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Community / Watch: Ribbon cut to formally launch new Scalloway caravan park

Steve Mathieson of VisitScotland took the honours of cutting the ribbon from Alistair Carmichael and Beatrice Wishart as their flight was delayed. Photo: Dave Donaldson

IT HAS already been hosting visitors from across the world since May, but the new Scalloway Caravan Park enjoyed its formal opening earlier today (Saturday).

Shetland’s political representatives Alistair Carmichael and Beatrice Wishart were due to undertake the ribbon cutting, but disruption with flights north meant they could not make it.

Instead it was up to local VisitScotland manager Steve Mathieson to do the honours.

The caravan park, located near to the Asta golf course, opened its doors last month and it has already received a five-star rating from the Scottish tourist board.

The project is led by the Scalloway Community Development Company, which attracted significant funding for its build – including from VisitScotland.

The final cost came to around £600,000, which was nearly double the initial estimates.

In addition to 10 caravan/motorhome spaces there are two wigwam accommodation units and eight tent pitches.

Since opening there has been custom from across the world, especially Europe, with a range of booking patterns – whilst locals have also made use of the facilities too.

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Video above shows VisitScotland’s Steve Mathieson at the event.

Speaking at the opening event Scalloway Community Development Company’s Davie Sandison said the project – which was also supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Shetland Islands Council amongst others – was not without hitches.

One key issue was the “phenomenal problem” of getting an electricity connection on the site, which even saw the community development company meet with energy regulator Ofgem in London. There were also issues around getting a water connection too.

Sandison said the idea for a caravan park was first brought up back in 2017, with the Covid pandemic also delaying work on the project.

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The Shetland Central councillor described the process as a “long haul”, with the price of materials increasing during the period too.

Sandison paid thanks to everyone involved in the project, from the contractors and architects to the wardens now overseeing the running of the facility.

“This is a community led project,” he added. “This is about volunteer effort, basically.”

VisitScotland’s Steve Mathieson said the site was a “fantastic example of a great partnership project in tourism”.

He added that tourism in Shetland is in “rude health – the demand is growing every year”.

Mathieson said it is the third time VisitScotland’s rural tourism infrastructure fund has supported a Shetland project, with the Hoswick visitor centre carpark and the revamp of facilities in Hermaness previously receiving funding from the scheme.

Among those attending the event were local councillors and representatives from funders and contractors.

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