Visit by Irish Councillors and Social Partners
At the AGM of the International Appalachian Trail in Strabane in September 2016 Officials and Councillors from Donegal and the Northern Ireland Councils advised Tom Stevenson, who was representing the Mull of Galloway Trail, that they intended to visit the west coast of Scotland to learn about the planning and work which had been carried out on the Scottish sections of the IAT.
A group of 18 from the Northern Ireland and Donegal Councils travelled by coach crossing the ferry to Cairnryan on Wednesday 19 October and firstly made their way to Balloch to learn about the West Highland Way. The following day they met up with Rotarians from Ayr to view sections of the Ayrshire Coastal Path.
That evening they arrived at North West Castle Hotel, Stranraer where three Stranraer Rotarians joined them for dinner and gave a presentation on the Mull of Galloway Trail which included details of planning, grant funding and the works carried out.
The following morning three Rotarians met the group at the hotel and firstly took them to see the information boards and signs adjacent to the Tourist Information Office. Thereafter all boarded the coach following the trail most of the way to the Mull of Galloway. Two stops were made in order that the members of the Irish group could walk parts of the trail and another stop was made at the Tigh na Mara Hotel in Sandhead for coffee.
On arrival at the Mull the weather was bright and sunny which enabled the group to enjoy the fine views to Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and over Luce Bay. Dumfries & Galloway Council hosted a lunch at Gallie Craig Coffee House at the Mull where Council officials welcomed the Irish visitors. The Council leaders highlighted the value of the trail to the local community and details were given of the plans for the construction of the new Rhins of Galloway Coastal Path. Members from the Irish group responded and talked about further cross border cooperation in the future. They confirmed that their trip had been very successful in that they had learnt an awful lot and now had a much clearer vision for their own trail development going forward.
Top left shows the group at the information boards adjacent to the Tourist Information Office in Stranraer.
Top right was taken when the group crossed the bridge over the Culmore Burn on the Trail.
Second left was taken at the lunch at Gallie Craig Coffee House at the Mull of Galloway.
Second right is Inga Bock, Rural Recreation Officer, Donegal County Council at the start of the Mull of Galloway Trail, the Firth o Clyde Rotary Trail and the Scottish Chapter of the International Appalachian Trail.