LONG-held dreams of developing a climbing wall and sports centre at Inverness Marina have taken a major step forward thanks to a £100,000 funding award.
The £3 million project, called the Ledge, received the windfall from Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE).
The centre, which will be run by a newly-formed charity, is expected to draw in at least 50,000 visitors a year and will cater for all abilities and age groups and aims to improve the lives of those who might be struggling.
The project involves outdoor enthusiast and TV presenter Duncan McCallum, of the BBC’s Adventure Show.
A delighted Mr McCallum said the cash injection from SSE’s Highland sustainable development fund was an important and major step towards seeing the project becoming fully funded.
"The SSE award is recognising that the Ledge will become a major sports facility which will complement the region and the city of Inverness and provide training facilities for today and future generations of climbers and adventure sports people living and visiting the region," he said.
The project will include an indoor climbing wall with high ropes, fun climbing areas and bouldering spaces, catering for climbers of international standards as well as people whose lives could be improved from participating in the activity.
News of the funding was also welcomed by Inverness Central councillor Bet McAllister.
"It is fantastic for everyone to learn new skills," she said.
"I am happy to support anything which is sporty. It gets people out and about."
Cllr McAllister, who is also depute provost for Inverness, believed the centre would provide an economic boost to the region by attracting visitors wanting to use the facility.
The SSE fund distributes money from onshore wind developments to support strategic projects that can deliver significant impacts in local communities.
Priority projects include those which enhance education and employment or bring social or environmental benefits and help regeneration whether in landscape, biodiversity or heritage.