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Loch Ness Shores in Foyers, Highlands

A village on the shores of Loch Ness has been enjoying a fresh influx of tourists since a new, award winning(1) environmentally-friendly campsite has opened its doors to the public.

Not only has the local hotelier benefitted as a result of the extra trade, opening a new bistro and bar to give the village its first pub for over a decade, but the village shop is no longer threatened with closure. 

All this may not have happened had it not been for the discovery of a fresh water aquifer buried beneath the ground – helping to facilitate a project involving one of the most innovative renewable heating systems in the country.  

When it opened in July 2013, the 100-pitch Loch Ness Shores campsite welcomed huge demand from tourists, keen to take in both the stunning Highland scenery and the facilities it offers. 

The campsite has helped to drive more trade to established businesses in the village, such as the village shop, café and local hotel, plus another three new businesses, are also benefiting from the extra trade, enabling them to employ more people. 

The campsite has its green roots to thank for its success – it may never have gone ahead if it had not been able to access funding through the Scottish Government’s district heating loan fund (managed by the Energy Saving Trust), which enabled it to install the pioneering and innovative renewables equipment.  

At the time of construction, the previous owners found there was no provision for water, leaving a challenge that wasn’t going to be easy to solve. Having already looked at renewable energy to heat the site, they quickly came to the conclusion that the solution to both water supply and heating problems was right under their feet.

Helped by £170,000 from the district heating loan fund, they have installed a solar thermal array and a pioneering water to water heat pump system that heats the water for the community buildings on site. This integrated system extracts the underground water at an average temperature of 9.5 to 10.5 degree centigrade, and can heat the thermal store to over 50 degrees centigrade. Once the heat has been extracted by the heat pump the system returns the water to the ground through a second borehole. Fresh drinking water comes from a separate borehole - meaning the campsite works entirely independently from the water network. 

The campsite is working in partnership with other businesses, including the local Countryside Rangers, who provide outdoor activities helping to ensure its 5* rating from VisitScotland, will continue.

(1*) The scheme has been recognised through the prestigious ‘Green Gold Business Award’, ‘Loo of the Year Awards’; Scottish National Winner in 2015 and 2016 in the Eco Friendly category.

 

Dated 11 March 2019

Leisure/hospitality/tourism
Energy storageHeat pumps
HeatingLow carbon heating
District heating loan fund
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