Minute of Meeting of Skye and Lochalsh Local Access Forum held in the Council Chamber, Tigh Na Sgire, Park Lane, Portree, Isle of Skye, on Tuesday 31 March 2009 at 7.00 pm.


Mr William T Peppe, Mr R Watson Laing, Mr Brian Linington, Mr Peter Elford, Mr Ian Renwick, Mrs Audrey Sinclair, Mr William Fraser, Mr Stewart Sandison, Mr Jim Towers, Mr Colin Hutchings.

Also in attendance:

Mr Alaisdair H Mackenzie, Area Solicitor, the Highland Council (Clerk)
Mr Geoff Robson, Head of Environment and Development, the Highland Council
Mr Donald Kennedy, Access Officer, the Highland Council
Mrs Linda Mason, Administrative Assistant, the Highland Council

(In the Chair – Mr William L T Peppe)

1.     Apologies for Absence

Mr Donald MacLeod.

Mrs Audrey Sinclair advised the Meeting that Mrs Isabelle Campbell had indicated her wish to stand down from the Forum. 

2.     Confirmation of Minutes

The Minute of the Meeting of the Local Access Forum held on 19 January 2009, copies of which had been circulated, was approved.

3.     Draft Core Path Plan Update

There had been circulated Report No. SLLAF-03-09 by the Access Officer indicating the estimated costs for upgrading work to candidate core paths in Skye and Lochalsh and suggesting criteria for assessing prioritisation as a means by which the Forum could input into the process of allocating budget, if and when monies became available.

The Access Officer circulated at the Meeting an Extract from Annex 1 to the Report which detailed those paths with a cost for upgrading.

Following discussion with regard to the criteria, Mr Brian Linington moved that there only be two criteria:  Community Demand and Multi-use Potential.  There being no seconder for this motion it fell.

Mr R Watson Laing moved that there be three criteria:  Community Demand, Multi-use Potential and one based on present and future useage of a path.  There being no seconder for this motion it also fell.

Mrs Audrey Sinclair, seconded by Mr Stewart Sandison, moved the criteria be as detailed in the Report, namely: Linking Settlements, Access to Places of Interest, Community Demand, Multi-use Potential, Access to Facilities, Assist Land Management, Safe and Fit for Purpose, Consistent with Access Strategy, Close to Where People Live, Links and Supports Wider (Path) Networks, and an additional criteria being an “inverted” Fit for Purpose.

There being no Amendments to this motion it became the finding of the meeting.

The Meeting further agreed unanimously:-

(1) That no reassessment of the paths should be done by the Access Officer;
(2) The weighting would stay the same;
(3) The Forum would recommend to The Highland Council that the paths listed in priority in the Annex to this Minute be upgraded;
(4) There was a need to progress the disabled access audit and identify those paths which could be upgraded reasonably easily with a Report to be submitted to the next Meeting;
(5) The Priority List be circulated to all Members with the addition of the map number where the paths could be found and the length of the path.

Action by:  DK

4.     Local Access Issues

There had been circulated Report No. SLLAF-04-09 by the Access Officer detailing local access issues in Skye and Lochalsh as follows:-

711.01/01 - Non Compliant Sign at the start of the Ramasaig – Lorgill track

Alternative wording to the “beware of bull” sign had still to be agreed but the Access Officer thought this would be resolved soon.

716.15/01 – Promotion of ‘Uamh Oir’ or ‘Cave of Gold’ Walk North of Borneskitaig

The Access Officer had received a complaint from a local crofter that there had been a marked increase in recreational activity through grazing land he managed due to a walk that crosses his land being included in a recreational walking website.  The crofter had been advised that commercial businesses were not obliged to obtain the landowners permission.  The website owner had been contacted and following discussion of the issues involved it was agreed that, in future, contact with landowners and/or land managers would be advisable before promoting non-established walking routes.  The crofter had been supplied with a kissing gate to help with land management and there would be further liaison to establish better access management in the area.

The Forum noted the Report.

Action by:  DK

5.     Path Projects

The Access Officer reported as follows:-

707.07 – Tayinloan to Braebost – This had been completed.

704.07 – Old Community Hall to Carbost Primary – Worked had commenced on 10 March with an estimated completion date on 10 April 2009.

720.01 – Rubha Ban to Ardtrek – Work would commence on 13 April with an estimated completion on 17 April 2009.

728.05 – Vatten to Feorlig – Work would commence on 20 April with an estimated completion on 1 May 2009.

The Committee noted the position.

6.     AOCB

(1)  Pan-Highland Access Forum

This would take place on 29 May 2009 with Mr William Peppe, Mr R Watson Laing and Mr Brian Linington already having intimated their intention to attend.  All Forum Members were welcome to attend and should contact Mrs Linda Mason in this regard.

(2)  Walk Homecoming 2009

The Head of Environment and Development reported on the above initiative by Ramblers Scotland to promote healthy lives, sustainable transport and tourism.

Ramblers Scotland would like to see “medal” walking routes, to suit all levels of fitness, identified as bronze, silver and gold starting from “walking hubs” such as post offices, community centres, schools etc. The onus for developing routes would lie with local communities although Ramblers Scotland would then, in conjunction with local authorities, produce maps.

The Forum noted the initiative and queried whether the production of maps would meet with favour from some communities who already produced leaflets/maps for their area.

(3)  Glenbrittle Suspension Bridge

Mr Jim Towers advised that there had been complaints about misuse of the bridge and wondered if signs could be erected.

The Forum agreed that those responsible for maintenance of the bridge, that is the householders who used the bridge, could put up signs if they wished.


(4)  Local Access Fora Structure

Mr Geoff Robson advised the Forum that the Ross and Cromarty Forum wished to maintain the status quo.

The Forum concurred with this viewpoint.

7.     Date of next Meeting

The Forum agreed that the next Meeting would be at 7.00 pm on Monday 28 September 2009 in the Kyle Village Hall, Kyle of Lochalsh.

Action by: AHM

The Meeting closed at 8.50 pm.