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Nearly 1000ft of new paths created on Isle of Skye to protect against wear and tear of mass tourism

The Quiraing is a visitor hot spot. Photograph supplied by Mattia Querci/Shutterstock
The Quiraing is a visitor hot spot. Photograph supplied by Mattia Querci/Shutterstock

A 1000ft path network has been created on the remote and wild landscape of the Isle of Skye’s Quiraing peninsula to protect it from the wear and tear of mass tourism.

The landmark has always been popular with visitors and received even more tourists over the pandemic.

Over time, this caused some damage to the natural habitat and existing pathways.

But ahead of this year’s summer season the original path has been upgraded and 1000ft of new paths created – some wide enough for wheelchair users – as part of a £9,000 attempt to future-proof the area.

The Outdoor Access Trust Scotland (OATS) oversaw the work and hopes walkers will now stick to the paths instead of carving unofficial tracks damaging flora.

State of repair – before and after on Isle of Skye’s Quiraing

Alongside the additional new paths, it was important that the original paths were extensively repaired.

Over time they had become severely degraded so it was a priority to fix them as part of the overall restoration project.

OATS believes it has restored the habitat to its “original status” and says it will “closely monitor” the new turf until it beds in.

Funding for the £9,000 project came primarily from NatureScot.

‘The ecosystem needs our protection’

The habitat was restored using turfs taken from half a mile away with permission from the Linicro township crofting grazing committee.

These were then transported to the parts that needed re-turfing, with each turf butted up and tamped in for both landscaping and to help establishment.

OATS CEO Dougie Baird said the scheme aims to “protect Skye’s incredible sites for years to come”.

He said: “The completion of the paths network is a significant achievement and will improve ease of access for visitors, as well as protecting vital ecosystems.”

The Quiraing.
The Quiraing. Picture by Sandy McCook

The dramatic Skye location spread over some five miles on the eastern face of Meall na Suiramach features in other-worldly movies including the 2007 fantasy film Stardust.

Stephen Spielberg also used The Quiraing, albeit digitally enhanced, as the backdrop to The BFG in 2016.

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