£5m award for Highlands and Islands tourism

Fiona Hyslop MSP visit to Abernethy Nature Reserve. Photograph: Ewen Weatherspoon/ SNH

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Nine projects in the Highlands and Islands will share a £5 million European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) award to promote the outstanding scenery, wildlife and culture of the Highlands and Islands, Scottish Tourism and Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop announced on December 28.

The fund invests in projects in the Highlands and Islands which improve the experience of visitors exploring the region’s nature and culture.

Ms Hyslop said: ‘Tourism is a major part of the Highland and Islands’ economies and it’s essential that its social and economic benefits are shared as widely as possible. That’s why I’m pleased to announce the successful applicants for grants from the Natural Cultural and Heritage Fund to improve their experience for visitors.

‘This fund will create jobs and help projects in remote areas to enhance their offer to the millions of people who visit the region every year.

‘Thanks to support from the European Regional Development Fund, the wonderful landscapes, nature and culture of the Highlands and Islands will welcome new visitors in a way that is sustainable and creates long-term benefits for local communities.’

Projects to receive funding include:

West Highland College UHI – The Coast that Shaped the World (£350,371) – This project will develop a website, app and programme of digital exhibitions along the west coast of Scotland. Stories of coastal communities will convey how maritime cultural, and natural, heritage helped to shape the world. Local stories will be mapped and gathered, creating a website and app to inspire potential visitors.

National Trust Scotland, Corrieshalloch Gorge Gateway to Nature, near Ullapool, (£923,000) – A new visitor centre will form a gateway to Corrieshalloch Gorge and the Falls of Measach. The project will also improve and expand car parking and develop new path networks with wayfinding and signage.

Lews Castle College UHI, UVAP- Uibhist Virtual Archaeology Project (£271,000) – This project will create a series of augmented reality experiences and mixed-media exhibitions for seven archaeological sites along the Hebridean Way walking route.

Funding for the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund comes from the Scottish Government’s European Regional Development Fund programme, with match funding from other sources bringing overall investment to more than £7million.

caption: Fiona Hyslop MSP visit to Abernethy Nature Reserve.
Photograph: Ewen Weatherspoon/ SNH