Person wearing blue jacket and black helmet on a bike perched downhill on black heather moorland

The west Highlands - a land of opportunity

From the highest peak to mystical pools and one of the best drives in the world, Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross have the monopoly on A-list natural attractions.

But while Ben Nevis, the Isle of Skye’s Fairy Pools and the Bealach na Ba road draw visitors by the thousands, there’s more to this area of the vast western Highlands than mere world-class natural beauty.

Rich in natural produce, food and drink is a key local employer with companies such as Mowi farming salmon and exporting globally.

The area’s schools are among the strongest in the country, with a high proportion of school pupils going on to higher education. UHI West Highlands has 10 centres in the region, delivering further and higher education, including degree courses.

From Fort William to Portree, film crews have amplified the stunning landscapes of one of Scotland’s most photogenic regions all around the world. The area has made silver screen appearances in Prometheus, Macbeth, James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough and many more.

Live, work and study - love lochaber!

If you’re looking for the ideal work/life balance, Lochaber is the place to be. You won’t just find an area of outstanding natural beauty, although it is most definitely that, you’ll also find a diverse and dynamic community waiting to welcome you.


The Love Lochaber community campaign, supported by HIE and the Lochaber Chamber of Commerce, aims to increase the areas population by 25%. With this in mind, the area has seen recent investment in housing with over 300 more in the pipeline.


There’s a diverse range of employment opportunities across Lochaber with small to large enterprises. These include MOWI, Alvance aluminium smelter, SSE and BSW Sawmill. And being the outdoor capital of the UK, it’s no surprise that tourism, walking and adventure activities support many in the local community.


Scotland’s newest college, UHI North, West and Hebrides, delivers flexible, supportive learning from access level to PHD.

Find out more and #LoveLochaber

Conference reflections.

Get involved in the action

Join us in shaping the future of economic growth in our community.

At a recent conference in Portree over 80 businesses and organisations discussed strategies to capitalise on a range of economic growth opportunities in our region. Hosted by the Lochaber Chamber with support from us, you can get a feel for the event in our short film. 

The conference is a great first step, but it’s not too late to get involved. Here are the initial themes, are these the things you’d focus on?

  • Investment readiness: prioritising investment projects that promise the highest returns for our community: infrastructure – availability of land, transport and housing; a supportive business climate
  • Talent Attraction: taking proactive steps to attract and retain skilled workers, leveraging initiatives like the Love Lochaber campaign
  • Collaboration: making common cause with communities and business organisations. This is essential if we are to effectively tackle the infrastructure challenges faced by many communities in the area together.

Get in touch to get involved


Published on 13/11/2023


local businesses




of employment in accommodation and food services


tourists to Skye are international


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We’re really pleased to have secured support from HIE, enabling us to take the next step in expanding our business. It’s great to be able to schedule more trips to St Kilda with confidence, and the additional attraction of trips to Harris and the Shiants.
Kenneth MacKinnon, SeaSkye Marine
FW2040 Map

Fort Willam 2040 masterplan

HIE and the Lochaber Chamber of Commerce are working in partnership with the Highland Council to prepare a masterplan for the regeneration of Fort William town centre. The plan provides a range of proposals which will create a vibrant and sustainable town centre and demonstrate how it will benefit the local community as well as the thousands of visitors travelling to Lochaber each year.  

The full masterplan and delivery programme, including project progress updates, is available on the Highland Council website.

View Fort William 2040 Masterplan

Who we work with

Have a look through our case studies to find out more about who we work with and how these businesses and communities are thriving in Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross.

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