VILLAGERS and cyclists were part of a huge crowd at the formal opening of the Eddleston Water Path.

Tweeddale Lord Lieutenant Sir Hew Strachan cut a ribbon to declare the 6km multi-use track officially open.

It is designed for walkers, cyclists, wheelers and horse riders, and runs alongside the Eddleston Water for much of its length as well as curving through arable fields.

The project, which connects Eddleston and Peebles, was made possible by more than £2 million of funding from the Scottish Government through Sustainable Transport (Sustrans) Scotland’s Places for Everyone programme and South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE).

The scheme was developed in partnership between Scottish Borders Council, Peebles Community Trust, Sustrans, SOSE, Peebles Community Council and Eddleston Community Council.

Karen McGregor, Sustrans Scotland director, said: “We’re very pleased the Eddleston Water Path is now open to the public.

“This new route creates a vital traffic-free space for walking, wheeling and cycling between Peebles and Eddleston, enabling residents and visitors to the area to travel actively while accessing key services and local greenspace.

“We hope the new path makes it safer and easier for lots more people to leave the car at home for short everyday journeys.”

Tweeddale West councillor Drummond Begg added: “Well done to all involved – wonderful to see so many people at the opening of this fantastic route.”

Professor Russel Griggs, chairman of SOSE, was also delighted to see the project come to fruition.

He said: “SOSE is committed through all we do to supporting a wellbeing economy and all the positive things that it brings for communities.

“The new Eddleston Water Path is a fantastic example of this approach, encouraging local people and visitors to get active and help address issues such as fuel poverty and community isolation, and improve resident’s health and wellbeing.”