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Rural tourism infrastructure projects receive share of £3 million funding

Staffa. Image: Shutterstock.

A campervan park and an improved path in Glencoe are two of 10 projects to be backed by the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF).

A total of £3 million has been awarded to tourism projects across Scotland to improve visitor facilities and access and to promote low-carbon transport options.

Four of the 10 projects are in the Highlands, one in Argyll and Bute and one in the Western Isles.

The RTIF was created to improve the quality of the visitor experience in rural parts of Scotland that have faced pressure on their infrastructure due to this increase in visitor numbers.

Fingal’s cave Staffa island on the coast of Scotland. Image: Shutterstock.

It aims to reduce the impact of visitor numbers on local communities and facilities and create a more collaborative and sustainable approach to infrastructure provision and long-term maintenance of local facilities for the benefit of communities.

Visit Scotland said round five of RTIF was “extremely competitive”.

What projects have been funded?

Isle of Staffa

£477,270 has been granted to upgrade the existing visitor infrastructure on the Isle of Staffa, in Argyll and Bute, to improve the visitor experience by reducing overcrowding and increasing visitor safety.

This will comprise development of an upgraded and significantly larger boat landing jetty which will provide additional space for seating, a waiting area and improve visitor flow.


Glencoe. Image: Sandy McCook/ DC Thomson.

£350,000 has been allocated towards the Glencoe Greenway, a new low-level active travel route which will follow the A82 from Glencoe village into Glencoe National Nature Reserve and will directly connect with the popular National Cycle Network route 78 – the Caledonia Way.

The project has two elements: A new path and an upgraded pathway.

Tabert, Isle of Harris

Tarbert, South Harris. Image: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire.

An award of £85,553 has been allocated to develop six overnight motorhome bays with electric hook-ups and grey water disposal point as part of the Urgha Aire project, just outside Tarbert in the Outer Hebrides, to help deal with the increase in campervans and motorhomes arriving on the island.

The Urgha Aire project in particular will specifically target the provision of overnight campervan stops and greywater disposal to alleviate pressures on Tarbert and the surrounding area – the provision of more formal camping locations being a key recommendation of the Harris visitor management strategy.

Other projects

Argyll and Bute Council has been awarded £332,334 for improvements to the Glen Orchy and Glen Lochy visitor facilities.

Highland Council has been given £500,000 to upgrade the car park and toilets at Achmelvich Beach, near Lochinver. A further £243,218 has been provided for public toilet provision in the north-west Highlands.

Highland Council has also received an award of £440,859 for Stac Pollaidh for visitor infrastructure.

Increasing tourism demand

Tourism Minister Ivan McKee said: “The RTIF is dedicated to helping deal with increasing demand, driving sustainable tourism and increasing visitor experience in rural Scotland.

“The fifth round of funding will provide the infrastructure required for locals and visitors to enjoy Scotland’s attractions in a sustainable way and will help provide greater access to iconic sites, enhance passenger flow, decrease crowding and also help to reduce car parking requirements.”

North and north east field trips
A valley below Glencoe. Image: Shutterstock 

Councillor Donald Crichton, chairman of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s sustainable development committee, said: “We are delighted that the Urgha Aire project has been successful in this round of RTIF funding as it will enable the provision of a much-needed overnight electric hook-up area for motorhomes and campervans and therefore alleviating some parking and traffic issues in Tarbert.”

Councillor Ken Gowans, chairman of Highland Council’s economy and infrastructure committee, said: “I particularly welcome the additional funding for Glencoe, which encourages alternative travel solutions in the Glen and follows the work already approved in round three of RTIF to address parking capacity at the Three Sisters and in Glen Etive.”