A NEW 250 mile on-road cycle route covering the length of the south of Scotland will be officially launched this summer.

The coast-to-coast route – named the Kirkpatrick C2C – will run from Stranraer in the west to Eyemouth on Scotland’s southeast coast, making it one of the longest in the UK and a new challenge for experienced cyclists.

The route is named after Kirkpatrick Macmillan, the 19th-century Dumfriesshire blacksmith who invented the first pedal-driven velocipede.

Experienced riders have been urged to complete the route in eight or four days, taking them through dramatic coastlines, rolling hills, shimmering lochs and historic tweed mills.

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Early projections suggest the new route could attract up to 175,000 new visitors to the region, with a direct spend of £13.7 million per year.

David Hope-Jones is the chief executive of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance, who helped set up the route. He said: “In a terrific year for cycling in the south of Scotland, home of the bike - excitement is really building now right along the route of the Kirkpatrick C2C, one of the longest and most exciting on-road routes in the UK.

“We are working closely with businesses right along the route to help them harness the benefits of cycle tourism, which is growing all the time and set to be a major part of Scotland’s visitor economy."

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Gordon Smith, VisitScotland destination development director, added: “The Kirkpatrick C2C is a fantastic addition to the region’s already strong cycling offer.

“The opening of this route comes at an exciting time for cycling in Scotland as we count down to hosting the biggest cycling event in the world, the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, including events in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway.

“We would encourage tourism businesses in the south of Scotland to make the most of this unique opportunity. There has never been a better time to experience cycling in Scotland.

“With new cycling initiatives and experiences being created right across the country, such as the Kirkpatrick C2C, promoting cycling and helping businesses cater for this growing market will benefit communities right across the region and beyond.”

Businesses along the Kirkpatrick C2C route are gearing up for an influx of new visitors in the months ahead.