A rich maritime heritage which dates back to the Middle Ages could be celebrated with the creation of a trail for tourists and locals along the Inverness waterfront. The Heritage Trail is being proposed by Inverness Harbour Trust as a key element of the city’s rebranded Maritime Quarter, which includes both the harbour and marina areas.
“We are very keen to promote and improve links between the city centre and Maritime Quarter as there has been a considerable increase in the numbers of visitors and locals visiting this area. The increase is partially down to the dolphin cruises that leave from the marina but also an increasing interest in the waterfront. At present there is the Cromwell Tower and that’s about it. Our plans would see the creation visual interpretation panels and increase the visitor experience, “Port Chief Executive Sinclair Browne said.
A Glasgow firm of landscape architects, TGP, has drawn up initial proposals for the Heritage trail running from the Ness Railway Bridge down to Inverness Marina. The proposals include interpretive display boards, cycle paths and soft as well as hard landscaping.
“Other cities have done similar exercises,” continued Mr Browne, “In Glasgow at Speirs Wharf a link has been created with the city centre which has been very successful and there’s no reason why we can’t do the same in Inverness. We are very keen to engage with both HIE and Highland Council to drive these proposals forward.”
Along with the heritage trail proposal, the Port Authority also wants to see more development at Harbour Gait, the extensive area of foreshore which they own out the Kessock Bridge. This will bring added vibrancy to the Maritime Quarter. Proposals are still at the embryonic stage but leisure and commercial uses could be incorporated.
The Port Authority also wants to see an increase in the number of cruise ships visiting Inverness. The Port Authority is targeting specifically smaller expedition-sized cruise ships with the port authority hopeful of seeing an increase in calls business from 2019. “It’s just about creating awareness of what we can offer and to date we have had a positive response from cruise companies. We do have something different to offer, no other port is as close to Loch Ness and other major tourist attractions as Inverness. We have spoken to several companies in the area who are keen to work with us to target this market and bring benefit to the area.”