Soaring popularity of Fairy Pools beauty spot forces rethink over toilet plan

Black Cuillin and tourists visiting the Fairy Pools, succession of waterfalls in Glen Brittle on the Isle of Skye, Scottish Highlands, Scotland, United Kingdom. (Photo by: ARTERRA/UIG via Getty Images)
Black Cuillin and tourists visiting the Fairy Pools, succession of waterfalls in Glen Brittle on the Isle of Skye, Scottish Highlands, Scotland, United Kingdom. (Photo by: ARTERRA/UIG via Getty Images)

New public loos for a world famous Skye beauty spot have stalled after designers drastically failed to estimate the massive influx of tourists – now peaking at 1,000 users-a-day.

The Fairy Pools were so busy that it was decided facilities were needed after complaints by locals of wild toileting.

Relief appeared in sight with £300,000 loos due to open this season – in fact a grand opening of the toilets and new car park was planned for next week.

But that has now been postponed because the proposed free-to-use loo would not be able to cope with the demand.

Its design was based on 2015 footfall of less than 100,000 people-a-year.

But Nick Duffill of the car park’s owner, the Minginish Community Hall Association, said the current total was more like 190,000.

New toilets to cope with the boom and the associated environmental consent from Sepa are now in the pipeline.

“At peak times we expect to be getting 1000 users-a-day,” said Mr Duffill, who added that MCHA has been working with partners and the Glenbrittle community towards long term improvements to the visitor facilities at the iconic pools at the foot of the Cuillin.

“We hope to have the new toilets up and running by the end of the summer. The old design was based on estimates that are now well out of date. We just hope the numbers do not double in the next four years!

“The numbers are such that people are going out to the pools 18 hours-a-day. It’s incredible.”

However the extra demand has led to two full time jobs being created – advertised this week – in addition to seasonal workers.

The tourist hot spot – named as the most romantic place in the UK in a survey for publisher Mills & Boon – has been struggling to cope with visitor numbers.

A statement from Minginish Community Hall Association and Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland said the “extraordinary” increase in visitor numbers meant that the project needed to deliver a toilet building that can accommodate almost twice the number of visitors indicated in the original report.

The statement continued: “The increase in visitors has resulted in requirements to amend the size and location of the building, and an application for specific licensing from SEPA. The latter has also resulted in the requirement to complete sitespecific percolation tests and a re-design of the location of the treatment facility. This additional work is to ensure that the installed system can accommodate up to 1,000 daily users.

“The relevant authorities have not yet signed off on the amendments, tests and re-design. A proposed new date for the Grand Opening will be announced as soon as this information is available.”

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