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Luxury Scottish Marina Inaugurated

by Robert Lee,, London

28 August 2009

A blot on the landscape created by the oil boom of the 1970s is to be turned into a GBP45m world-class tourist destination in the west of Scotland. The first phase of the new 230-berth, deep-water, state-of-the-art Portavadie Marina complex and resort was officially opened August 26 by Jim Mather, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism.

Built on the site of a former 1970s oil-rig construction yard which never opened, Portavadie Marina aims to provide some of the highest quality facilities in the UK for sailors, walkers, mountain bikers, golfers and other outdoor leisure enthusiasts.

The opening of the marina comes at a time when Scotland is experiencing a boom in sailing as marine leisure activities are now second only to golf in attracting revenue from tourism.

According to the latest figures from the Scottish Boating Alliance and VisitScotland golf attracts an estimated GBP300m a year to the national economy, closely followed by sailing and boating which brings in around GBP275m. Walking is said to be worth GBP240m, mountaineering around GBP104m and mountain biking GBP35m.

Owners, Portavadie Estates Ltd, have so far spent around GBP18m on the first phase of the development, including the marina, restaurant, accommodation and luxury facilities which will eventually create more than 100 jobs.

The 12 metre deep lagoon, which is situated directly east across Loch Fyne from the village of Tarbert, provides fully serviced berths for almost any size of leisure craft. There are also a variety of shore side benefits, including luxurious showers and toilets, a launderette, drying room and a number of self-catering family apartments and cottages for between two and eight persons.

The marina’s quality bar and restaurant, winner of the Benromach Nautical Restaurant and Bar of the Year 2009 at the Scottish Licensed Trade Awards, provides a wide menu of high quality delicacies, including Loch Fyne seafood, locally shot game and produce prepared by Chef Steven Gilroy, who recently joined the marina from The Hilton Hotel in Dunkeld.

The 100 acres marine resort is situated among some of the most picturesque scenery in the world and great care has been taken to preserve and enhance the environment.

“Portavadie is unlike any other marina, not just on the Clyde coast but beyond, throughout Britain,” said Brian Stewart of Stewart Associates, architects for the project.

“We have tried to create something special, a landmark building which has more of a Mediterranean feel to it rather than a traditional British marina.”

“The restaurant, offices, board room, function suites and high-level viewing terrace all overlook the marina in a series of interlinking glass and stone buildings which are extremely environmentally friendly.”

“The buildings are highly insulated and designed in such a way that they don’t need a lot of energy because it’s naturally lit and ventilated. The heating is all under floor and the LED lighting system, the first of its kind in Europe, is very, very energy efficient.”

Much of the appeal of Portavadie is that it is designed to be a year round destination for all types of visitors, whether they want to stay for a few weeks or a few hours.

“Portavadie is more than a marina. The idea is to create a destination which will appeal all year round to walkers, mountain bikers, golfers, horse riders, fishermen, divers and wildlife watchers as well as sailors,” said Iain Jurgensen, General Manager.

"This marina development will really put Portavadie on the sailing map,” added Mather, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism

“The new pontoons, restaurant and bar and viewing terraces are a welcome addition for all those marine-based visitors and the proposed tourist hostel and letting apartments will further boost the local economy,” he concluded.

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