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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 March 2007, 11:33 GMT
Funding secured for ferry buy-out
Glenahulish (Pic: Undiscovered Scotland)
Glenahulish ferry plies the Kyleray Narrows
A community group has secured the final slice of funding needed to buy one of two ferries still crossing between the mainland and the Isle of Skye.

The purchase of the Glenahulish will go ahead after the Big Lottery Fund awarded a grant of 60,000.

The Isle of Skye Ferry Community Interest Company had previously chartered the vessel to keep it going last Easter.

It will be made ready for the new season - scheduled to start on 2 April.

The group had previously won 60,000-worth of funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) Skye and Wester Ross.

The community sees it as a terrific asset they can develop
Dharmendra Kanani
Big Lottery Fund's Scotland director

Spokeswoman Jennifer Frances said that without the money there was every chance the ferry would have closed.

"The owner had put it on the open market, but it is a big undertaking for any private individual," she added.

"Its only viable future is through community ownership and we are absolutely thrilled that is what we have achieved.

"It is not only a vital link for local people, it is a tremendous tourism asset opening up unimaginably spectacular views for the passengers."

The link is the only crossing to Skye that is not subsidised.

'Tourism magnet'

Routes between Mallaig and Armadale, and between Uig and Tarbert and Lochmaddy, are run by the state-owned Caledonian MacBrayne.

The Big Lottery Fund's Scotland director, Dharmendra Kanani, said: "There is romance here, but there is also tremendous practical potential and an enthusiasm to make the most of it.

"Rather than simply preserving the ferry as an intriguing historical novelty, the community sees it as a terrific asset they can develop, not just for their own direct needs to get around, but as an untapped tourism magnet which can act as an economic driver for the area.

"We were impressed by what they had in mind and we are delighted to back them."

The future of the service was thrown into doubt when ferryman Roddy MacLeod announced his retirement about three years ago.


SEE ALSO
Community charters historic ferry
13 Apr 06 |  Scotland
Villagers reject Skye ferry offer
14 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Villagers hold ferry buyout talks
03 Nov 04 |  Scotland
Villagers in ferry buyout attempt
05 Apr 04 |  Scotland

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