• For hikers on Ben Nevis the wilds of Canada with its native moose must seem a world away, but both locations are to be part of the International Appalachian Trail.
But millions of years of separate histories are to be wiped out as Scotland’s most famous long-distance walk – the West Highland Way – and a globally renowned hiking route along the eastern mountains of North America are joined together once more.
Scotland’s ancient Caledonian peaks and the Appalachians of the eastern United States and Canada were once part of the same great range which also stretched across Greenland and as far south as Morocco. The 96-mile West Highland Way on Scotland’s west coast will this week be named as the first European addition to the International Appalachian Trail (IAT).
The move to reconnect them through a hiking trail is expected to deliver a major boost to the economy. There are 40 million hikers in the US and many will be keen to walk an international route.