Work to add more car parking space at a famous Highland tourist spot to cope with an influx of Harry Potter fans has been completed.
Almost £270,000 of funding was provided by the Scottish Government’s Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) to the project at the Glenfinnan Viaduct – made famous by scenes in the movie series featuring the Hogwarts Express.
The site can now handle 100 extra cars and 10 motorhomes or buses.
A footbridge and path link from the new car park is also set to be built, allowing visitors to get to the viaduct without having to walk along the main road.
‘So much to offer’
The government funding was secured by Highland Council in partnership with Glenfinnan Community Facilities SCIO in October 2018.
Lochaber councillor Allan Henderson said: “We are thrilled this work has now been completed.
“Glenfinnan has so much to offer for such a small constrained area through the National Trust visitor Centre, the iconic monument and viaduct coupled with the loch, the architecture and location of the church.
“It is a magnet for tourists who will now be able to enjoy it for longer, with less hassle, through this project.”
The work at Glenfinnan has come to an end around the same time as two other projects at popular Highland tourist spots.
Work to improve the footpath at the Old Man of Storr on Skye and the slipways for the Nigg-Cromarty ferry have both also wrapped up.
The ferry service, which did not run this year due to Covid-19, takes travellers across the Cromarty Firth between Easter Ross and the Black Isle.
It has seen a 30% growth in traffic, and a £300,000 grant was awarded from the RTIF to allow the Cromarty Community Development Trust to increase the size of the slipways, meaning they are able to cater for a larger ferry that can carry vehicles such as motorhomes.
Chair of the Easter Ross Area Committee, Councillor Fiona Robertson, said: “I am thrilled the slipway project has been completed.
“Investment of this kind in Easter Ross is fantastic to see and will help the area become more resilient when dealing with the thousands of visitors who visit the area every year.”
‘Help visitors at an iconic site’
The Old Man of Storr Footpath Improvement Project, meanwhile, attracted over £180,000 of funding from the RTIF and almost £80,000 from the Scottish Government Rural Payments & Inspections Directorate.
It aims to enhance access to the famous Skye landmark while protecting it and nearby internationally important habitats.
Local councillor John Gordon said: “I am delighted that this work has now been completed.
“The work at Storr will make a significant difference to the enjoyment of locals and tourists alike, not only will the work protect and care for the environment so there is better capacity and will help facilitate visitors at a very busy and iconic site.”