Beinn Nibhe is the first outdoor sports store for women

A STORE in Fort William that would be Scotland’s first woman-owned, women’s outdoor sports retailer is set to launch.

Owner Eilidh Sykes has secured £47,500 funding from the Royal Bank of Scotland to cover initial start-up costs, share purchases, a security deposit and shop fitting for Beinn Nibheis which will open in the town known as the outer capital of the UK in May.

The store, located on the corner of Cameron Square, will carry mainly women-owned brands and offer advice for women, beginners and professionals, interested in outdoor activities.

By proudly stocking select brands, the company hopes to encourage more women to play sports and enjoy outdoor activities, the company said.

Ms Sykes also has ambitions to open a second location in Aviemore in the coming years, where she plans to manufacture and stock her own range of outdoor clothing aimed at women.

Eilidh Sykes, Director of Beinn Nibheis, said: “I have been involved in the outdoor industry all my life, as an avid outdoorsman and hiker and working alongside my dad (Ian Sykes) and of the retail business he founded – Nevisport.

“I recognized a gap in the market for outdoor clothing designed specifically for women, with most retailers simply offering men’s or unisex options at present.

“I was attracted to the Royal Bank of Scotland following its ‘Ask for More’ campaign which supports women in business.

“Working with my relationship manager was seamless, and it was an added bonus that my local business manager, Mairi Macdonald, speaks Gaelic like me. It was very personal as Gaelic culture is something that I want to defend through my business.”

Nevisport was founded in 1970 by climbers Mr Sykes and Ian Sutherland, and was acquired after their retirement by Jacobs & Turner Ltd, resulting in the company’s head office and warehouse moving to Glasgow.

Allan Campbell, Head of Direct Relations at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “Supporting women entrepreneurs, particularly those in rural communities, is something we are passionate about, so it was a privilege to secure this deal for Eilidh.

“This is just the beginning for her and Beinn Nibheis, and I look forward to supporting them in a prosperous future.”

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