Off Road On Track
16th May 2002
There will be even more 4x4 fun on the farm in future, even in wet weather, with help from Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE).
William Ronaldson & Son of Westerseat Farm near Wick have bought a new tracked vehicle with financial assistance from CASE so their 4x4 activities for visitors can continue, even when the weather is more suited to ducks.
A development grant and financial support from the European funded HIE Activity programme - which supports tourism activities covering everything from mountaineering and fishing, to events and festivals - has allowed Mr Ronaldson to buy an ex-MOD tracked vehicle.
During periods of heavy rain the 4x4 track becomes water logged and normal off-road vehicles can no longer use it. However, Morris Ronaldson's new Hagglund BV206 All Terrain Personnel Carrier will mean visitors can still enjoy the off-road experience.
Commenting on the new vehicle, Morris said: "The new vehicle is a real investment, allowing us to operate in all conditions. Last year we were unable to operate between November and February because of wet weather but with the Hagglund we can now operate year-round."
The Ronaldsons set up the 4x4 activity centre in 2000 as a way of diversifying their farming business which involves cattle, sheep and arable farming as well as contracting. Other activities on offer at the farm include 4x4 and quad bike driving, and tractor and fork lift challenges with the centre proving extremely popular with guests staying at the nearby Ackergill Tower and locals alike.
Arlette Bannister from Ackergill Tower said: "Our guests really enjoy William and his team, they are very professional in their welcome, and explanation, and cover the safety aspect well. Another 'toy' in the form of the Hagglund is a great addition for us to offer to our guests, especially for those guests who have visited the Ronaldsons before."
Chief executive at CASE, Carroll Buxton said: "Tourism is extremely important to the Caithness economy and the more activities there are to do in the area, the more visitors we can attract. William Ronaldson & Son are an excellent example of how farm businesses can diversify and generate income from the tourist sector."
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A project to create accommodation facilities at Kishorn dry dock in Wester Ross has secured investment of up to £94,675 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). Having on-site accommodation will enhance the dock's capacity and help it attract more high-end contracts in offshore renewables and oil and gas decommissioning.
£2 million for locally-led green recovery. Island communities will benefit from a £2 million programme of locally-led green projects designed to help support their economic recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
A free programme to help businesses accelerate their growth has opened for new applications, with a virtual taster session arranged for 24 September 2020. Developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the Pathfinder Accelerator programme provides fast-track training and mentoring and will be delivered completely online.
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Unlocking the potential of the Highlands and Islands will be a key factor in Scotland's recovery, writes Alistair Dodds, Chair of HIE. Nothing focuses the mind more than a crisis.
Cairngorm Estate owner, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), has responded positively to a request from stakeholders to extend the deadline, which was originally to be 31 August. Deadline extended to 15 September.
Businesses that meet the criteria will be eligible for both grants and a holistic business review with bespoke support based on their individual needs. Carroll Buxton, deputy chief executive of HIE, said: "Hotels are at the heart of our tourism sector, which is central to our regional economy and a vital source of rural employment.