“Great future” for tourism

Local Councillors say that Stonehaven should be a “prime tourist destination” and they hope that many recent plans and improvements in and around the town will encourage visitors to the town.

On summer days it’s clear to see that Stonehaven is already a popular place for visitors. The beach and harbour are often packed with people of all ages, some who are from the town and as the number of cars suggest, have travelled from further afield.

Despite the number of hotels slowly disappearing in the town, it’s hoped that many of the upcoming events will increase business for the existing hotels, B&Bs and caravan park.

Councillor Bellarby says “there are many things in and around Stonehaven that make for a really great tourism experience. We have a really special harbour with many old builldings and a variety of places to eat and drink.

“The open air swimming pool is the jewel in the crown. Nearby we have the skate park, the adventure playpark and the soon-to-be-refurbished caravan park. Not far from Stonehaven we have Dunnottar Castle, Fowlsheugh bird reserve and St Mary’s Church.”

The Stonehaven and Lower Deeside Councillor hopes that it will be possible to extent the present coastal path to link all of the town’s tourist attractions together and with smaller visitor attractions to the north and south of Stonehaven. He added that the town holds geological interest along the coastal path and a fossil of the world’s oldest air-breathing creature was found at the rocks off Cowie. He said “there is a great future for tourism in Stonehaven and we must grasp opportunities”.

One opportunity of which was grasped and opened this week when a new picnic van was unveiled at prime tourist attraction Dunnottar Castle. Situated near the carpark, the van sells hot and cold drinks, snacks and ice cream as well as brochures about the town and postcards.

Emily Telford from Dunect Estates said “we are very excited about the new venture as we put a lot of work in preparing the site. It was very important to us that the end result was something that fits in with the surrounding area. If it was scruffy or poor quality then it could give the wrong impression of the castle, which might reflect badly on the town”.

A new sign has also been installed at Dunnottar Castle to attract visitors into the town. An existing sign with information about the castle is situated as visitors head down towards the attraction, but recently the Stonehaven Tourism Group erected a sign facing visitors walking up from the castle. It includes photographs and information on the town’s attractions as well as having free mini maps to try and encourage people to visit the town rather than bypassing it to Aberdeen.

With the recent Olympic torch visit, the Feein’ Market and the opening of the open air pool, the town has proved to be popular with tourists and this is only likely to continue. The town could see an influx of visitors over the next year with Pixar film “Brave” being released, the refreshment of the QE caravan park, and Open Air in the Square at Hogmanay.

Councillor Clark said “visitors have been coming from mainland Europe and North America because of film and TV programs extolling the beauty and history of the area. I believe that the refurbishing of the QE caravan park by the Caravan club will bring new visitors to enjoy the delights of Dunnottar Castle, the Tolbooth museum, Stonehaven’s famous outdoor pool and some of the best walking in Aberdeenshire. Stonehaven people enjoy living in a beautiful part of Scotland and take a great interest and great pride that their town is shown in a good light to visitors from near and far.”