30 June 2023

Aberdeenshire Bothy cycling project takes honour in Scottish Transport Awards

Aberdeenshire Council’s work to promote sustainability in transportation has been recognised at the 2023 Transport Times ‘Scottish Transport Awards’ held in Glasgow on Thursday, June 22. 

The Aberdeenshire Bothy project, which was shortlisted in the ‘Excellence in Walking, Public Realm and Cycling’ category, picked up the award in recognition of the positive contribution made towards supporting more active journeys.

Aberdeenshire Bothy is part of a network of four Bothy projects run by Cycling UK in rural areas across Scotland and provides opportunities for people to develop the cycle skills required to support more short local cycle trips via family cycle training sessions, one on one skill refresher courses and led cycle rides.

The project also provides a safe space for those who may be anxious about trying cycling for the first time.

Speaking after the awards, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Cllr Alan Turner said: “I am delighted that the hard work and effort put into the Aberdeenshire Bothy project has been recognised at a national level, as this really is an innovative and exemplar model for others to follow.

“The impact that the project has had locally is tremendous, with many more people now able to approach cycling with a renewed confidence and enthusiasm.”

Vice-chair Cllr Isobel Davidson added: “One of the biggest barriers to walking or cycling is actually a lack of confidence. While we are continuing to invest in the infrastructure to support more active travel, it’s important to ensure that we have people primed and able to make use of the facilities longer term behaviour change to take root.

“Projects like this work because we are able to go straight into a community and work with the people directly to help make a positive change.”

Suzanne Forup, Cycling UK’s head of development for Scotland, commented: “This fantastic award win is well-deserved recognition of the impact that the Bothy has had on people’s lives in Aberdeenshire. The Bothy team is passionate about helping people to overcome the barriers they face to doing more cycling and walking – delivering tailored sessions that help people with their specific needs and challenges. Congratulations to our skilled, dedicated and enthusiastic staff and volunteers who make the Bothy what it is. We’re proud that hundreds of people in Aberdeenshire are now enjoying the many benefits of regularly cycling and walking thanks to this project.”

The delivery team led by Cycling UK have in the last twelve months alone engaged with over 1,000 locals and delivered some 170 events and activities, which has had a positive impact on the number of people opting to walk or cycle for shorter trips. 

Part-funded by Paths for All under the Smarter Choices Smarter Places programme, the project is helping the council work towards its Local Transport Strategy and wider council objectives to reduce short car journeys, tackle health inequalities and reduce carbon emissions from transport.

Aberdeenshire Council is currently consulting on the development of the next Local Transport Strategy and would welcome views via its engagement platform.