Ambitious plans launched for tourist spot car park
A SKYE community has launched ambitious plans to buy and improve the car park of a popular tourist spot.
Thousands of visitors descend on the Fairy Pools in Skye each year. But with a car park with just 35 spaces, members of the Minginish Community Hall have now taken the decision to buy the land and create 135 parking spaces.
A Fairy Pools Community Fund has been created and the community hopes to buy the existing car park and some of the surrounding land from owners Forestry Enterprise Scotland (FES).
Richard Powell from the Minginish Community Hall said more than 108,000 people visited the fairy pools last year, but with just 35 spaces problems arose.
He told the Lochaber Times: ‘We end up with 100 or more cars parked along the verges and in passing places.’
And the issue is creating significant problems for residents who stay in the nearby village, Glen Brittle.
Mr Powell said: ‘Most of the year people can’t even get home. People have had to leave their cars on the road and walk miles back to their houses because they can’t get through the road because there are that many cars parked along it.’
He continued: ‘I have even seen pictures of the fire brigade stuck because the width of the road has been reduced so much by parked cars and the fire engine can’t get through.
‘Delivery people have even started saying they won’t deliver to the village because they can’t get access, and even if they could get through they won’t come because they are scared they can’t get back.
‘We have asked the Highland Council to help us but they have said it’s not their problem because it’s not on the road. It’s now come down to the community to raise the money to make the car park bigger.’
FES has agreed to sell the 13 acres of land to the community for around £ 3,500. But Richard said construction work to the car park will cost roughly £250,000.
The group received £15,000 from the Scottish Land Fund earlier this year, and hopes that grant funding, such as LEADER, will help cover the costs.
Mr Powell said: ‘ We wanted to put toilets in, too, because people are just going into the woods and doing it there which isn’t very nice, but that would cost another £40,000.
‘We are hoping to get funding from LEADER, but it’s match funding so we would need to raise at least £125,000 first.’
Mr Powell said the fairy pools have been very busy already this year, with visitors on site since February. He also predicted a record-breaking year for tourism on the island with many B&B’s and guest houses already fully booked for the season.
He said: ‘We would have liked to have had something done for the start of this year’s season but in reality we just can’t. We couldn’t get construction vehicles down there now anyway because it’s so busy, so we will be looking to start the work October/ November time.’
To donate to the fairy pool fund go to https://mydonate. bt.com/events/fairypools
Parking problems near the Fairy Pools in Skye.