With support from the Scottish Land Fund, Ardnamurchan Lighthouse Trust appointed a full time Project Manager in early 2020. This action was taken to ensure a strong start to the progression of our plans under community ownership. Working closely with our Trustees and Operations Manager, Stephanie Cope (who came to us from the Tiree Community Development Trust) is coordinating an ambitious five-phase programme to uplift our guest experience at the Ardnamurchan Lighthouse complex.
JANUARY – JUNE 2020
Phase 1a: Improving the Stables Coffee Shop
To begin the process of upgrading amenities at the Ardnamurchan Lighthouse complex, the Trust undertook work on the Stables Coffee Shop over the winter of 2019/2020. This included the improvement of access and egress to reduce congestion at the service area, and to boost accessibility; the lowering and insulating of the ceiling to enhance guest comfort; the fitting of new heating and lighting to improve energy efficiency; and the installation of a new and more practical kitchen. The exterior of the building has also benefited from the installation of a new wastewater system, repairs to heritage doors and windows, and a good lick of paint.
The Trust would like to thank the Scottish Land Fund, the Hugh Fraser Foundation, and The Highland Council for their support in delivering these improvements.
As a Social Enterprise, trading in our Stables Coffee Shop is essential to the progression of plans for the lighthouse complex. In addition to raising much-needed revenue, the café is key to engaging our community with work on site: residents visiting for refreshment can chat informally with our staff, ask about progress with our plans, and share their ideas.
– Freshly ground coffee and tasty bakes are also a vital part of our visitor experience!
Naturally, the Trust had looked forward to unveiling these improvements in April 2020 when the site was due to open for the visitor season. However, those plans were stymied by the COVID-19 outbreak and resultant lockdown.
2020 offered the most challenging start possible to the site’s journey under community ownership. The Trust were unable to open the Stables Coffee Shop until late summer, our brand-new events programme had to be postponed, and both the Information Centre and our Guided Tower Tours remain closed until further notice (likely until April 2021). These circumstances were far from ideal; nevertheless, project work to protect and enhance the lighthouse complex continued.
The Trust would like to thank the Corra Foundation, The Highland Council, and the Architectural Heritage Fund for their support during the COVID-19 closure.
With initial work on the Stables Coffee Shop complete, the Trust pushed forward with plans for the wider site.
Phase 1b: Upgrading our Potable Water Infrastructure
Upgrading the water supply at the Ardnamurchan Lighthouse complex was identified as an urgent priority in the Trust’s 2019 Business Plan:
- The current potable water supply only just meets the needs of our visitor centre during the peak summer period
- The present pumping arrangement occasionally fails, rendering the site without water
- When failure occurs, bottled water must be used (generating avoidable plastic waste)
These limitations leave no headroom for expansion as the site develops under community ownership
The Trust is presently seeking support from the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund to deliver this work. We are at an early stage in our application, but will of course update on our progress.
Phase 2: Enhancing Outdoor Areas
Ardnamurchan Lighthouse is an iconic building in a truly spectacular landscape setting. We want to ensure that our infrastructure, through repair and redecoration, augments and facilitates your enjoyment of this space.
Phase 2 seeks to boost the resilience of our well-loved, well-used, but now slightly tired site in the face of rising visitor numbers. By making much-needed improvements to the foghorn viewing platform, accumulator tanks, short path network, and parking areas the Trust seek to uplift the appearance of the site. In addition, these measures will improve guest safety, improve accessibility, and improve our overall guest experience.
We also seek to upgrade signage and interpretation across the lighthouse complex; helping our guests to see and learn more during their visit.
Completing our full programme of repairs will require significant investment. The Trust is presently seeking support from the VisitScotland Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund to deliver these improvements. We have been approved to progress to a full Stage 2 application, and will continue to update on our progress.