Highlands & Islands

Scotland's first Active Nation commissioner appointed

Lee Craigie Image copyright Transport Scotland
Image caption Lee Craigie's role involves encouraging more people to be active through walking and cycling

Former professional mountain biker Lee Craigie has been appointed as Scotland's first active nation commissioner.

The 37-year-old. who is originally from Glasgow and is now based in the Highlands, will help to encourage more people to take up walking and cycling.

Ms Craigie's role will see her report to Transport Secretary Michael Matheson.

However, she will work independently of the government.

Ms Craigie, a Scottish and British championships-winning cyclist, is a co-founder of The Adventure Syndicate, a collective of female endurance cyclists whose aim is to increase levels of self-belief and confidence in others, especially in women and girls.

The group runs workshops and training.

Other members of the syndicate include Jenny Graham, from Inverness, who this year became the fastest woman to cycle around the world and Highlands-based gold medal-winning paralympian Karen Darke.

Two years ago, Ms Craigie was one of seven women cyclists who set a record time of 36 hours to complete Scotland's gruelling 518-mile (833km) North Coast 500 in a non-stop team time trial.

She said: "A large part of my mountain bike racing career has been about taking risks.

Image copyright Kirk Watson
Image caption In 2016 Lee Craigie was part of a group of cyclists to set a new record time for completing the North Coast 500

"My present work with The Adventure Syndicate is all about encouraging and enabling young people, and particularly young women, to take their own risks - to step out of their comfort zone and do something different to make them feel healthier, happier and more in control of their lives.

"Adventure is everywhere. It doesn't take much to help people realise that."

Mr Matheson said he was delighted to have appointed the endurance cyclist to the role.

He said: "I am confident she will not only be an inspirational advocate for active travel, but also progress high impact policy development.

"Working with our Active Travel delivery partners and local authorities, Lee will help to promote new infrastructure to achieve the shift towards walking and cycling that this government is determined to achieve."