After waiting nearly 15 years a gap in a proposed path between Moray communities for walkers, cyclists and horse riders may finally be filled.
An active travel route linking Lossiemouth, Hopeman and Burghead has been an aspiration for locals since as far back as 2007 amid road safety concerns on the road running along the coast.
The project started well with the first phase from Burghead to Duffus being completed – creating a safe route for all away from busy roads.
Now campaigners have revealed the route the long-awaited last section could take amid hopes it may finally be completed.
Long wait for Lossiemouth path link
Plans have been frustrated for several years while negotiations with landowners to secure permission for the path have continued.
Now the Laich of Moray Active Travel Routes group, which is now progressing the plans, has received the go-ahead from enough people to publish proposals linking Lossiemouth and Covesea.
Group member Melanie Newbould said: “The path only got from Burghead to Duffus before it ran into some problems.
“A consultation by the Lossiemouth Community Development Trust in 2015 found that it was one of the biggest things people wanted to see happen.
“The Lossiemouth to Covesea section, for the most part, has all the necessary agreements although there are still a few I’s to be dotted and T’s to be crossed.”
The Laich of Moray Active Travel Routes group has now launched a consultation to ask for views on what locals think of the proposed design.
An indicative route has been published with some minor options available in the area near Moray Golf Club.
Meanwhile, a possible second phase from Covesea to Duffus remains subject to landowners giving permission.
Hopes route will encourage cyclists
The initial drive behind the Burghead to Lossiemouth path was to create a safe link between the communities for cyclists, as well as encouraging Lossiemouth High students to use pedal power to get to class.
Funding has been secured through Sustrans, which is backed by the Transport Scotland, to kick-start the scheme once again.
Designs have been drawn up for an off-road path that will be nearly 10ft wide to allow for a variety of uses.
Lossiemouth Community Council chairwoman Carolle Ralph said: “The community council has been part of the group advancing this right from the start, from the original section.
“We’re really excited by the potential of it because obviously a big concern for us is safety on the road, particularly the first section from Lossiemouth to Hopeman.
“It would be good to encourage our young people to be active while also being safe.
“It’s been very frustrating it has taken so long to get to this point, but these things take time, and there are still issues ahead.”
Heldon and Laich councillor John Cowe said: “Lossie is going places with a new school, a new bridge in spring next year, a skate park and a cycle way to our neighbours in Hopeman and Burghead.
“We have a vibrant business association, development trust and community council all working to make Lossiemouth the best it can be for us and the tourists who flock to our shores and come back again and again.
“Let’s be proud of our environment, look after it and keep it tidy for us all to enjoy now, and for future generations.”
What is your view on path proposals?
The Laich of Moray Active Travel Routes group is running a consultation about the proposed Lossiemouth to Duffus path for cyclists, walkers and others until June 27.
Online consultation sessions will be run on the group’s website on Tuesday, June 22 from noon to 1.30pm and on Thursday, June 24 from 7pm to 8.30pm.
Feedback about the plans can be submitted here.