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Highland tourist sites to benefit from a mix of investment funding

5th October 2018

Six Highland projects, including two Highland Council projects, will receive £1,101,147 of funding from the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund in addition to Council and LEADER funding for new facilities to help meet the needs of growing visitor numbers.

Chair of The Highland Council's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Allan Henderson welcomed the investment. He said: "This is good news for the Highlands I would like to recognise the work of all the community leaders who have driven these projects forward."

Speaking specifically about the £269,906 for additional parking for 100 cars and 10 motorhomes at the Glenfinnan Viaduct he said: "The Glenfinnan Viaduct is one of the Highlands' most iconic attractions, most recently recognised for its part in the Harry Potter films, as well as MacAlpine’s first major construction with concrete.

“Glenfinnan is also a popular destination because of the historic associations with Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite rebellion, meaning large numbers also visit the National Trust for Scotland Visitor Centre and the associated Jacobite Monument. With the overall number of visitors to Highland increasing, this has taken the parking issues to unsustainable levels which are causing major congestion and safety issues on the A830 trunk road which splits both sites.

“This funding will help to ease some of that pressure with new parking for 100 cars and 10 motorhome or bus spaces and will be great news for both visitors and the local community."

Another successful project in Cllr Henderson’s ward is the Traigh/Mallaig toilet hub for camper vans. He added: “It is great news that these two projects local to where I live, and all the other successful projects in the Highlands will now be able to move forward with their improvement plans that are all about improving the experiences visitors have when they come to enjoy spending time in our communities.”

Chair of Skye’s Local Committee Cllr John Gordon added: “Over recent years the Isle of Skye has seen an increase in visitor numbers. An increasing number are being directed via social media to visit specific sites which are promoted as the “top places” to visit. First amongst the natural features in terms of visitor numbers is the Storr which has seen a 600% increase in 10 years. The current capacity of the car park at the Old Man of Storr is no longer suitable for the number of visitors it receives. As a result, the site is overwhelmed with visitors arriving in cars, coaches, on foot by bike etc. This all results in serious road safety issues and can leave many visitors with a negative impression of the area.

“To address the current issues at Storr the Highland Council are investing £200,00 to expand the car park together with £200,000 from LEADER and an addition ££128,571 along with the £300,000 from the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund to improve the facilities that are currently available with the addition of public toilets, motorhome facilities, interpretation, visitor information and improved access to a wider public.

Another successful application submitted by The Highland Council to create scenic layby viewpoints along the Bealach na Ba (Lochcarron North Coast 500). This project will receive £129,325 from RTIF and a further £55,425 from Highland Council.

Additional money has also been invested by the Council in the other iconic sites on Skye, including the Fairy Pools ( £100k from the Council and £200k from LEADER), Quiraing (£90k from the Council) and Neist Point (£65k from the Council).

£226,000 of the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund has also been announced for new paths linking car parks, visitor attractions and accommodation at Glenmore in the Cairngorms National Park.

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