Businesses find a West Highland Way to adapt

The Granite House on High Street Fort William.

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Strathfillan Wigwams turned to making facemasks during the lockdown.

Having turned their hands to offering new products and services during lockdown, businesses along the West Highland Way are looking forward to welcoming back walkers.

Family-run gift shop The Granite House, situated on Fort William High Street, just a few metres from the end of the iconic walking route has been providing a free local delivery service during lockdown offering thousands of products, including jigsaws, Lego and craft-related goodies to keep both the little and big kids busy.

This service, organised by sisters Katherine and Gillian, proved to be very popular and kept the business busy despite the sharp drop in visitors to the Highlands. Gillian became a familiar figure on her electric bike, delivering birthday presents around Fort William.

Owner Alistair Ness said: ‘Our lovely loyal locals have supported us during lockdown. However, we’re looking forward to the return of walkers on the West Highland Way and climbers on Ben Nevis as soon as possible!’

Rena Baillie who manages tourism business Strathfillan Wigwams, near Tyndrum has found several ways to keep busy during lockdown.

Firstly, bedsheets from Kirkton Farmhouse, rented out alongside the Wigwams, were given a new lease of life as gowns for NHS district nurses in Glasgow.

‘Our group of five women made 70 gowns of which 18 were made by myself on a 1958 Singer sewing machine,’ she told us.

‘I also started making face masks for locals and relatives with the proceeds going to the Falls of Dochart Care Home in Killin, who do an amazing job.

‘Fiona from Glenorchy Farm came up with the idea for the flour hub when it became difficult to source from supermarkets. At Strathfillan Wigwams, we were able to source bread flour from our suppliers, which was sold in the porch at the Artisan Cafe with an honesty box so that there was no contact between buyers.

‘This supply of flour got lots of locals (adults and children) baking bread and cakes during lockdown.’

The West Highland Way, Scotland’s much loved long distance route from Milngavie to Fort William, is celebrating its 40th anniversary in October this year backed by funding from the LEADER programme.

Information on the West Highland Way is available at www.westhighlandway.org