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Ambitious Highland marina plans sailing closer to reality

The proposed marina at Corpach near Fort William
The proposed marina at Corpach near Fort William

Ambitious plans to transform a tiny Highland community-owned facility into a lucrative marina could sail closer to reality this month with the submission of formal plans.

The latest designs for the Corpach project, at the southern end of the Caledonian Canal opposite Fort William on Loch Linnhe, were showcased yesterday (THURS) as part of a pitch for a licence from Marine Scotland. The planning application will go to Highland Council.

There was excitement at Kilmallie Community Hall about the 40-berth, £3million proposal.

Douglas MacDiarmid, chairman of the working group behind the Thomas Telford Corpach Marina project, said: “There isn’t a full scale marina between Inverness and Oban so this is filling an important gap.

“We’re on the Scandinavian sea route for transit vessels going round Britain or coming through the Caledonian Canal.

“It’ll also deliver a public slipway to meet the needs of local boat owners.”

He is optimistic that construction work could begin early next year.

Caol and Mallaig councillor Ben Thompson is thrilled by the prospect of the venture coming to fruition.

He said: “We need a good marina that’s welcoming for all those Scandinavian tourists and others who are plying their way down the Caledonian Canal.

“The benefits would be enormous starting with Corpach itself, facilities you might see come with a successful marina – like a chandlery and grocery shopping, a positive impact for Corpach boatyard which is nearby.

“The potential spinoffs are quite substantial, as you see elsewhere in Scotland and on the west coast particularly. It’s worked for Inverness and we’d like to have a slice of that pie, please.”

Development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise provided financial support towards a preliminary package of works which helped the project progress.

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