Improvement works to commence at Chanonry Point
The Highland Council has awarded a contract to Cleantech Civils Ltd for the delivery of environmental improvement works at Chanonry Point, near Fortrose. Works on site will commence early in the New Year and are scheduled for completion before the Easter.
Chanonry Point, located between the villages of Fortrose and Rosemarkie, is a popular location for dolphin watching with visitor numbers estimated at over 120,000 every year.
Commenting on the Chanonry project, The Highland Council Convenor and local ward Councillor, Isobel McCallum said: “Coastal tourism and wildlife watching represent a very substantial sector within the Highland tourism industry and Chanonry is one of the jewels. It is a victim of its own success and congestion has become a problem. There are land ownership constraints which preclude the provision of additional parking, but overall the proposals should improve the way in which the site functions and the improvements will contribute to our aspirations for the continued development of Highland as a high quality tourist destination.”
To allow the works to proceed, the car park and the access road will be closed to all vehicular traffic between the 4th January and 24th March. Vehicular access for residents will be maintained throughout. Access to the Point for pedestrians and those arriving by bicycle will remain available throughout the works.
Charlie Phillips, Field Officer for the Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society is a regular at Chanonry. He said: “It is extremely heartening, in these financially difficult times, to see Highland Council committing the funding and effort into upgrading the car park area at Chanonry Point. It’s a fantastically popular wildlife destination for many thousands of people every year, who come to watch the resident Bottlenose dolphins which I study and monitor. I call Chanonry Point my ‘office’ as I’m here for so much of the dolphin season. To have my ‘office’ re-modelled and improved over the much quieter winter months will be a great achievement that will benefit both visitors and locals. We should all support and applaud this work and be tolerant of vehicle access restrictions to the area while the works take place.”
The £273,000 Chanonry project will provide a generally enhanced visitor experience through refurbishment of the existing car park area, provision of disabled parking spaces, cycle stands and new seating. There will be a clearer route between the car park and the existing all-abilities path leading to the Point and information on the wider locality will encourage visitors to better understand the area, extend their stay on the Black Isle and /or to revisit in the future. The project was developed in close consultation with representatives of the local community, which has initiated its own Facebook page – Chanonry Point – to facilitate information sharing about the site, now and into the future.
Commenting on the proposals, Verity Walker, Fortrose resident and organiser of the popular Black Isle Gathering said: “It is good to see Highland Council invest a substantial amount of funding in what is both one of the busiest Highland tourist attractions and a very special place for many local people too. My late mother worked hard to landscape the roundabout as a wild flower area back in the 1980s, but this has become overgrown in recent years, so I think she would approve of a remodelling. The road and parking improvements should help with the selfish parking issues which residents of Chanonry Point face on a daily basis in summer. I have noted how Highland Council’s team, led by Claire Bell, has gone out of its way to consult with local people. This is an investment which will benefit all of us locally, and it is well worth putting up with the closure of the Point road for a couple of months in the winter to see it happen.”