Canna and Inverie Ceremonies Complete West Highland Pier Improvements

The final phase of a £30 million investment in the Small Isles and Knoydart Ferry Scheme will be marked with a double ceremony this week. On Wednesday, Scottish Transport Minister Tavish Scott, will be on the island of Canna – the most westerly of the Small Isles - to open the new £3.2 million ferry terminal and the following day he will be in Inverie, on the remote Knoydart Peninsula, to open a £4.6  million new pier.

In earlier phases, Muck, Rum and then Eigg were upgraded to allow vehicular ferry access.

Canna is owned by National Trust for Scotland, which has worked closely with The Highland Council and the Scottish Executive to deliver the new terminal.
The existing pier was extended with additional dolphins and a slipway constructed to allow the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry, MV Lochnevis, which can carry 190 passengers and 12 vehicles, direct roll on roll off access.  The project also involved the construction of a waiting room with toilets, and replacement storage shed and fuel storage facilities.

The works were carried out by R.J. McLeod Contractors.

Although not an island, Inverie relies on its ferry for access to the Scottish mainland. The ferry service is provided by the passenger vessel, MV Western Isles, operated by Bruce Watt Cruises, Mallaig. The new slipway also allows vehicular access direct from local carriers such as the Spanish John II, and indeed has been designed to allow access for the MV Lochnevis on a charter basis.

Work was carried out by Pierse Construction.

The former delapidated jetty was tidal and in very poor condition, requiring the use of a flit boat at low states of the tides, and poor weather protection resulted in cancellation of services.

Both projects attracted funding from the Scottish Executive and the European Regional Development Fund, while HITRANS, the regional strategic transport authority, made a contribution towards the Canna project. 

Councillor Charlie King, Chairman of The Highland Council's TEC Services Committee and the local member for Mallaig and the Small Isles, said the opening ceremonies marked the completion of two challenging projects to provide Canna and Inverie with modern lifeline berthing facilities.

He said: "This is the culmination of 20 years of planning to bring these two remote communities into the 21st century. These were difficult and complex projects in environmentally sensitive areas. My thanks go the RJ McLeod and Pierse Construction for their workmanship and for minimising the disruption to the local communities. These new piers will serve the communities for 100 years and more and will be greatly appreciated by local residents and visitors alike.”

Councillor Michael Foxley, Council Vice-Convener, recalled that the campaign to improve the jetties on the Small Isles and Knoydart began more than 20 years ago when he was the regional councillor for the area.

He said: “Given the fragility of the communities and the inherently dangerous transfer of passengers and freight to flit boats, the Community Council and I saw the improvement of the jetties as a top priority for ensuring their survival and Councillor King actively continued our early work. 

He said: “I would like to congratulate the Scottish Executive and the European Union for sharing the Council’s commitment to this fragile and remote part of the Highlands. The investment will help sustain these communities for many generations."

22 Aug 2006