Islands set sail to attract more visitors

The new facilities in Harris
The new facilities in Harris

A new marina hub has been completed in Harris which provides the last vital link in a chain of marine facilities along the east coast of the Outer Hebrides.

The Harris Marina Hub comprises two complementary pontoon facilities - one at East Loch Tarbert and the other at the Isle of Scalpay’s North Harbour.

Up to ninety vessels will be accommodated at the two locations including visiting leisure boats, existing marine businesses and private boat-owners.

A grant of £220,000 has been awarded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to Harris Development Ltd (HDL) to develop the £1.3m project.

This project, through the expansion of marine tourism market is expected to bring significant economic benefits to the area.

HDL has led community development in Harris for the last 20 years. It assembled the steering group which led the buyout of North Harris estate, the first significant land buyout in the Outer Hebrides.

Rachel Mackenzie, area manager for HIE in the Outer Hebrides, said: “These new facilities will contribute to Scotland’s marine tourism strategy. It also meets the need identified in the recent Sailing Tourism in Scotland report which highlighted the requirement for more berthing facilities in particular locations.

“I am delighted that we have been able to support the project. As well as providing easy access to the Isle of Harris, it will enhance the Outer Hebrides tourism offering and benefit the local economy.”

The hub completes a chain of pontoon facilities including Stornoway, Lochmaddy, Lochboisdale and Castlebay, which will strengthen the reputation of the Outer Hebrides as a premium sailing and cruising destination.

The development is also supported by the Coastal Communities Fund and LEADER, Scottish Government’s Regeneration Fund and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.