Inveraray learns from Tarbert marine tourism experience

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Plans continue apace to open up Inveraray’s waterfront to marine tourism  and the town is learning from another lochside community with a well-developed tourism strategy.

Members of the Inspire Inveraray group met Tarbert Harbour Authority representatives on April 27 to discuss common issues and see what lessons and maritime ideas might be adopted.

‘We’re very grateful to Tarbert for offering to help us,’ said Inspire Inveraray vice chairman Derrick Anstee.  ‘They have considerable experience in running a harbour since Tarbert gets much more marine traffic as they are closer to the busy waters of the Clyde Estuary and Kyles of Bute.’

The aim for Inveraray is to attract more vessels of all sizes up Loch Fyne to the vicinity of the town, provide easier disembarkation and hopefully enable the re-opening of the pier.

Inspire Inveraray is now looking at options including taking on the public toilet building at the pier head and installing showers for marine visitors.

‘With support from the Tarbert Harbour team, we have been encouraged to produce a marine masterplan that will start with four visitor moorings and a pontoon landing, continued Mr Anstee.

‘Inveraray has so much to offer visitors and we want to encourage more people to come here.’

Better access to Loch Fyne would encourage sailing, rowing, water-skiing, kayaking and angling. Community-built St Ayles skiff clubs, started by the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, are becoming popular around Scotland’s coast and Inveraray would make an ideal base for a youth-oriented marine project of this nature.

Cruise ships currently come up the loch every year to take in the scenery, but rarely anchor. A pontoon would allow them to discharge passengers via their tenders, a procedure commonly used in the cruise industry when a large ship cannot dock in a small port.

A renovated and re-opened pier would be a key attraction as the focal point of the waterfront, as it has been for 250 years.

Inspire Inveraray also believes there are prospects for new business opportunities such as a ships’ chandler, rowing boat hire and motor boat excursions with a guide/skipper to view the local coastline and wildlife, including seals, otters, porpoises and seabirds.  Greater tourist traffic and spending might also encourage specialist shops.

If readers have any ideas to build on the plans for Inveraray, contact Inspire Inveraray via its Facebook page.

Ken MacTaggart

PIC:

Inspire Inveraray is aiming to improve access to and from Loch Fyne. 06_a18InvWaterfront01