Park­ing spa­ces and toi­lets plan for pop­u­lar moun­tain

The Herald - - NEWS - MARTHA VAUGHAN

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.

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