Work has commenced on the building of a new café bar restaurant at the base of the Nevis Range mountain gondola, near Fort William, which will help operators cater better for the diverse demands of its growing customer base – sightseers, skiers and snowboarders, and mountain bikers.
Located at the foot of Aonach Mor the restaurant will replace the existing small coffee shop, now more than 20 years old, and is due to be opened in summer 2011 in time for the UK round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup (4-5 June 2011).
Built with laminated wooden beams and faced with local larch the new restaurant will have a contemporary feel and command great views of the mountain. The project will also incorporate a state of the art wood fuel boiler to heat the new building and adjacent offices, helping the Nevis Range to further reduce its carbon foot print.
Building the new restaurant will provide an alternative bad weather venue for functions held at the Snowgoose restaurant & bar at the gondola top station. It will also enable the resort to increase the size of their Ski Hire by utilising the site of the old café building.
The development costs of £390k are being assisted by a £100,050 funding package from Highlands and Islands Enterprise and £32,990 from the Scottish Biomass Heat Scheme, funded by the Scottish Government, Forestry Commission Scotland and the European Regional Development Fund.
Marian Austin, Nevis Range MD, commented: “This new restaurant is an integral part of our plan to grow and diversify the business. Since opening in 1989 as a ski area and all year round visitor attraction, we have diversified into mountain biking, which led to us becoming the venue for a round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. And the success of the World Cup has resulted in the UK leg of the Motorcycle Trial World Championships coming in June this year. Last year we also launched the Nevis Bike School and built a new red graded mountain bike cross country trail, the only one in the UK accessed by gondola. Earlier this year we opened our high ropes courses, High Wire Adventure.”
Ms Austin added: ”The new restaurant has been in planning for several years now and it’s taken us all that time to secure the funding, planning and leases. We are delighted to be able to source so much of the project from local businesses. A N Fraser is the main contractor, the boiler is being installed by HWE, and the timber frame is coming from local larch processed by BSW at Kilmalie sawmill.”
She concluded: “As a business we cannot stand still, we’ve got to keep listening to our customers, and innovate and diversify. As a business located in the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’ we are continually working to provide outstanding outdoor experiences for our visitors.”
Alison Gainsford, Head of Business Growth for HIE's Fort William Area Office, commented: “Highlands and Islands Enterprise has firmly supported Nevis Range's aims to develop and grow for many years and the new restaurant is a welcome addition to what is already a world class attraction. Nevis Range has proved that Lochaber has a huge amount to offer the outdoor enthusiast and we are delighted to be able to help fund a new activity that will both attract additional visitors to the area as well as serve the local community even better.”
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Picture enclosed. Caption: MD Marian Austin, Director and Catering Manager Peter MacFarlane, Director, Engineering Manager Chris MacPherson, Alastair Fraser, A R Fraser on the site of the new café bar restaurant at Nevis Range.
Notes to News Editors
The Nevis Range Mountain Gondola, unique in Britain, was originally constructed on Aonach Mor to transport skiers and snowboarders to the slopes. Today, the gondola whisks some 200,000 visitors each year to 650m where they can eat at the Snowgoose restaurant, enjoy a drink at the bar, walk out to the mountain viewpoints, or simply enjoy the stunning highland scenery. Established in 1989, Nevis Range has significantly diversified, creating a world-class downhill mountain bike track, and hosted 5 World Cups and one World Championship. The gondola is also widely used by climbers, paragliders and hangliders on their journey to the clouds. The ski area lies between the top of the gondola and the summit of Aonach Mor which, being the highest ski area in Scotland, has a good record for snow conditions running late into the season. http://www.nevisrange.co.uk.
Nevis Range is located in the Outdoor Capital of the UK. The Outdoor Capital was formed in 2003 as a not-for-profit community company established to promote Fort William and Lochaber as the best place to experience the outdoors in the UK; with the vision: To establish and maintain Fort William and Lochaber as the UK's premier destination for outdoor pursuits and adventure tourism in an exceptional natural environment. www.outdoorcapital.co.uk.
The Scottish Biomass Heat Scheme (SBHS), administered by Forestry Commission Scotland, was a grant scheme that assisted small-medium sized businesses across Scotland to make the switch to biomass heating. The scheme closed in September 2010.
Nevis Range has adopted a Gaelic Language Plan and is working with Bord Na Gaidhlig to achieve its implementation.