FOR the first time in its history, the Highland capital will have a beach this weekend.
Falcon Square, in the city centre, will be given a Mediterranean look for the summer when 10 tonnes of sand are tipped in the middle for local children tomorrow afternoon.
From 10am until sunset for the next month, the beach, complete with deck chairs, will be open, free of charge, for fun and games. And, when the fun is over, the sand is to be given away free to anyone who can collect it.
There will be a treasure trove of hidden gems for youngsters to discover as they play in the sand.
Black Isle artist Lizzie MacDougall has been busy creating an immense artwork on a sheet of black plastic to be laid under the beach, with images for the children to discover as they get busy with their buckets and spades.
Ms MacDougall will lead a drawing workshop for youngsters tomorrow, from noon to 4pm. She said: “For more than 20 years, I’ve been seeking out Highland treasures from our fantastic heritage of songs and stories, as well as from our wonderful natural environment and images from stone carvings. Under the surface of the sand on the beach, you can find some examples of the Highlands’ rich past.”
Ms MacDougall added that the scale of the artwork was “terrifying” and that painting on to plastic was one of the most challenging projects she had ever undertaken.
She said: “I had to prime it, and even then the paint would sometimes not hold. But I hope, for the children, the discovery of the images under the sand will spark enthusiasm and excitement.”
The project cost £4,500 and was funded and managed by Inverness Business Improvement District (Bid). Bid manager Stefan Krause said the idea was to encourage people to meet and interact with each other.
He said: “We were inspired by Paris, where, every summer, a temporary beach is created on the banks of the Seine.
“The beach will be a great attraction for families coming in to Inverness. People can make it their own, have fun discovering the treasures under the sand and meeting friends in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.”
Eastgate Shopping Centre manager Jackie Cuddy said: “We’re looking forward to using Falcon Square in a new and exciting way. We hope that people will take this opportunity to sit back, relax and enjoy the summer in Inverness city centre.”
Local children will help dismantle the beach on August 16.