Call for parking improvements as award-winning chef says May was busiest on record for Glenfinnan

An award-winning chef at a popular hotel close to the world-famous Glenfinnan Viaduct believes that May has brought the most visitors to the iconic Lochaber region for well over a decade.

Head chef at Glenfinnan House Hotel Duncan Gibson, who recently received the prestigious Highland Chef of the Year award, said the area continued to be a magnet for Harry Potter fans as well as those wanting to visit the Glenfinnan Monument – which honours fallen Jacobite clansmen.

Lochaber constituency MSP Kate Forbes, who has met with Mr Gibson and the local community council to discuss tourism infrastructure, said it was imperative that solutions were found to ensure a safe and sustainable experience for all visitors, with more parking top of the list. 

Duncan Gibson, who has run Glenfinnan House Hotel with his wife Manja for the past 16 years, said: “Glenfinnan has over the past few years gotten steadily busier with tourists stopping to see the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, now made even more famous by the Harry Potter movies and it is also used in every Visit Scotland advert that I have seen over the past few years.

“This past May has been the busiest that I can remember in my 16 years here. It is vital that the infrastructure can cope with more people travelling on the A830.

“We are also in desperate need for more parking facilities to stop visitors parking along single track roads and blocking other traffic while doing so and also putting local children in danger walking to or back from the school bus.”

Kate Forbes MSP added: “It is fantastic news that so many people are choosing to visit Glenfinnan and spend time and money in the area. The numbers are rising every year. Clearly, that makes it more important than ever to invest in local infrastructure.

“I’ve met with Glenfinnan community representatives several times and I am positive that we can put together a good plan which will create additional parking as well as improve the visitor experience.

“We want people to come, visit and see the all the iconic sites like the viaduct and the monument but they’ve got to have somewhere to park.

“I want to see local communities getting the benefits of tourism so that we can continue to welcome guests and bring jobs into the area.”

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