Cycling UK’s Aberdeenshire Bothy takes honour in Scottish Transport Awards

Anna Vince from Cycling UK and representatives from Aberdeenshire Council standing on stand being presented with an award
Cycling UK’s Anna Vince (second from right) accepting a Scottish Transport Award on behalf of the Aberdeenshire Bothy alongside Chris Menzies (second from left) and Cllr Isobel Davidson (centre) from Aberdeenshire Council
A Cycling UK project has emerged triumphant at the Scottish Transport Awards 2023, which recognise excellence and innovation in transport

The Aberdeenshire Bothy, part of a network of four Bothy projects run by Cycling UK in rural areas across Scotland, was named as the winner in the ‘Excellence in Walking, Public Realm and Cycling’ category at the awards held in Glasgow on 22 June.

The project will now go forward to be shortlisted at the UK National Transport Awards, which will be held in London on 5 October.

The Bothy, which is a partnership with Aberdeenshire Council, provides tailored support to people to help them overcome barriers to cycling and walking, often working with people on a one-on-one basis.

These activities include Better Biking confidence sessions for adults, led rides, e-bike try outs, family sessions and route-planning support. The project offers bike maintenance sessions to equip people with the knowledge to carry out small repairs on their bike.

The Bothy also brings together and supports local organisations that currently promote cycling activities or would like support in doing so.

In the past 12 months alone the Bothy has engaged with more than 1,000 people in local communities 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.

A recent participant survey found that 67% of respondents who had taken part in Bothy cycling activity were cycling regularly, up from 32% beforehand, while 41% of respondents with access to a car started cycling for some journeys they previously would have made by car.

The project – which is part-funded by Smarter Choices, Smarter Places – prioritises working within six target towns in Aberdeenshire: Ellon, Fraserburgh, Huntly, Inverurie, Peterhead and Portlethen.

We’re proud that hundreds of people in Aberdeenshire are now enjoying the many benefits of regularly cycling and walking thanks to this project

Cycling UK’s Suzanne Forup

Suzanne Forup, Cycling UK’s head of development for Scotland, said: “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.”

Cllr Alan Turner, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, commented: “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 for 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.”