An Argyll and Bute Council project which aims to develop adventure tourism and generate employment has been successful in attracting funding from the Coastal Communities Fund and from Argyll and the Islands LEADER Programme 2007 – 13.
Seven locations from Oban in the north to Helensburgh in the south are being considered for improvement and an award of £369,000 has been allocated by the Coastal Communities Fund from Crown Estates revenues, in addition to a grant of £150,000 from LEADER Programme.
The Argyll Coastal Waters project is a partnership between Argyll and Bute Council’s Development and Infrastructure service and Stramash, a social enterprise and registered charity which uses the outdoor environment to deliver its aims in Argyll and Bute. The project aims to improve facilities and access for paddle-sports such as kayaking throughout the area, and will create a Kayak Trail, 2 full-time jobs, 12 marine tourism apprenticeships for local young people, and a range of volunteering opportunities.
Council Leader Roddy McCuish said‘This is great news for the local economy and a boost for our tourism industry as a whole. With the second largest coastline in Scotland, Argyll and Bute’s superb natural environment is ideal for this sort of development. It will generate new business opportunities for communities which face the challenges of remoteness and retaining their young people, as well as healthy outdoor activities for local people.’
New car parking, safe water access, changing facilities and kayak racks will be provided at the coastal locations, working in partnership with Scottish Canals for the marine site at Crinan.
Alex Hurst, Waterway Manager, Crinan Canal, added:‘Scottish canals have become an increasingly popular destination for canoeists and kayakers over recent years so we are thrilled to be part of The Argyll Coastal Waters project. Our paddle-sports initiatives elsewhere prove that this hugely popular sport can bring additional tourism and encourage local people to try it for themselves.’
Stramash will administer and support the jobs, and the council will project-manage the infrastructure development. The apprenticeships will offer experience with local businesses and training with outdoors specialists.
Niall Urquhart, CEO of Stramash, said‘We are delighted to be partnering Argyll and Bute Council on this exciting project. Argyll Coastal Waters will really put the region on the national and international map as a destination for paddle-sports.’
This two-year joint project was devised to help deliver the aims of the Argyll and Bute Coastal Development Strategy which promotes the environmental, social and economic coastal assets of the area.