An Inverness conservationist has spoken of her delight as works to improve a neglected beauty spot begin to take shape.
Significant improvements have been carried out by Scottish Canals on the path network connecting Muirtown Basin and South Kessock in an effort to improve access to the area.
Foundations have been laid along the route in preparation for a new path, which will be constructed in the new year, followed by the installation of new fences and a clearly marked path across the existing railway crossing.
The works form part of a long term plan to form an active travel route in the area, suitable for individuals of all abilities.
The popular walking route, which was closed for a period of time to facilitate the works, has not reopened to the public.
‘Its nice to see the area getting attention’
Caroline Snow, project manager for Merkinch Local Nature Reserve (MLNR) welcomed the improvements and said she’s thrilled to see a formally neglected area of the city get a “bit of a lift.”
She said: “The works are not completely finished yet as the main path is going to be completed in the new year.
“There will be a series of viewing platforms along the route which I’m really excited about. It means bird watchers and visitors can step back off the path and not be disturbed so I think that will be wonderful.
“In terms of the works which have been completed, the railway crossing is brilliant. It’s a really nice smooth surface and its nicely highlighted in yellow so we can see where we are going in the dark. Its all really good.”
She added: “Its nice to see the area getting attention.
“I think this side of town needs a bit of attention and a bit of a lift. With these new paths and then the new canal centre that’s going up I think it will be great for the local area.
“It will wider the path network for local walkers and hopefully more and more people will enjoy the local area.”
Out with the old, in with the new
Earlier this year, Highland Council officials pledged to invest more than £523,000 to replace an ageing boardwalk at the heart of the city.
Officials proposed to tear down the the existing 30-year-old boardwalk, situated at Merkinch Local Nature Reserve (MLNR), to make way for a robust new walkway.
Last year, proprietors were forced to close off access to the wooden structure after it fell into a state of repair.
A hearty group of volunteers dismantled the access ramp before carrying out emergency repairs on the structure to ensure it was safe to reopen to the public.
Upgrades will also be carried out on the adjacent path as part of the ambitious project to form an improved path network operating between Carnac Crescent and the main sea wall path, looking out over the Beauly Firth.