New Fort William pontoons open
FORT WILLIAM is gearing up to welcome hundreds of tourists, with the opening of the town’s new pontoons.
The first cruise liner will arrive in September, bringing 880 passengers to the town, and another six are booked in for next year.
The two floating pontoons were installed earlier this year, close to the West End car park. The development, which cost around £185,000, began following difficulties bringing passengers in from a cruise liner moored in Loch Linnhe.
It is hoped the project, led by Fort William Marina and Shoreline Company (FWMSC), will attract more cruisers and leisure crafts to the area.
FWMSC secretary Sarah Kennedy said: ‘ We are delighted to announce the Fort William pontoons are available for the public to use. We have one cruise ship scheduled in 2016 and six for next year and the pontoons will be solely for the cruise ships use on these dates. We are liaising with Highland Council, Lochaber Chamber of Commerce, Fort William Town Team and Lochaber College to ensure the welcome we give to these cruise ship guests is the best.’
Representatives from each of the partners are visiting Invergordon on Sunday June 26 to see how they welcome and manage visitors.
Sue Keen, Fort William Town Team secretary, told The Oban Times: ‘There is still a lot of planning to do with regards welcoming the visitors in September, but we want to give information to passengers about what there is to do in the area. The team has been working on a Fort William heritage trail. This will give them a purpose when walking about town.’
FWMSC said the next phase is to install a 15-metre shelter and notice board in the West End Car Park: ‘We hope the pontoons will be well used by locals and marine tourists.’
Mrs Kennedy said there will be a grand opening next month: ‘We hope to carry this out in July/August to make the most of the summer visitors and promote the pontoons.’
Mrs Kennedy is encouraging any groups that want to help support the visitors welcome to contact her on 07768 805040.