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Projects at Glenfinnan and Glen Nevis are among a number of rural tourism schemes to be awarded funding in a new round of grants.
The iconic rural and island tourist sites are among 13 across Scotland to be receiving total funding of more than £2.8million from the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) for new facilities.
Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop announced the funding today (June 6) which includes investment in enhanced visitor facilities at Glenfinnan Viaduct and Lower Steall Falls Car Park in Glen Nevis, as well as on Eigg and at the Old Man of Storr on Skye.
The RTIF was launched in 2018 to help meet the demand of growing visitor numbers by funding infrastructure improvements such as parking, motorhome disposal points, visitor facilities and recycling points.
A total of six projects across the Highlands will benefit from the second round of funding.
They include £53,704 towards the final phase of the Glenfinnan Viaduct project to create a footbridge and new path to link the new car park (supported in round one of the RTIF) to the existing path to the viaduct, preventing the need to walk up the main trunk road for access.
There will also be £300,000 to install public transport access facilities, parking, signage, paths and toilet facilities at Lower Steall Falls Car Park, in Glen Nevis.
Other grants include £273,632 to create new toilets and showers along with signage at An Laimhrig pier, on Eigg, and there is £184,506 to enhance visitor access which will protect iconic landscapes and internationally important habitats at the Old Man of Storr on Skye.
There is also £300,000 to create an extended hardstanding area in west Bayfield Carpark, at Portree, to provide more parking spaces, day parking for motorhomes with waste and water facilities.
Ms Hyslop commented: ‘Scotland’s breathtaking natural scenery and rich historical sites are attracting a growing number of visitors from around the world.
‘While this is great for bringing jobs and investment, it can also put pressure on communities, services, transport and facilities – particularly in rural areas.
‘This funding will help the tourism industry keep pace with the upsurge in interest by developing and maintaining much needed infrastructure such as new pathways, car parks and facilities at some of our most iconic rural and natural attractions, benefiting local communities and visitors alike.’
Local MSP Kate Forbes added: ‘Glenfinnan and Glen Nevis are another two iconic tourism hotspots, and I’m pleased to see the path being completed at Glenfinnan and access arrangements resolved at the Lower Steall Falls.’
Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop at Glenfinnan Viaduct back in the autumn when she announced the first round of new tourism funding grants, funding including a new visitor car park in the area.
PICTURE – GAVIN MACQUEEN PHOTOGRAPHY.