Exciting plans are in hand to build on the success of an already popular dive centre situated in one of the most picturesque areas of the Highlands.
Hundreds of visitors a year from across the UK and overseas stay at the Lochaline Dive Centre, located on the Sound of Mull, 44 miles west of Fort William. Some of the UK’s best known wreck and scenic dives can be found in the Sound.
Now owners Mark and Annabel Lawrence are investing in a specially adapted new dive boat and upgrading their accommodation and catering facilities. They have also just launched a new venture, ‘Winter Wildlife Tours.’
Their aim is to increase their occupancy rates from 75 per cent to 90 per cent in the busy summer months and attract more visitors during the winter season. The move will not only lead to extra employment at the dive centre but hopefully have a spin-off effect on the local economy.
The project has attracted financial support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). HIE area manager for Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross, Robert Muir, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to help Mark and Annabel with their development plans. The work they are undertaking will ensure the centre’s reputation as a first class destination for recreational diving is maintained.”
Mark and Annabel became commercial divers after leaving University and for over a decade were employed by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to investigate historic wrecks round the coast of the UK, in support of the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. The couple bought the Lochaline Dive Centre four years ago from previous owner and friend Philip Robertson.