South of Scotland MSP Dr Aileen McLeod experienced life on the edge last week as she made a visit to the Mull of Galloway.
Dr McLeod was at the site to meet staff from RSPB Scotland and the Mull of Galloway Community Trust, as well as officially presenting a defibrillator, one of over 60 provided by the Scottish Ambulance Service at locations across Scotland.
She said: “It was fantastic to be back at the Mull of Galloway and two years after the community buyout, the whole Mull of Galloway experience is clearly going from strength to strength with visitor numbers on the rise. One of the great strengths of the way things are working at the Mull is the good working relationship and co-operation between the Mull of Galloway Trust and the RSPB. Between them they are creating a really excellent visitor attraction which makes a real contribution to the local economy.
“I was also delighted to formally hand over a defibrillator which was funded by the Scottish Ambulance Service. Public Access Defibrillators are potential lifesavers and I do think it is particularly important for remote visitor attractions to have one available.”
The Mull of Galloway is Scotland’s most southerly point and a popular tourist destination throughout the year, but particularly from spring until early autumn when the high cliffs are crammed with noisy sea birds.
Visitors can climb the 115 steps to the top of Robert Stevenson’s lighthouse, have a meal at the Gallie Craig Coffee House, or take a walk among the wildflower-covered heath on the RSPB Scotland nature reserve. On clear days, there are views across to Northern Ireland, Cumbria and the Isle of Man.
It is estimated that the Mull of Galloway Experience attracts around 20,000 visitors a year, and an economic study in 2009 found that visitors to the nature reserve alone contributed over half a million pounds to the local economy.
Anne McCall, regional director for the RSPB in South and West Scotland, who’s originally from the area, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Aileen to the Mull of Galloway and show her not only the impressive views, but also some of the fantastic work that’s been going on to improve the site for visitors.
“The Mull of Galloway Experience is a great example of how different organisations can work together to bring many benefits to a rural area, and it’s continued efforts help to support the local community, as well as the important home for nature that’s found at Scotland’s most southern point.”
Maureen Chand, Chairperson of the Mull of Galloway Trust, said: “The Mull of Galloway Trust is delighted to welcome Aileen back to the Mull and appreciates her continued support.”