The perfect Christmas gift for popular Newtonmore truck stop

Staff members Iain Hampton and Margarita Clybotary at The Grill on the outskirts of Newtonmore. Staff members Iain Hampton and Margarita Clybotary at The Grill on the outskirts of Newtonmore.

Signs are that things will soon be looking up for Badenoch’s popular Newtonmore Grill. For 20 years Barbara Fraser and partner Derek Mackintosh have been the lorry drivers’ favourite with their first class facilities and service at Newtonmore – but trade relies on word of mouth, since they were not allowed any signage on the A9. “We kept asking,” Barbara told the Strathy. “But we didn’t get anywhere.”

The couple won backing from the haulage business, from locals and their representatives on the Highland Council and at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood. Councillor Muriel Cockburn said last week: “I am saddened at their lack of support so far. I am going to ramp it up as soon as possible.

“We must keep businesses supported and our transport teams for the Highlands.”

Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes also took up the case, agreeing with the drivers that A9 signs were needed to show essential pandemic travellers that Newtonmore Grill provided toilets, showers and food seven days a week. Now she has been told by a Transport Scotland spokesperson: “Truckstop-type facilities are fairly limited in the north of Scotland and their potential contribution to enhancing road safety by providing opportunities for drivers to stop and take a break in the course of their journey is acknowledged. “My colleagues will look into this particular case as a Newtonmore Truckstop has several positive aspects, even though it may not meet all the policy criteria.

“In the interim, particularly because of the generally reduced provision of services due to the impact of Covid-19, I will arrange for our operating company BEAR Scotland to make up, and deploy, on the A9 some temporary yellow signs.”

Ms Forbes said: “This is a great result for the Newtonmore Grill, who were keen to raise awareness of the truck stop. “Times are tough just now for all businesses, and so support like this really matters. I’m grateful to Transport Scotland for actioning this.”

Barbara told the Strathy: “It’s great to be getting somewhere and we’re grateful for the support we’ve had.”