Read in Gaelic
As we plunge headlong towards Christmas we also near the end of the first year of works at what will become the new visitor experience at Corrieshalloch Gorge. It’s fair to say that what emerges here will be warmly received by thousands of visitors. Access to new waterfalls and other highlights of the National Nature Reserve will be the star of the show, while a brand new visitor centre will provide much needed facilities such as toilets as well as improved interpretation.
As Clea Warner, the National Trust for Scotland’s General Manager for the Highlands and Islands noted in the depths of February, “It is really exciting to start the New Year with this fantastic project which will make such a positive impact on the area, for the community, for conservation of this important site, and for visitors too. Corrieshalloch Gorge is beautiful place for nature and people; this project will give people a gateway to enjoy all that makes this much-loved place so special.”
With the North Coast 500 skirting round this site it draws visitors from all corners of the globe. Perhaps that is nothing new. The Klondykers (those intrepid fishermen from the east) probably popped along to view the Falls of Measach when their shore leave included a stop in Ullapool. Should they return in 2023 they will find navigating the nature reserve and finding out more about this impressive site so much easier.
From setting down foundations back in February work has accelerated through the summer and construction is progressing well. The architects have done the site proud, for this is a building sympathetic to the site location but magnificent in its modernity.
The new building will offer great views of the Abhainn Droma which tumbles into the gorge. A cleverly integrated covered section will house new interpretation panels, and for the Corrieshalloch Rangers provide a good space in which to talk to groups under cover.
The paths are essentially all-abilities trails and will include bridges to navigate an easy route of the burns which cascade towards the canyon. At one point the path is protected by wall of seed bags which will, in due course, be punctured and seeded to create a green wall in the future.
The new car parking facilities will provide safer spaces for visitor cars and include electric vehicle charging points, a motorhome waste disposal point and bicycle parking to enable more sustainable travel in the area.
The £2.3 million project has secured £923,277 funding from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund which is led by NatureScot and funded through the European Regional Development Fund.
Eleanor Carlisle, Project and Funding Officer, NatureScot said: “Corrieshalloch Gorge is already a wonderful place to enjoy a walk and soak in the amazing sights, with the lovely woodlands and the Falls of Measach plummeting into the gorge. We’re pleased to support this ambitious project through our ERDF Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund, making Corrieshalloch Gorge an even better, more accessible, experience for visitors.”
So roll on 2023. This small National Nature Reserve is about to burst on the visitor scene in a big, big way.
Read our earlier blog on Corrieshalloch
The Natural & Cultural Heritage Fund is part of the Scottish Government’s current European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme, which runs through to 2023. This is one of two ERDF Strategic Interventions led by NatureScot – the other is the Green Infrastructure Fund.