> Loch Ness Shores
Loch Ness Shores
Loch Ness Shores
Loch Ness Shores, an award-winning Camping and Caravanning site, opened in July 2013 on the southeast shore of Loch Ness in Foyers. The area occupied by the business was originally part of the farm, which the Forbes family tenanted for generations. During this time, Foyers with its stunning scenery had its fair share of industry, when in 1896 the British Aluminium Company arrived and built an aluminium smelter and the first hydro-electric scheme. The Aluminium Smelter employed around 500 people and Foyers became a very important industrial village producing one third of the World’s Aluminium. The village that Donald Forbes had known from childhood was a very vibrant community, but this all changed when in 1967 the Smelter was closed.
Watching the village decline was very hard for Donald, who had lived there all his life. However, in 1994, Donald and Lyn got the chance to purchase the farm. By then there were less than 10 children in the school and talk of the Village Shop closing. With a growing awareness that tourism provided the best opportunity for sustainable growth in an area of outstanding beauty, Donald decided to diversify his agricultural business and, in July 2013, Loch Ness Shores became a reality.
Renewable energy has a long and distinguished history in Scotland and, recently, the newest phase of its development is creating new jobs and supporting other businesses. Despite hefty investment and lengthy development lead time, they persevered with their vision to bring a new business to fruition.
Donald and Lyn explain that they are one of the few campsites open in the Highlands throughout the year, but their decision to stay open is in keeping with their support for the local economy. This also results in 4 full-time and 4 part-time jobs all year round. In the summer a further 3 full-time and 3 part-time jobs are required, with most staff being from Foyers and the surrounding villages. The campsite and Wigwam Cabins have also brought hundreds of new visitors to the area, which means that established and new businesses are also creating new jobs.
The quality that has been achieved is reflected in the site’s credentials, which include 5* accreditation from VisitScotland, World Host status and a Gold Green Tourism Award. Loch Ness Shores is now one of Scotland’s must-visit camping and caravan sites. Its location and dedicated management team have put Foyers back on the tourism map of Scotland.
Underpinning their desire to revitalise the area was their determination to use local assets where they could, including their energy and water requirements. Scottish Land & Estates pointed them in the direction of the Scottish Government’s Energy Savings Trust, whose district heating loan fund helped them develop their green ideas into action. They have installed a solar thermal array and heat pump system that heats water for both the campsite facilities and community building on site. Fresh drinking water comes from a separate borehole. This green plan does not add costs to their business; it saves them money.
Donald said: “We are delighted to be participating in the Helping It Happen initiative which will hopefully bring more recognition about what can be achieved through landownership. We try to help whenever we can, making land available for gardens and allotments. Working with Highland Council has resulted in the extension of the car-park at our village shop, which is opposite the Falls of Foyers and recently we have transferred ground to the Council, to improve the facilities at the village school”.