A blueprint for managing Britain’s largest national park — which will lure more visitors to Highland Perthshire — has been formally launched.
The masterplan for the Cairngorms National Park includes the creation of an ambitious Snow Road tourist trail, starting at Blairgowrie.
The driving route, which takes in Britain’s highest road, will be punctuated by a series of eye-catching art installations. A smartphone app is being developed to help explorers plan their journey.
The overall plan will be rolled out over the next five years. It includes an increase in woodland expansion and restoration of peatlands.
There is also a target to create 200 new affordable homes within the park by 2022.
The 1,750 square mile park is twice the size of the Lake District National Park and bigger than the whole of Luxembourg.
Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham was at Tomintoul to officially launch the ambitious project.
“Scotland’s National Parks conserve and enhance our rich natural and cultural heritage, while supporting the sustainable development local communities want and need,” she said.
“That’s why I’m delighted to launch the Cairngorm plan, which sets out how that balance will be achieved between now and 2022, and which has been developed in full consultation with those same communities.”
She added: “I’m also pleased to visit and view the final installation on the Snow Roads scenic route. Back in 2013, we made a commitment to improve and market Scotland’s unrivalled scenic routes.
“Britain’s highest road is now part of that successful programme after benefiting from a range of enhancements designed to showcase the area’s stunning scenery to road users.”
An artwork and viewing area has also been created at the notorious Devil’s Elbow, a once-notorious series of hairpin bends at a one-in-six gradient ascent on the A93. The route was straightened out in the 1960s.
It is hoped the Snow Road will be as successful as the North Coast 500, a circuit which loops around the north of Scotland and has been described as one of the world’s best drives.
The park covers parts of Perthshire, Highlands and Aberdeenshire.
Cairngorms National Park Authority convener Peter Argyle said: “This is a key document that shapes the work of not only the park authority but all those involved in the park working across conservation, visitor experience and rural development.
“Working together, I think the plan is ambitious but achievable and I would like to thank all those who took the time to respond to the consultation and all those who from now, will be working hard to help us make it a reality.”