Great Glen Way 👣 Slighe a'Ghlinne Mhòir

Previous plans and strategies
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Various plans and strategies have been prepared in the past to raise awareness of the Great Glen area, to improve employment in the area, to manage the area in a sustainable manner and to give it a unified, easily recognisable image.

The Great Glen Tourism Development Strategy

The Great Glen Tourism Development Strategy dates from 1994 and it was a joint initiative by nine organisations, including the four main partners now working on the Great Glen Ways Project. The strategy grew from the need to seek ways of strengthening the tourism product of the Highlands to ensure that the area could compete effectively against international holiday destinations and meet the increasingly sophisticated expectations of customers. There had been a significant downturn in the level of tourist activity in the Highlands prior to this time.

The overall aim of the Tourism Development Strategy was “to maximise the economic contribution of tourism to the communities of the Great Glen within the context of change which is acceptable to the local communities in social and environmental terms”.

The specific objectives included encouraging visitors to spend more time in the Great Glen, to stimulate repeat visits, to attract additional visitors during the off-peak season, to increase levels of visitor expenditure in all settlements along the Great Glen, to increase opportunities for permanent employment within the tourism sector and to maintain and, where appropriate, enhance the quality of the natural environment.

The Great Glen Interpretive Project

The Great Glen Interpretive Project prepared a report as part of The Great Glen Tourism Development Strategy. The aim of this project was to develop a framework to co-ordinate the provision of interpretation throughout the Great Glen. It emphasised the partnership approach to interpretation, which would reduce duplication of work and increase the opportunities for collaboration. Creating a unified image for the Great Glen was one of the main objectives of the project.

Area Framework for Interpretation for Lochaber and Inverness Areas

The Area Framework for Interpretation for Lochaber and Inverness areas were prepared in 2000. In total eight frameworks were prepared, covering different geographical areas within The Highland Council area, and they would later provide background details and develop into local interpretive plans. The key objectives of the project were to promote the understanding and enjoyment of the natural and man-made environment, to promote good practices and effective partnerships in the planning and the maintenance of interpretive facilities and to encourage community involvement.

The frameworks give very detailed information gathered from stakeholders in the area on availability of interpretation, disabled and audio-visual facilities and foreign language provision, as well as guidance on best practices for interpretation.

The outcome of the project was that interpretation in these areas, and in the whole of the Highlands, could be very patchy and of varying quality. It was stated that the task for those charged with funding and developing these areas was to provide good quality, planned interpretation without major gaps. According to the project, interpretation is a crucial part of the visitor experience and contributes to the overall “sense of place”.

The Great Glen Communication Strategy

The Great Glen Communication Strategy was completed in March 2002. This strategy outlined proposals for a common approach to communication along the three routes and aimed to establish a set of principles that would guide future work by the various agencies concerned. The report stated that it was a high priority to update signage and interpretation along the routes. It aimed to achieve a co-ordinated approach to ways of communication that would ensure that signage was clear and maintained to a high standard. Also is aimed to enhance the image of the area and encourage visitors to explore the recreational potential of the whole glen, and thus contribute more to the local economy. The report provided detailed, hands-on guidelines on design, provision of interpretation, training and funding. It launched recommendations for an action programme.

The Great Glen Ways Action Plan

The Great Glen Ways Action Plan is the final report giving practical tools for the delivery of the Great Glen Ways Project.

The overall objective of the plan was to “produce a practical action plan that clearly sets out the steps to be taken to implement a single identity to the signage, information and interpretation of the three Great Glen Ways and act as an advocacy document for relevant funding bodies”.

The action plan includes background information on the visitor structure, a risk assessment and an introduction to best interpretation practices. The core of the plan was to create a very practical “manual”, giving details on costs, funding and the delivery of project. The action plan contains a style guide with technical drawings on every planned structure, and action sheets were prepared for each structure, stating the site location, land owner, structure style, orientation and contents of the information or interpretation panel attached to the structure. Much of the implementation project is based on the information obtained from the action plan, making it a very crucial document in the delivery of the project.