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Press Release   •   Nov 29, 2017 11:53 GMT

Lord Thurso visits the newly restored Great Polish Map of Scotland near Peebles

A NEWLY restored giant three-dimensional map of Scotland was among the highlights of a recent visit to the Peebles area by VisitScotland Chairman John Thurso.

The Great Polish Map of Scotland, which lies in the grounds of Barony Castle Hotel, has been painstakingly restored by a group of volunteers over a seven-year period, after lying abandoned for more than three decades.

Lord Thurso visited the structure as part of a recent tour of the Tweed Valley area. The map was originally commissioned by Polish war veteran Jan Tomasik and designed and built by Polish students in the 1970s with the help of local volunteers.

He also stopped off at Glentress Forest to learn more about the planned £11.3 million investment between Forest Enterprise Scotland and Forest Holidays to create 56 secluded eco-cabins, new biking trails and a walking route in the Tweed Valley.

The private and public sector investment has the potential of generating an extra £1 million into the local economy each year and employing up to 60 people.

The Tweed Valley site will add to Forest Holiday’s two existing locations in Scotland at Strathyre, Perthshire and Ardgarten, Argyll, which are run in partnership with Forest Enterprise Scotland.

The visit to Peebles followed a two-day tour of the wider region offering Lord Thurso the opportunity to meet with business leaders and industry stakeholders to gain a better understanding of both positive developments as well as the challenges facing the tourism industry in the region.

Tourism is at the centre of economic success in the region, supporting 4,000 jobs, sustaining communities, generating £76 million in revenue and providing a shop window for business activity.

Lord Thurso, VisitScotland Chairman said: “I was delighted to take the opportunity to visit the restored Great Polish Map of Scotland as part of my visit to the Scottish Borders and during the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. It is a fantastic achievement for this group of volunteers to have reached this stage and is testament to their hard work and dedication.

“From history and heritage to outdoor pursuits, there really is something for everyone in the Scottish Borders. The planned development at Glentress is an exciting addition to the tourism offering in the region. Scotland’s reputation as a quality destination relies on continued investment and innovation to ensure the current provision meets future demand. By working closely with our local communities and businesses, we can showcase the rich assets, hidden gems and local stories of every region in Scotland to develop and deliver innovative initiatives that grow the visitor economy.”

Keith Burns, Secretary of Mapa Scotland, which restored the Great Polish Map of Scotland said: “We were delighted to meet Lord Thurso on his recent visit to the Scottish Borders and to showcase the newly restored map. Our group of volunteers have worked hard over the last few years to restore the structure to its former glory and we are now looking for local groups and organisations to become more involved in its upkeep. To receive the seal of approval from Lord Thurso is a welcome boost for all of our hard work.”

Fiona Murray, Forest Enterprise Scotland said: “It is a very exciting time for forest tourism in the Scottish Borders with the recent tourism summit highlighting the sector’s importance. Planning applications have just been submitted for the new cabins and trails at Glentress which could prove a huge boost to the Tweed Valley and south Scotland economy.”

Robin Daniels, Forest Holidays said: Scotland is an inspirational destination and Forest Holidays’ guests who visit our existing locations are drawn to the beautiful landscapes, the opportunities for outdoor adventure and the warm welcome from surrounding attractions and the local community. It was very encouraging to discuss our proposals for Glentress with Lord Thurso. We share Visit Scotland’s aims of showcasing the rich and interesting tapestry of the Borders and our proposed investment with Forest Enterprise Scotland aims to bring opportunities both for visitors and the economy of the wider area.”

For more information on the Great Polish Map of Scotland, visit: http://www.mapascotland.org/

For more information on the planned development at Glentress Forest, visit: http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/news-releases/1823-forest-tourism-boost-for-tweed-valley

Notes to Editors

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