Path to prosperity?

coast2Just read a rather interesting piece on the BBC News site, a fledgling plan by Alasdair Morgan MSP to create a path around the entire length of Scotland’s coastline. Now this is interesting for several reasons, although I’m fairly certain that in the current climate it’s either going to get rejected outright or at the very least shelved for several years

First off, we’re in the midst of a nasty recession and one of the gloomier aspects of this is rising unemployment levels – firms are cutting staff left, right and centre, leaving an awful lot of people sitting on their arses and getting very annoyed and very poor at the same time. Surely an ambitious project on this scale could provide meaningful work for a huge number of people over a long period of time? I was just thinking about this kind of thing yesterday thanks to a link from Ken MacLeod about the WPA in the United States during the thirties. It’s a lengthy read so here’s the main point – the WPA (Works Progress Administration) was a government project intended to solve massive unemployment by undertaking public construction works on a massive scale. The long and short of it is that it had many detractors and is now barely remembered but it worked and it’s legacy can be seen in towns across the whole of the USA. Why couldn’t this work in Scotland? Don’t see any reason…

Secondly it would prove massively worthwhile in terms of bringing in money to fund it and then some. We’re currently trying hard (and mostly failing – trust me, I have the inside scoop) to raise Scotland’s profile as a tourist destination and a place to live and work. What is really lacking in this area is something we can be proud of and which would symbolise Scotland, something to revitalise our image and be worth shouting about – at the moment we seem to be recycling the old standards of kilts, shortbread and Sean Connery and it’s getting a little embarrassing. A path around the coastline is the sort of thing that becomes an instant international landmark, and as the BBC article points out it would be on a par with the Appalachian trail in the States.

The last point is the main one for me though – imagine they made it suitable for bikes, a complete coastal cycle route from Gretna to Lamberton, thousands of miles of some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. How much fun would that be to cycle? I mean obviously all but the most committed have to do it in several stages but it would be a hell of a notch for the bedpost. If the track was well enough built and wide enough it could form the basis of a new race!

OK, so it’s never going to happen. It’d be amazing if it did though…

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2 responses to “Path to prosperity?

  1. Could the rising numbers of unemployed not be gainfully employed constructing the said path? Or is that solution far too logical 🙂

  2. That’s actually what I was getting at in the post although maybe didn’t make it clear enough as it was written in a bit of a rush at the tail-end of my lunch hour :p The WPA in the States used similar projects to employ millions of able workers and there’s no reason why we couldn’t do the same.

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