Fort William installs canopy for events in wet weather

Welcome Summer

Canopy in Cameron Square, Fort WilliamImage copyright

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The canopy, pictured on a fine dry day, in Fort William’s Cameron Square

A retractable canopy has been installed in a public space in Fort William, one of Scotland’s wettest places.

The 7m (23ft) wide structure is made up of two blinds which can be extended to 4m (13ft) either side individually or together.

Community groups have worked together to provide the shelter so outdoor events can be held during wet weather.

The 30-year average annual rainfall for the Fort William area is 212 days, according to Met Office statistics.

Rain during an event to celebrate the arrival of a cruise ship in September 2016 prompted plans for a canopy in the town’s Cameron Square.

‘Great addition’

Fort William Marina and Shoreline Community Interest Company (FWMSCIC) worked with Fort William Town Team on getting one installed.

Fort William Community Council paid for the planning application and Highland Council provided a £30,070 grant from its Town Centre Fund for the structure.

It has already been booked for a craft fair and other events planned for September.

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The shelter has been installed after more than three years of work by a community group

Sarah Kennedy, of FWMSCIC, said: “It has taken us three years and seven months to get to this point but we know how beneficial having a canopy in Cameron Square will be for everyone.

“It will enable events to be carried out that maybe wouldn’t before due to the uncertainty of knowing what the weather will be like.”

FWMSCIC chairman Hamish Loudon said: “This canopy is a great addition to the town and we hope it will be well used over the coming months – especially as social distancing is so important at the moment.”

Autumn and winter months are usually the wettest for the Fort William area with a record daily rainfall of 117.4mm (4.6in) recorded on 27 October 2014, according to the Met Office.

A record monthly figure of 562.2mm (22.1in) rain was recorded in December 2015. It was slightly drier last year with 297mm (11.6in).