Ambitious plans for a new £3million indoor climbing sports complex at Inverness Marina has won £200,000 funding.
Plans for the new facility, called The Ledge, have been on hold because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But now, Highands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has announced granting £200,000 towards the charitable project.
It will form part of a new climbing performance centre and adventure sports destination being developed in the Longman area of Inverness, by The Ledge charity.
Other facilities will include a café, a high-performance gym and fitness studio, and a retail outlet.
The HIE funding will contribute towards the costs of fitting out the climbing wall, which is expected to create up to 16 jobs within two years.
It will include lead climbing walls, bouldering walls, training surfaces, walls and supporting facilities.
The facility, which is due to open in spring 2022, is being designed to accommodate the potential need for social distancing.
It will be accredited by the Mountaineering Scotland and is expected to support delivery of further education courses in sustainable mountain development.
The Ledge climbing facility will complement other climbing facilities in the region, such as the Ice Factor in Lochaber, and will provide access to climbing for disadvantaged groups.
Karen Peasnall, business development account manager with HIE’s Inner Moray Firth Team, said: “The Highlands and Islands is becoming increasingly recognised for its opportunities in adventure tourism.
“The sector has significant potential for further growth, with most firms expecting more activity in the medium and longer term.
“We expect the climbing performance centre at The Ledge will rapidly become an established part of this growth. We are very pleased to be able to support this excellent project and very much look forward to continuing to work with The Ledge as the project takes shape.”
Duncan McCallum, co-host of the BBC’s Adventure Show and chief executive of The Ledge, said: “We are extremely pleased to receive such an important part of our funding from HIE.
“This is in recognition of the Centre’s role, in job creation and promoting economic regeneration, in such an important sector as active tourism and leisure.
“There has never been a better time to live, visit and work in the Highlands, and this is being recognised by so many people who visit and are looking to the Highlands, to offer them an improved quality of life.
“The Ledge centre will become an important component in the city and regions infrastructure, which will support this social and economic growth and build confidence for an exciting future, whilst supporting the most vulnerable in the community through our charitable work.”
The location for the leisure centre will be an existing building within the Scotlog portfolio leased to The Ledge on a long-term basis.
It is anticipated the development will act as a catalyst for wider development of the Longman area and lead to further development in retail, leisure facilities and accommodation.