Welcome to Ardgour: Creating opportunity from the Corran Ferry crisis
Five “Welcome to Ardgour” videos have been created by the local community to encourage tourism and hospitality in Ardgour, Lochaber
The community and hospitality businesses of Ardgour, Lochaber, have come together to create opportunity from the Corran Ferry crisis. The community felt that more positive messaging as needed to refresh the promotion of the area as a tourist destination and to build resilience for local businesses.
Five promotional videos have been produced, showcasing Ardgour’s stunningly beautiful natural heritage, the range of activities available in the area, its cultural heritage and the wonderful hospitality that awaits the visitor. These display Ardgour as an extremely desirable tourism destination in its own right and very much worthwhile visiting even without a vehicle ferry service.
In April 2023 the Corran Ferry, which runs between Nether Lochaber and North Corran, broke down, leaving the communities of the Ardnamurchan peninsular without direct access and with a 42-mile (1hr and 30 minute) detour, including single-track roads. The hospitality businesses on the peninsula saw an immediate negative effect on trade and the continued onward troubles with the ferry and the negative connotations now associated with visiting the peninsula did not bode well for future trade.
CRTR Project Officer Kendra looking out over Ardgour. Image credit to the Welcome to Ardgour project.
As a resident of Ardgour and a Project Officer at the Centre for Recreation and Tourism Research (CRTR) at UHI North, West and Hebrides, Kendra Turnbull wanted to try and do something positive for her community and the businesses within it:
“Ardgour is often seen simply as a route through to the ‘wild west’ of the Ardnamurchan peninsula, yet it is such an amazing place with so many different landscapes and things to do. I just felt that we needed to celebrate that and remind ourselves during this time of crisis.”
The two emergency passenger boat services, provided by Highland Council, are still able to bring people across Loch Linnhe and after conversations within the village it was decided to showcase what Ardgour has to offer to encourage tourists to come, either as a daytrip or for a longer stay.
The five videos are:
- ‘Welcome to Ardgour’ overview
- ‘Natural World’
- ‘Working Life’
The videos were created by CRTR, a local media company Watercolour Music and the community of Ardgour. Many residents feature in the films and one local amateur drone cameraman, Ben Moffit, donated lots of extra footage. Even the school children tried their hand at filming. The videos are being shared on social media and are available for everyone to view on YouTube on the Welcome to Ardgour playlist.
Fergus Stokes, director of Ardgour Ales and one of the hospitality companies involved in the project says:
“This video project shows Ardgour for what it is: a community packed full of energy, enterprise and enjoyment. Notwithstanding the transport challenges posed by the Corran Ferry stramash, people (both local and tourist) find beauty, kindness and hope in our little patch of paradise – we are privileged to live here, and the video series gives us the opportunity to share the Ardgour experience with others who have been or are yet to come.”
In the hospitality video, Luke Alexander, owner and general manager of the Inn at Ardgour, says “I think people are surprised by just how stunningly beautiful it is. You get people who come here for the first time, and it just takes their breath away. And then you get people who come back time and time again as there are very few places in the world where you get so much beauty in such a small space”.
The project was funded by the UHI Tourism Knowledge Exchange Challenge Fund, Ardgour Community Council, Ardgour Glensanda Development Trust and the Edinburgh & District Motor Club (Scottish Six Day Trials community fund).