Filmed on locations featured in seven new and six existing cycling itineraries in the Cateran Ecomuseum, ‘Built to Last‘ is the latest film from round the world singlespeed cyclist and founder of Bikepacking Scotland Markus Stitz.
The 10-minute documentary featuring Bob Ellis, founder of the Cateran Trail, Neil Tuer, owner of Alyth Cycles and Jane Wilkinson, willow weaver at Special Branch Baskets, with music from Dave Macfarlane, launches seven new cycling itineraries designed for road, mountain, gravel and touring bikes as part of the Cateran Ecomuseum’s Travel for All Our Tomorrows initiative – which aims to develop new regenerative tourism experiences in the area.
The Cateran Ecomuseum is a museum without walls, close to the cities of Perth and Dundee in Scotland, both accessible by a new electric bus service from Edinburgh. Launched in 2019 and One of a growing number of ecomuseums worldwide, all its sites are outside. Community led, it empowers local people to take an active role in preserving the objects, sites and cultural practices they value. Providing over 20 pre-designed cycling and walking routes that reveal the hidden heritage of this little known part of Scotland, the museum’s website also offers visitors the opportunity to design their own routes around its 130 sites of interest.
Travel for All Our Tomorrows, a campaign to position the Cateran Ecomuseum as one of Scotland’s premier car-free holiday destinations, was funded through Smarter Choices Smarter Places (SCSP) by Paths for All, Cairngorms National Park, NatureScot, Perth & Kinross Council and Thomson Charitable Trust, together with the Cateran Ecomuseum’s own directors.
The itineraries developed by Bikepacking Scotland, for mountain bikes, gravel bikes, road bikes and touring bikes, can be downloaded as GPX files for free on the Ecomuseum’s website www.cateranecomuseum.co.uk. They range from 8.3km to 109km and feature a variety of points of interest like stone circles, standing stones, geological features, historic churches and wildlife reserves along the way.
Changing attitudes to Sustainability
Stuart Douglas, SCSP Manager at Paths for All said: ‘As a behaviour-change programme, Smarter Choices, Smarter Places supports organisations that have innovative and new ideas about how to get people out of their cars and move towards more active and sustainable forms of transport. This campaign is a great example of that, as it’s inspiring people to explore the Cateran Ecomuseum and the surrounding area by bike, meaning visitors to the ecomuseum can not only help reduce harmful carbon emissions, they can also give their own health and wellbeing a boost.’
Pete Crane, Head of Visitor Services, Cairngorms National Park, comments: ‘The Cateran Ecomuseum overlaps with the southern half of the Cairngorms National Park, a place we humans returned to 10,000 years ago as the last ice age melted. The Ecomuseum is an amazing 21st century project, encouraging us to actively explore this stunning landscape and experience how people and nature have lived together for thousands of years. We at the Cairngorms National Park Authority are very pleased to support this project that shares enjoyable and sustainable ways to link people with nature.’
Eileen Stuart, NatureScot Deputy Director of Nature & Climate Change, said: ‘Research by NatureScot has shown that Covid-19 has led to a surge in the number of people enjoying our wonderful outdoors and nature, which is great news. Initiatives such as Travel for All Our Tomorrows and the Cateran Ecomuseum are a fantastic way of helping to build a green recovery from the pandemic, encouraging people to get active, boost their health and connect with nature through sustainable tourism. Active travel also has a crucial role to play as a nature-based solution to climate change and innovative projects like this make it easier for people to choose cycling or walking and enjoy the many benefits, both for people and our planet.’
Markus Stitz, creator of the new cycling routes and director of the film, comments: ‘Climate change and the impact of my actions on future generations is something that concerns me deeply, and I would like to offer people positive alternatives to our very car-focussed culture, and that’s exactly what Travel for All our Tomorrows does. For me travelling by bike has had a massive positive impact on my life, both for my own physical and mental wellbeing. I understand that changing our habits will take time and depend on good alternatives like the electric bus service I used to get to the Ecomuseum from Edinburgh. But as Jane wonderfully puts it in the film, ‘we can make a small difference and can be part of a better history in the future.’
In my eyes we need to be more mindful about what impact we have on our planet and future generations, so that beautiful places like the Cateran Ecomuseum will inspire generations to come. For me the joy of cycling doesn’t depend on the latest innovation in cycling. It depends on a connection with people and places, and the Cateran Ecomuseum has provided exactly that for me. I came to visit for the first time in March 2019, and the idea of making a film about this part of Scotland has been on my mind since then. Clare Cooper, co-founder of the Ecomuseum, who’s amazing drive and vision has helped me turn an idea into a tangible outcome, invited me and I have returned many times, mostly on my bike. Being able to share the routes I enjoyed through the project and portraying people like Bob, Jane and Neil, people that make the Cateran Ecomuseum such a special place, made this one of the most rewarding sustainable tourism projects I have worked on.
Clare Cooper, Co-Founder of the Cateran Ecomuseum said: ‘Travel for All Our Tomorrows is about growing the number of Regenerative Tourism experiences we can offer across the Ecomuseum. Regenerative Tourism encourages people to rethink how they travel for leisure and how they enjoy the places they choose to travel to in ways that ‘leave things better’ and ensure those places are available for future generations to enjoy. Working with Markus has been fantastic, we’re delighted with the range and diversity of cycling routes we now have that connect people to our amazing natural and cultural heritage and give them the opportunity to really get to know our host communities and all they have to offer.’
Travel for All Our Tomorrows will alsowork with local communities and businesses in the Ecomuseum area during 2021 to promote a new family friendly cycling event and one new temporary outdoor arts installation. All routes and more information about the Cateran Ecomuseum can be found at cateranecomuseum.co.uk, Facebook @cateranecomuseum, Twitter @CateranEco, or Instagram @cateraneco.