Parking spaces and toilets plan for popular mountain
A CONSERVATION charity is to relieve the bottleneck of hikers wanting to conquer one of the most popular mountains on Skye.
The £100,000 scheme will double the number of parking places and build two toilets at the foot of Blàbheinn on Strathaird peninsula.
The 3,045ft high mountain – also known as Blaven –is considered to have some of the best views in Britain.
The view offers huge sweeps of sea, mountains and islands in all directions with most of Skye visible as well as the whole of Raasay and miles of the western seaboard. The John Muir Trust has said the project will help relieve congestion for visitors.
It will increase the parking capacity from about 16 to 34, and will involve the installation of two composting toilets.
The funding package – from the Rural Tourist Infrastructure Fund administered by Visit Scotland – is worth £65,579, which will cover around 75 per cent of the cost of the project. The balance will be raised by the Trust, which last week submitted a planning application to Highland Council.
Sarah Lewis, the trust’s Skye conservation officer, said: “As everyone knows, tourism in Skye has been growing rapidly over the past few years, but the island’s infrastructure is lagging behind.
“The John Muir Trust has invested heavily in footpath repairs recently, but we are also looking at how best to manage visitor pressures, especially around Blàbheinn, which is one of Scotland’s finest and most popular mountains.
“We are confident this application will be successful because it will relieve parking congestion and would help us keep the main access route to the mountain landscape tidy and free from the mess that some tourists, unfortunately, do leave behind.
“There is no mains water supply in the vicinity, so composting toilets are the most cost-effective way to provide public conveniences at the foot of Blàbheinn.
“It’s also a strong example of how we can work with natural processes to minimise waste and chemical use. The system is almost odour-free, has minimal environmental impact and, once all harmful bacteria have been broken down by biological organism, it will produce non-food fertiliser.”
The John Muir Trust said it is also working closely with the Broadford campus of the University of the Highlands and Islands to train students and local people in footpathbuilding skills as part of the crofting and countryside skills course.
Blabheinn mountain on Skye commands great views.