A small group of three have plans to help make the town of Stonehaven thrive once more.
George Wood, Rosemary Andrew and John Finlay have joined together to promote a “Tourist Town of the Future” to replace the town’s lost industries.
Mr Finlay, in his own words, describes their plans.
“Stonehaven and its surroundings have thrived over the centuries because of its great assets as a commercial port, an administrative centre, a fishing port, proximity to the North Sea oilfields, tourism, beautiful landscape, historic buildings and ruins and a wild seascape. But the world is changing, the commercial port does not exist anymore, the administration has moved, commercial fishing has finished, and North Sea oil is running out and only marginally commercial. However, the beautiful landscape, historic buildings and wild seascape are as wonderful as ever and in consequence Stonehaven deserves and enjoys continued tourism.
“Stonehaven’s tourism is rooted in its old town, harbour, seafront and sports facilities and supported by it’s huge variety of bed and breakfast accommodation and places to eat, but is that enough without the vibrant commercial activities of the past to sustain the town in the future?
So why “Stonehaven Forwards”? Tourists these days are usually well-travelled and want more from their resorts. The elderly may want places to sit and watch the world, young families may want energetic days at the beach or wild family picnics, individuals and couples may want places of interest and fascinating histories, and others may want to simply enjoy the excellent hostelries.
“These all exist but are mainly fair weather places and two thirds of it not easily accessible today. Stonehaven needs to provide more all weather facilities and sheltered seating, otherwise the car will be used to visit elsewhere and spend money there instead of here.
This need not be the case, but tourism needs to be enhanced enormously by linking together the massive assets of Dunnottar Castle, the Old Town and Harbour, the seafront all the way to Cowie, and St Mary’s and St Nathalan’s kirk and the Highland Boundary Fault with an all-weather broad footpath that would become as popular as the genius of the Boardwalk all those years ago.
This three-mile promenade could be made into a nature trail with attractive information boards at intervals and distance markers for measuring fitness, seating with wind protection at frequent intervals.
With imaginative signage it would be of interest to geologists who could experience the hard rock of the highlands at the Highland Boundary Fault to the rich puddingstone around Dunnottar.
It would also capture the interest of historians along the whole length of the footpath. Ornithologists and naturalists would find their own interest in the natural habitats and with increased numbers, families could enjoy enhanced beach facilities, and cafes and bars of the town.
A clear plan should be formulated by the Town Fathers that takes the best of everything Stonehaven has to offer and enhances it for today’s discerning tourist and enhances it still further for the future.”