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Many residents of the Lochaber area will be, quite understandably, somewhat relieved that the region has seen little in the way of snow or harsh winter weather conditions.
It is, however, a troubling development for the local tourism sector, which has been suffering from a downturn in the number of visitors.
As we report today, the Nevis Range managed to open for just one day in January although the artificial slope is open at the moment for beginner lessons.
And Glencoe Mountain Resort has also had a quiet season, with director Andy Meldrum saying: ‘We’ve had a slow start with just four days of skiing so far, but there’s been lots of sledging. We’ve got plenty of big patches of snow but currently not enough to ski.’
There is, consequently, a damaging knock-on effect for other businesses. One business owner, who admitted being a snow-dependent enterprise, went so far as to say this was the quietest January since 1990. Elsewhere, entrepreneurs in Fort William’s retail sector say they are still waiting for the winter season to begin.
But the business owners in this Outdoor Capital of the UK are resilient and remain confident of a turnaround in fortunes. We hope they are right.