Highland Perthshire community groups last week celebrated a milestone in ambitious plans to transform Pitlochry Recreation Ground.
The historic spectator viewing terrace was in danger of being lost following health and safety concerns.
But in the wake of a successful fundraising effort Tayside construction group Kilmac rose to the challenge to ensure a long-term future for a much-loved local feature.
Bruce Patterson, chairman of the Pitlochry Pavilion Users Group, welcomed the completion of a challenging scheme on time and within budget, hard on the heels of the creation of the town’s new playpark.
He said: “To have introduced the £135,000 playpark and rescued the viewing terrace within two years is very encouraging. This is all part of a bigger project.
“It was coming to a stage where the terracing was nearing the end of its life. There were fears it would have to be razed and turned into a grassy slope. That would have been a real shame.
“We ended up raising £212,000 and have completely rebuilt the terrace, with seating capacity now raised to around 530. It is a great spectator venue.
“It has been there for so long and is a familiar part of the Recreation Ground landscape.”
A Kilmac spokesman said: “The works were challenging for the team as the project started in late winter and was on very steep slopes.
“Timber sleepers were installed and we are proud to have played a part in ensuring the terrace can be used by future generations.”
Mr Patterson added: “Perth and Kinross Council’s Community Greenspace set the ball rolling and we managed to get match funding with support from various sources, including The Gannochy Trust, the Enchanted Forest, Pitlochry Estate, Pitlochry Highland Games, Pitlochry Tourist Association, the Environmental Challenge Fund and the Pitlochry Pavilion User Group. The community support has been great.
“The Highland Games are the biggest user, attracting 5000 spectators on the second Saturday of September. The popular Highland Nights are staged there every Monday night over the summer and the ground will host the finish of the Pitlochry 5k and 10k in September.
“This is a major milestone but while the terrace has a high impact but we aren’t resting on our laurels.
“The town doesn’t have a town square and the Recreation Ground has so much potential. We are keen to attract other big events going forward.
“For a town of Pitlochry’s size the outdoor facilities for sport are pretty poor so we are looking to install a full or half size multi-sports surface with floodlighting.
“We’d like to take over the pavilion, which was relocated from the original Victorian era Recreation Ground when the original was flooded in 1950 for the hydro scheme.
“We have plans to create a tearoom which will create an income stream, also providing public toilets. Changing room facilities with community space is also part of the blueprint covering the next few years.”