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Loch Insh Resized

Funding boost for outdoor leisure facility in Strathspey

Published: 14/12/2023

A £265,000 improvement project is nearing completion at an outdoor leisure facility in Strathspey.

Family-owned Cairngorm Canoeing and Sailing School (CCSS), which operates Loch Insh Water Sports, has secured up to £132,500 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) towards the costs of the upgrades.

Employing more than 70 people in peak season, CCSS operates from a 15-acre site on the shores of Loch Insh close to the village of Kincraig, and offers group package holidays and activity days for schools and families.

In addition to activities on the loch, the company operates an artificial ski slope for skiing and tubing, as well as visitor accommodation, restaurant, bar and shop.

Resurfacing the ski slope with one that uses the latest technology and allows for superior customer experience is nearing completion and is on track for a formal opening on 22nd December. This will broaden the use of the facility and increasing its appeal in the winter months and helping grow the business into a stronger 12-month attraction with resulting employment benefits for local people.

Layout in the centre’s kitchen will be reconfigured and equipment upgraded to help reduce operating costs and increase capacity.

And interim improvements are being made to the employee living accommodation ahead of a longer-term redesign and rebuild project.

Lizi Blackwood, senior development officer with HIE’s Inner Moray Firth Team, said:

“This is a business that’s been at the heart of outdoor recreation in Strathspey for more than half a century, and a valuable local employer. It provides young people with the perfect environment to tackle challenges and build confidence in themselves and offers activity packages that encourage visitors to stay longer in the area.

“The ski slope is a notably valuable asset to the businesses and to the area, as it extends the seasonal offerings and provides certainty for ski lessons regardless of weather conditions on Cairngorm Mountain.

“I’m very pleased we have been able to support this improvement project and look forward to continuing to work with the team at CCSS as they implement their plans.”

“Jonathan Freshwater, Loch Insh CEO, said:

This is a fantastic addition to our winter offering and we are extremely grateful for the support HIE has given us in the current difficult times for tourism businesses. 

We are already seeing an uptick in forward bookings in our schools business midweek through the winter and we are confident the slope and nearby artificial Glice skating rink will be popular with the general public through the weekends building out our winter offering.”