News and media


EU funding enables tourism at Lochaline

19 July 2011

Thanks to the EU INTERREG IVA funding, berthing at one of Scotland's most remote and sheltered sea lochs will be plain sailing from Wednesday (July 20) as the Morvern community opens the newly built Cala Loch Àlainn pontoons at Lochaline.

The communities of the Highlands most south westerly peninsula are coming together to celebrate their latest initiative which will offer to up to 24 yachts and boats safe berthing and shore access, only moments walk from the village.

Robin Smart is chair of the Morvern Community Development Company (MCDC), he commented: "The Sound of Mull offers stunning sailing and Lochaline already attracts many visitors from neighbouring marinas at Tobermory and Kerrera. We hope the pontoons make it even easier to stay and enjoy Lochaline, and our plans are already underway to provide additional on-shore facilities."

With a number of previous successes delivering projects to benefit the local area's economy, they have brought about this £300,000 project with the help of Sail West, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Highland Council.

The community is delighted to be part of the Sail West project. Led by Donegal County Council, it is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVA Cross-Border Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body with co-funding provided by the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland and the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government in the Republic of Ireland.

Its aim is to develop sailing opportunities along the North West coast of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the West coast of Scotland. Lochaline will also benefit from its three year MalinWaters marketing programme.

Lee-Anne Doherty, Marketing Officer for the project welcomed the new pontoon facility. She said: "The completion is timely in that the Sail West project partners just last week launched the new consumer facing marine tourism brand MalinWaters aboard a Tall ship in Campbeltown, Argyll."

MalinWaters includes a large part of West Coast from Lough Ryan to Lochaber and the new pontoon in Lochaline will undoubtedly improve the quality of the overall tourism offer while having a positive impact for the local community.

Ian Philp, of HIE commented: "HIE have been supporting community development in the area for many years. In addition to assisting the community company to deliver this project, HIE have directly contributed over £113,000 in grant funding.

"The community has worked hard to come up with innovative ways of delivering services to benefit everyone who lives there. Their ambition to grow meant that they were selected for community account management and with HIE and LEADER's help have employed their own development officer. Her role has been instrumental in delivering this project so quickly."

"Having someone employed by the community itself to drive forward plans is delivering results for fragile areas. It is a win-win situation - the income from this initiative will support future enterprise."

Councillor Dr Michael Foxley of Highland Council said: "The community has worked long and hard for years on this project. Highland councillors and officials have been fully supportive and we have contributed more than £40,000 as well as helping to resolve several problems. The pontoons will now allow many more yachts to visit and to spend time and money in the area."

The launch event will be held at 3pm. As well as pontoon manufacturers Varis Engineering from Forres in Moray, local community representation, politicians and public sector representatives, it is anticipated that Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith who has a close relationship with the area will be present.

Further information:

  • About Sail West
    Led by Donegal County Council, Sail West is a unique marine leisure and tourism initiative aimed at improving and developing links between the North West of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the West of Scotland. The project is part financed by the European Union's European Regional Development Fund through INTERREG IVA Cross-Border Programme managed by the Special European Unions Programmes Body with co-funding provided by the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland and the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government in the Republic of Ireland. The INTERREG award for the Lochaline scheme was €223,663.
  • About HIE
    HIE supports MCDC to employ its own community development officer through an initiative known as community account management. Lilia Dobrokhodova works with the various members of the community to support local growth.
  • About SEUPB
    The Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) in Northern Ireland and the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport (DTTS) in Ireland. It is responsible for managing two EU structural funds Programmes PEACE III and INTERREG IV designed to enhance cross-border co-operation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society. The Programmes operate within a clearly defined area including Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland. For more information on the SEUPB please visit
    The INTERREG IVA 2007-2013 Programme, funded though the European Regional Development Fund, is worth €256 million and aims to address the economic and social problems which result from the existence of borders. It has two distinct priority measures to create co-operation for a more prosperous and sustainable cross-border region. For more information visit the INTERREG website.
  • About LEADER
    LEADER is now part of the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP), aimed at promoting economic and community development within rural areas. It is a bottom up method of delivering support for rural development aimed primarily at small and medium sized community driven projects that are pilot and innovative in nature.  The main aims of the new fund are Revitalising Communities and Progressive Rural Economies.  For more information, visit


Leave a comment

Back to top