An experienced ‘bikepacker’ has been surveying trails in Helensburgh and Lomond as part of a project to map active travel routes.

Markus Stitz has travelled the world on two wheels, becoming the first person to cycle around the world on a singlespeed bike in 2016.

The German-born route designer has worked on a number of projects for companies and local authorities across Scotland.

Markus previously worked on routes in and around Helensburgh for the Argyll and the Isles Tourism Co-operative, including the Wild About Argyll trail, which he mapped in 2017.

Helensburgh Advertiser: The maps will include trails reaching as far as Garelochhead on one end and Cardross on the otherThe maps will include trails reaching as far as Garelochhead on one end and Cardross on the other (Image: Markus Stitz)

Thanks to his knowledge of the area, his skills were called upon when cartography specialists at Pindar Creative were asked by Argyll and Bute Council to create active travel maps for the town.

The cyclist has been testing routes across the area over the past few weeks, stretching from Cardross to Garelochhead.

Markus said: “The thing about Helensburgh is it has a lot of interesting stuff in quite a short distance.

“In Highlandman’s Wood, there’s some fantastic walks in there – especially if you a little higher up, you get a nice view as well.

“I love Glen Fruin too. It’s such an incredible glen, especially if you get a good day.

“I think the area I found more fascinating is when you go towards Cardross, there’s Ben Bouie and Gouk Hill on the John Muir Way. There’s plenty of good stuff.”

Helensburgh Advertiser: Markus is working with Pindar Creative to create the mapsMarkus is working with Pindar Creative to create the maps (Image: Markus Stitz)

The maps will feature walking and cycling routes which are accessible using ScotRail’s Highland Explorer – modified train carriages on routes between Glasgow and the West Highlands with dedicated spaces for bikes – encouraging the use of sustainable transport options.

Markus hopes the maps, which are due to be released in the spring, will attract more people to Helensburgh to enjoy both the routes and everything else the town has to offer.

He added: “I also think it’s a good thing for the local community to get more in walking and cycling. I often think that when people come for waking and cycling, they have a positive impact on the community. They don’t take up any resources and they hopefully spend quite a bit of money in the area.

“Helensburgh’s connectivity in general is really good, especially for cyclists. You’ve got Helensburgh Central with the regular connections to Glasgow and Edinburgh, and then Helensburgh Upper with the Highland Explorer.

Helensburgh Advertiser: The routes will also be suitable for those exploring on footThe routes will also be suitable for those exploring on foot (Image: Markus Stitz)

“That’s an even better connection because, to my knowledge, it’s the only train in Scotland so far which you can get a tandem or cargo bike on.”

A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Council added: “Delivering active travel routes and providing communities with better opportunities for safe cycling and walking, is a key element of our commitment to creating a healthy, climate friendly environment in Argyll and Bute.

“The active travel map, will raise awareness of the different routes available in the local area and provide a safe alternative to car travel.”

Two routes which pass through Helensburgh, the John Muir Way and Wild About Argyll trail, will also feature in Markus’s book, Bikepacking Scotland, which is set to be released in May.

The guide will detail 20 multi-day off-the-beaten-track cycling routes across Scotland.

Find out more here.