New onshore facilities at Fort William’s waterfront are being used by cruise ship passengers for the first time today (Wednesday 28 September).
The works include a shelter that provides comfortable and convenient protection from the weather. An information noticeboard for visitors to learn more about the area and places to see is also being integrated.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) provided £20,000 towards the development at Fort William’s West End car park.
The facilities complement new pontoons installed earlier in the year that allow safe access to and from Loch Linnhe for a wide variety of marine users.
The onshore development has been progressed by the Fort William Marina and Shoreline Company Ltd (FWMSC) and allows those embarking and disembarking to be sheltered from the weather while being processed for transfers to and from cruise ships and boarding coaches for onward tours.
Head of Regional Development at HIE, Scott Dingwall said: “These facilities will make the overall visitor experience much more welcoming. It allows Fort William to become a more attractive destination for cruise line operators, enables other marine tourism markets to be developed and provides local people with a valuable amenity.
“They will also further promote a vibrant waterfront, help bring economic and community benefit to the area and contribute towards growing Scotland’s reputation as a world class marine destination.”
Funding for the wider pontoons project was sourced from the Scottish Government, Highland Council and Fort William Community Council.
Hamish Loudon, Chairman of FWMSC said: “Transfers from ships like the Boudicca which visited today are now much more straightforward, especially for those with walking or mobility difficulties.
“Keeping out of inclement weather before or after transfers can often be the difference between a good and bad visitor experience and the shelter has the potential to make a major impact on the lasting impression cruise ship passengers have of the area.”