Moray Council is preparing a £770,000 upgrade to the Speyside Way to make it more suitable for cyclists.
Improvements have already been made in recent years to the popular walking route between Carron, south of Aberlour, and Craigellachie.
Now a similar project is being prepared on the next section of the tourist trail between Carron and Cragganmore in Ballindalloch.
Upgrade aims to improve access for all
The local authority has secured funding from the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Travel and Transport Challenge Fund for the project.
It is hoped the work on the former railway line will encourage cyclists to use the route to travel between communities.
Speyside Glenlivet councillor Derek Ross said: “It will make the route more accessible in all weather for more people too, including wheelchairs.
“They’ve done a fantastic job between Craigellachie and Aberlour so hopefully this will bring the benefits to others.
“I’ve been walking it a lot with my partner and I know it has been a godsend to a lot of people.”
‘Speyside Way has suffered from lack of investment’
Moray Council is currently advertising for contractors to do the upgrade work on the Speyside Way. The project is expected to take about six months.
The work will lead to some sections of the route being given a permanent surface while some existing timber bridges will also be upgraded.
Laurie Piper, chief executive of Visit Moray Speyside, hopes the upgrade will also encourage more visitors to the route.
He said: “The Speyside Way is one of Scotland’s most popular long-distance routes.
“Sadly though, it has suffered from a lack of investment over recent years causing the surface to degrade and the experience for users to be less than optimal.
“It is therefore really encouraging to see that this key section between Carron and Cragganmore will be upgraded, bringing the quality of the surface up to scratch and making it a better experience not just for leisure use, but also crucially to encourage its use for active travel and commuting.”