Neuk 50 is intended a little less hardcore in terms of length, landscape, and road use. And the East Neuk 50 is a lot more accessible. It also has one further significant difference in concept: it is proposed to be largely segregated from motor vehicles. Its intention is to be away from the road for the majority of the route; following new and existing cycle paths created as part of the project.
The proposed route is 50 miles long. An outline route has been identified that utilises the disused railway line as much as feasible. The route is intended to be away from the road for the majority of its length.
The map above can be viewed in more detail online at bit.ly/eastneuk50map
The route begins at Kirkcaldy Railway Station, and proceeds east along the coast to the East Neuk. It goes through those villages from Earlsferry through to Crail, before turning north for St Andrews via Kingsbarns. From St Andrews it to Leuchars Railway Station via Guardbridge, and then to Tayport. Finally it crosses the Tay Bridge emerging by the V&A North and thence to Dundee Railway Station.
Much of the proposed route does not currently exist as an established cycle path. Some sections are Core Paths, and some pass along the disused railway through agricultural land and forestry. The route embraces various local cycle path projects such as those in Pittenweem, Kilrenny and Crail to St Andrews.
While St Andrews is obviously an established tourist destination and the V&A is likely to become one, elsewhere along the route there are numerous other fantastic tourist opportunities that are un-crowded and welcoming. These tourist opportunities range from the beaches and coastline, cultural and heritage venues, fishing villages, industrial heritage, whisky & gin, local food, and arts & crafts. The opportunities are coupled with local capacity for accommodation and food.
Cyclists use local services as they don’t bring a car boot full of provisions from home.
The East Neuk 50 has additional attractions:
- eco-friendly cycle tourism
- intentionally focus as an alternative vehicle-based tourism
- can be accessed from almost anywhere in Britain, including by sleeper trains from London
The East Neuk 50 can be used as a destination for visits of various lengths. Of course it could be covered in a day, but that is not the point. The point is clearly the journey, and all it has to offer.
It is proposed that the route is promoted for:
- short trip; long weekend, 2-3 nights
- regular trip; one week, 5-8 nights
While this initiative seeks to develop sustainable cycle tourism, it should not be considered a leisure initiative. Rather, it is a local economic initiative focused on helping business to become more sustainable. It follows utility routes to get customers to tourist-focussed businesses in a more sustainable manner. In this way it compliments the normal use that we understand for utility paths.
Being a utility route also means that there is significant opportunity for subsidiary benefits such as active travel and other benefits to the communities on the route.
Sustainable tourism is an opportunity for the area, and a new market that has not been well considered until now. Clearly this is an ambitious project. However it has strength in that it firmly links a sustainable local economy with cycle paths and sustainable transport. This helps make a strong case to local business for good quality cycle paths.
Following its initiation, the project is now engaging with, and building a stakeholder group. It is intended to create an incorporated organisation to take the East Neuk 50 project forward, and apply for development funding.
Stakeholders and Governance
Local and national stakeholders have been identified. We are seeking to create a Steering Group for the project drawn from these stakeholders.
The project has received written support from local politicians, MSPs, and MP.
East Neuk 50 Cycle Route Community Interest Company is a collaborative initiative working with community organisations on the route. It has a Board of Directors comprising members drawn from along the whole route.
The name ‘East Neuk 50’ and the logo device are trademarks; copyright 2017-2022