North athletes can now train under floodlights on a par with some of the world’s finest stadiums thanks to the installation of a new bank of low-energy lighting at the Queens Park stadium in the Highland capital.
The 400m, eight lane synthetic running track has until this week only been lit along the stadium side, limiting training opportunities during the winter months.
The £321,000 project has been jointly funded by Highland Council, High Life Highland, – which runs the facility – and Sport Scotland.
Low-energy LED lights are set 60ft high, producing a dazzling 200 lux over the running track at Queen’s Park, which is home to Inverness Harriers amateur athletics club.
Club president and leading Scottish throwing coach Duncan Flockhart said the lights will make a huge difference.
“It’s a huge development for the club and our athletes think it’s fantastic.
“It means we will be able to have track and field events through the winter, giving the athletes the opportunity to race and compete more, as they’ve never been able to do before in winter.
“It’s made training nights far better for throwing, the light is as good as anywhere.”
The new floodlights will be officially unveiled later in November.
Meanwhile, the strength and conditioning suite at Inverness Leisure is undergoing an expansion to enable it to punch well above its current weight by early December.
The £75,000 extension will see the installation of four additional weight-lifting platforms to add to the current two, as well as new specialist flooring and weight stacks.
Mr Flockhart said the new facility would make a massive difference to the athletes he coaches.
“This will be a top class place to nurture elite athletes, with the likes of Inverness Harrier Kirsty Law (British discus champion) able to use the facilities when she gets home.”
Douglas Wilby, High Life Highland’s director of sport and leisure said the new facilities will be a huge improvement for the general public and for the performance athletes pushing hard to reach elite status.
He said: “The suite will be available to everybody as part of their membership, with introductory sessions and support from personal trainers.
“Pandemic permitting, small groups will be able to hold fitness classes there and work with training buddies.
“Weight-lifting is increasingly popular among women, so they too will benefit.”
The project was part funded by SportScotland (SS) as part of their commitment to supporting sport in the Highlands.