Major capital works to commence at the community-owned Ardnamurchan Lighthouse Complex
Press Release: 26.03.2021
It gives the Ardnamurchan Lighthouse Trust great pleasure to announce that our partnership proposal to build resilience, improve access and improve the guest experience across outdoor areas of the lighthouse complex has attracted an award of £73,650 from The Highland Council’s ‘Highland Coastal Communities Fund’ (see here for details).
Funding pledges had already been received from Archaeology Scotland, the Scottish Land Fund and VisitScotland’s Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund – so this final commitment completes the £290k package required for delivery.
Our planned works cover improvements to the condition of our much-loved heritage foghorn, the resurfacing of our parking areas, better provisions for EV drivers and cyclists, more accessible footpaths, a new viewpoint, plus a full overhaul of our signage and interpretation offer.
After a challenging start to our journey as a community-owned tourism asset, there could have been no better endorsement of our team’s dedication and tenacity than receiving this news exactly 1-year on from the first COVID-19 lockdown. The Trust wish to extend grateful thanks to our funding partners, our network of consultants and advisors, our supporters and our delivery partners The Highland Council.
These works are the next big step in our community’s plan to regenerate the lighthouse complex
The Ardnamurchan Lighthouse Trust assumed ownership of this Grade A Listed heritage asset on behalf of its community in July 2020 – but efforts to improve the site were already well underway.
In early 2020, the Trust undertook a refurbishment of the site’s café (which operates as a Social Enterprise) with support from The Highland Council, the Hugh Fraser Foundation and the Scottish Land Fund. Left unable to open its doors as planned due to the first COVID-19 lockdown, the Trust received support from The Highland Council and The Corra Foundation to continue meeting core operating costs.
Fortuitously, the modifications made to the café enabled the Trust to resume trading safely and effectively once COVID-19 restrictions eased – an outcome that might not have been possible had the building remained in its original state. Nevertheless, there was still a sizable gap in the Trust’s income, and the Architectural Heritage Fund stepped in with financial assistance through the winter non-trading period.
During spring 2021, and supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Trust continued to improve the café by extending its outdoor seating area, purchasing new wheelchair-accessible picnic benches and adding two recycling stations; making this community-owned site more accessible, cleaner and greener. In tandem with these groundworks, the Trust also embarked on contracts to secure the fabric of the Grade A Listed Keepers’ Cottages (supported by Historic Environment Scotland) and the implementation of a new freshwater supply, to better meet the needs of the site’s 22,000 annual guests (supported by the Scottish Land Fund).
In taking ownership of this iconic landmark, our community stepped forward to lead the sustainable management of tourism in our area. Community-led tourism delivers better outcomes for local people; plus, a more authentic and welcoming experience for visiting guests. Our planned improvements, mandated by our residents, will support local businesses and the families that depend on them by strengthening Ardnamurchan’s reputation as a visitor destination. This is more important than ever as our community looks to its recovery from the devastating impact of COVID-19.
An opening date for 2021 is yet to be finalised – but as this programme of major works will impact on access to the site, the Trust advise that guests check online prior to visiting, once restrictions allow.
We look forward to welcoming you back – and we hope you will approve of the changes we have made!
Author: Stephanie Cope
Project Manager, Ardnamurchan Lighthouse Trust
Press Enquiries: Ritchie Dinnes
Chair, Ardnamurchan Lighthouse Trust
Image © Michael Macgregor Photography