A walking route for walkers that goes from the Scottish Borders all the way up to the highlands has been officially opened by the First Minister Alex Salmond.
It was the brain child of the TV presenter Cameron McNeish who was inspired after a trip to Nepal.
Mr McNeish was looking for some middle ground between the popular long distance routes such as the West Highland Way and Southern Upland Way and the ultimate hike of John O'Groats to Lands End.But he accepts that his national trail will only be for the most enthusiastic of hikers. he said:
"To do it in one go would take between five to six weeks and I can't imagine many people have the time or energy even to do that. Realistically it would be better to tackle it in sections. But the fact a national trail will now exist from one end of the country to the other may prove popular for walkers from the continent to enjoy the beautiful countryside we are so fortunate to have.
"It is my belief that the Scottish National Trail could become one of the most iconic long-distances routes of the world which will help the economies of the towns, villages and settlements it runs through.
"The inspiration this came from my visit to Nepal last year when the long distance Great Himalayan Trail throughout the country was launched. I thought then that if Nepal could have such a route then why not Scotland? We start in the gentle rolling hills of the Borders and end up in the untamed majesty of the far north-west Highlands. I am sure it is going to be very popular.
"The country is well served with good walking routes and my trail incorporates many of the existing treks and also several core paths around villages and towns."
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