Tourist expert floats idea for a nostalgic return of Kessock ferry linking Black Isle village and Highland capital
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THE return of an historic ferry route linking the Black Isle and Inverness could rekindle fond memories and boost the peninsula’s economy.
Former VisitScotland executive Greg Hart (45) is floating the idea of restoring a ferry route between North and South Kessock .
Mr Hart, from Merkinch, has fond memories of making the journey as a child while watching the dolphins.
He sees a great opportunity for a hospitality stop “in the lovely North Kessock restoration cafés”.
He said: “I used to manage the Escape to the Edge campaign and sadly this has been replaced by the petrol guzzling NC500, leaving a huge carbon footprint. A walk-on ferry on the Kessock route would get people out of cars and appreciating nature as well as helping sustainable tourism.”
He believes a venture could be run as a charity.
David Richardson, Highland development manager for the Federation of Small Businesses said: “It’s a nice idea and certainly worth investigating, it would really be a case of deciding who is it aimed at and what their requirements are.”
A spokesman for Highland Council said: “The council has to find more than £37 million in budget savings and there is no allocation in the capital budget for such a project.”
Dell McClurg chairwoman of the Merkinch Community Council said she loved the idea of re-instating the ferry.
“It’s not that we haven’t already thought of it, it’s something which has been on our agenda since the ferry was closed in 1982”, she said.
“It would be brilliant, we would absolutely love it, but there are a lot of logistics to think of.”
She noted that the jetties in North and South Kessock where the ferry would dock have been sold privately and that parking may be an issue at South Kessock. But she said she would fully support the project.
Black Isle councillor Craig Fraser said that the idea had sparked his interest and that he would like to see a plan for the ferry.
He said: “I have a nostalgic view to this having had a parent from Cromarty and having used the ferry myself. It would be interesting to see how it would be organised, if it’s run by a charity it would have to at least break even and if it’s a passenger ferry then where would cars park?”
Cllr Fraser said he didn’t want to dismiss the idea before seeing a more detailed plan for the ferry: “It’s a very interesting idea it would just need someone inspired and with a lot of experience to drive it forward.”
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