Funded by the EU Atlantic Area Interreg programme, the AtlanticOnBike project aims to develop and promote one of the longest and most fascinating European long-distance cycle routes: EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route, following Europe’s wild western border from Scandinavia to South and Western Portugal, totaling 11,150 km of cycle routes.
During the meeting, the stakeholders discussed ongoing activities of the project, such as the results of the route surveys and action planning, the development of EuroVelo 1 transnational website and smartphone app, the promotion of the route through guidebooks, touristic leaflets and press kits, etc. All project partners presented the progress of the project activities they are responsible for.
As EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route crosses the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, Simon Jones, Director of the National Park, also took part in the meeting and expressed feelings of pride for fostering a connection between cycling and natural heritage.
The third day of the project meeting started with a discussion on the long-term management of the project’s results, which is key to maintaining its outcomes after the end of the project in one year’s time. Partners discussed the division of tasks between local, regional, national and transnational levels in the preparation of the long-term agreement.
The meeting finished on a lighter note, with a screening of the amazing movies prepared by each partners in the frame of the project, and the preparation of the final project meeting that will take place in the south of France.
Despite the small size of Balloch, the partners’ evenings were also well occupied. On the first night they had dinner on the Maid of the Loch – the last paddle steamer to be built in Britain, which now remains on the Lake’s shores and houses a restaurant and a bar. After dinner, musician Paul Cheese and writer Andrew Sykes presented their artistic projects related to cycling EuroVelo 1.
Paul Cheese cycled 8,000 km in three months across the UK last summer, recording a sound made up of the sounds of the UK. You can hear the results on TheBigRecord:UK. This journey led him along EuroVelo 1, including the section of the route that crosses the town of Balloch! As for Andrew Sykes, he completed a trip from the southern tip of Spain to the northernmost point of Norway in 2015 and wrote a book about his experience, published in 2017: Spain to Norway on a Bike Called Reggie.
On the second night, project partners were invited to taste some culinary specialties such as the famous fish & chips. And at the end of the meeting, a boat trip was proposed on the beautiful Loch Lomond, circled by misty mountains. A few rays of suns luckily pierced the clouds on this occasion!
Author(s): Florence Grégoire