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Loch Ness lay-by section to open

By Andrew Dixon

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Closed off northern section of Wellington lay-by to re-open in August
Closed off northern section of Wellington lay-by to re-open in August

A LARGE section of a popular Loch Ness lay-by will finally re-open for the first time in over two years next month.

Scotland’s transport minister Keith Brown announced the closed-off 80-metre northern section of the 140-metre Wellington lay-by will be made available for motorists early August.

It is welcome news for local politicians and signals progress towards The Inverness Courier’s Get it Sorted! campaign goal of having it fully reinstated for the thousands of tourists who use it each year to get their first view of the world-famous loch.

"This is good news for tourists and the local community along the A82 at Loch Ness," Mr Brown said.

"There has been much local campaigning for the Wellington lay-by and, whilst we are not able to reopen the whole lay-by until full strengthening and stabilisation works are complete, this additional 80 metres will provide more parking spaces and ease traffic and tourist frustrations."

Metal crash barriers restricting access off the A82 were originally put up in December 2008 due to safety concerns when a landslide caused part of a retaining wall to collapse. Only a 30-metre section has since been re-opened but £125,000 has spent on repair work.

Current 30-metre open section of Wellington lay-by will be extended
Current 30-metre open section of Wellington lay-by will be extended

Inverness MSP Fergus Ewing, minister for energy, enterprise and tourism, alerted Mr Brown to the issue as part of his pre-Scottish election promises.

"I am very pleased that a further 80 metre stretch of the lay by shall be reopened," he said.

"This will be welcomed by those in the tourism sector, who wish to have visitors to the area able to enjoy the viewpoints when spending their holidays in the Highlands.

"I hope that they will therefore have the best vantage point from which to make their Nessie sighting!"

Aird and Loch Ness councillors Drew Hendry and Margaret Davidson were also pleased with the progress.

"It is pleasing that the concerns have been listened to and action is being taken," Councillor Hendry said.

"The lay-by has been an ongoing problem for many years and over the last couple of years has been given serious attention and welcome investment to support both the wall and the road.

"This latest move takes us a big step closer to resolving the problems with both road safety and an important tourist spot."

The lay-by is one of the few places on the A82 where visitors can access the loch side.

Councillor Davidson hoped it could be kept to a high standard when it is re-opened.

"This is the first place lots of tourists stop, so we really need to keep it tidy," she said.

There is no time frame for when the remaining southern 30-metre closed section will re-open.

Related article:

* Lingering Loch Ness lay-by chaos frustrates all

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