Improvements are to be made to the lay by at the Standing Stones of Stenness to create a car park. The area where cars and buses pull into beside the ancient stones which are a World Heritage Site is in a very poor condition with many potholes and chaotic parking in the cruise liner season.
Orkney Islands Council will receive £80,000 to help build a car park at the site from the Scottish Government. It is part of a new £6 million Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund. Other areas in Scotland to benefit are The Fairy Pools and Neist Point on Skye.
Leader of Orkney Islands Council, James Stockan, said:
“The Standing Stones of Stenness have seen increasing pressure over recent years. Any contribution towards upgrading visitor facilities to this popular attraction within our Heart of Neolithic World Heritage Site is very welcome.”
The total cost of the car park at Stenness is £150,000, with Historic Environment Scotland contributing £50,000, Orkney Islands Council £30,000 and the Scottish Government £80,000.
Spokesman for Historic Environment Scotland Alex Paterson, Chief Executive said:
“Enhancing the visitor experience lies at the heart of our investment strategy. We are therefore delighted to be working with the Scottish Government and Orkney Islands Council to improve amenities at the Standing Stones of Stenness site for the benefit of visitors and the wider local tourism economy.”
The Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund administered by Visit Scotland will be up and running fully from April.
Fiona Hyslop said:
“The tourism boom is great news for rural Scotland, bringing jobs and investment to communities. Yet we are also seeing pressures on services, facilities and transport, which is why we are taking action.
“These pilots in Orkney and Skye will quickly deliver benefits and help us finalise the way the scheme operates, before it opens up soon to more applications from around the country.
“I’m determined that we strike the right balance between sustainably growing tourism with carefully managing our iconic and world-leading destinations – so visitors can continue to enjoy them for generations to come.”
Reporter: Fiona Grahame