Motorsport heritage centre planned for historic Scots race site

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SCOTLAND’S rich motorsport heritage is to be celebrated in a new centre planned to be created in a historic Highland location for the sport – once deemed to be the ultimate test for drivers.

Ambitious plans to create a centre above the old Rest and Be Thankful hillclimb have received the backing of Scottish motorsport greats, including F1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart and multiple Touring Car Champion, John Cleland.

Interior image of proposed motorsport heritage centre in Argyll. Picture: Contributed

Interior image of proposed motorsport heritage centre in Argyll. Picture: Contributed

The project is the brainchild of Douglas Anderson, the man responsible for the return of the Monte Carlo Rally to Scotland, back in 2011.

Mr Anderson hopes the sympathetic building, set within the picturesque Argyll hillside, will breathe new life into the popular stopping place and bring tourism spend and jobs to local communities.

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He said: “The location of the proposed building at Rest and Be Thankful, Argyll, has great significance in motorsport terms because of the famous hill climb races.

“It was seen as the ultimate test for drivers in many ways because of the steepness and conditions and many greats like Jackie Stewart raced there. It is therefore the ideal place to celebrate Scotland’s impressive motorsport heritage.”

He added: “The idea is to mark that connection within a permanent exhibition space but the project itself is more.

“The building will be a multi-use facility which could be used by the local community for film, business and cultural events and there will also be retail and a restaurant area.”

“There will be full-time jobs in the construction phase and full and part-time local jobs when complete.”

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The proposed building, nestling within the contours of the mountainside, has been designed KennedyTwaddle Architectural Design to utilise the stunning vista at the summit of the glen -already a favourite stopping place.

Meetings with officials from Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, VisitScotland, Transport Scotland, MSP’s and local politicians have been very positive, with tourism chiefs aware the attraction will bring something unique to the area.

Councillor Aileen Morton, Argyll’s Policy Lead for Tourism, said: “This is a really innovative idea; a visitor centre taking in the stunning scenery of the Rest and Be Thankful would surely be very popular.

“The council is supportive of anything which takes advantage of the area’s natural beauty. If Douglas Anderson’s vision can be realised we would welcome the additional tourists the attraction would bring into the area.”

The glass-fronted building will sit below the car parking and may also provide respite for diverted drivers if the A83 major road succumbs to further landslips.

Award winning architectural designers Chris Twaddle and Gary Kennedy believe the attraction is respectful of the natural beauty of the site.

Mr Kennedy said: “We wanted it to be sympathetic to its context but we also wanted to frame the view and accentuate the natural amphitheatre of the valley. It is subtly quiet but exciting, visually.”

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