- Scottish Canals is one of several projects to benefit from SSE’s new £1m Highland Sustainable Fund.
It will receive £225,000 (50% match funding) to redevelop the existing Caledonian Canal visitor centre in Fort Augustus. This will create a first class heritage interpretation, shop and five individual retail units for start-up and small businesses.
Scottish Canals acts as the custodian for five major canals which collectively receive 22 million visitors each year. The Caledonian Canal, which runs through Fort Augustus, is a major tourist attraction which benefits the local economy.
Fort Augustus draws approximately 250,000 tourists each year but its current tourist facilities do not match this demand.
The award from the Sustainable Development Fund will be invested in a new Visitor Centre that will celebrate the rich heritage of the Caledonian Canal and play a key role in its future.
The existing space will be extended and upgraded allowing for new and refreshed exhibitions. In addition, a cluster of retail pods will offer small local retailers the opportunity to establish and expand their business. Space will also be created for local heritage and community groups to run events and photography exhibitions.
Keith Mackie, Development Surveyor at Scottish Canals, said: “Fort Augustus is one of the jewels in the crown of Scotland’s canal network and SSE’s generous support will help safeguard the area’s rich heritage and secure a sustainable, vibrant future for the waterway, the local community and the Caledonian Canal Visitor Centre.”