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Dingwall heritage trail plan gathers pace; hopes to boost visitors to the Ross-shire town

By Philip Murray

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Dingwall Community Development Company members Janet Bowen, Jonathan McColl, Robin Lingard and Nigel Greenwood. Picture: Callum Mackay
Dingwall Community Development Company members Janet Bowen, Jonathan McColl, Robin Lingard and Nigel Greenwood. Picture: Callum Mackay

A NEW heritage trail hopes to drive tourism to Ross-shire's county town while also providing tangible benefits for residents.

The Dingwall Community Development Company hopes the new trail, which it aims to have in place by the start of next year's tourist season, will encourage visitors to explore the wider town, stay longer, spend more – and also provide health benefits for the locals intrigued to follow it too.

More than £6000 has already been raised towards the projected £30,000 cost of the trail, which will be marked by about a dozen information boards at key sites in and around Dingwall, with hopes high that a grant application to the Heritage Lottery Fund could cover the rest of the cash. The money will also cover other costs such as promotional leaflets highlighting the trail's route to visitors and locals.

Dingwall Community Development Company (DCDC) secretary Robin Lingard said: "We hope to have everything in place by tourist season 2022. It's not just about bringing tourists in, but people wandering through town. [We hope it will also] improve people’s mental health and physical health."

He added that the wider ambition also includes getting the community involved in the creation of the trail. He said that the hope is to involve Dingwall Academy pupils in the design and creation of at least one of the boards, and added that the local history society also wants to put together workshops linked to the heritage trail.

He hopes that the trail will help to not only entertain visitors but also help push Dingwall's rich history to as wide an audience as possible.

"One of things from consultations we did is that people didn’t think enough is made of the heritage of Dingwall," he said, adding that some people are unaware of the town's Viking past, for instance.

If the trail goes ahead as planned, DCDC hopes to offer a shorter route of around 30 minutes past some of the town's key sites, with a longer one-hour country trail winding its way out into the outskirts of the town.

The various panels would feature a mix of interesting information and photos, and would be made of a high quality print which is guaranteed not to fade for at least 10 years. The boards would also be made from glass reinforced plastic, which is very long wearing, and designed to be easily cleaned of graffiti.

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