Agendas, reports and minutes

Skye And Lochalsh Local Access Forum

Date: Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Minutes: Read the Minutes

Minute of the meeting of Skye and Lochalsh Local Access Forum held in the Council Office Old Corry Industrial Estate, Broadford on Friday 23rd  November 2017 at 2.00 pm.


Mr Alistair Danter, Mr Rob Ware, Mr Jim Towers, Mr Bruce Taylor, Mr Ally Macaskill.

Also in Attendance:

Mr Donald Kennedy, Access Officer, Highland Council

1.         Apologies for absence

Ms Nicola Rust, Mrs Isabell Campbell, Mr Calum MacLeod, Mr Willie MacKinnon.

2.         Confirmation of minutes

The minute of the meeting of Forum held on 30th September 2016, a copy of which had been circulated, was approved.

3.         Local access issues

There had been circulated Report No. SLLAF-01-17 by the Access Officer detailing local access issues in Skye and Lochalsh as follows:-


SL04.13/01 Parking, Sanitation and Litter Issues, Fairy Pools Car Park




The Access Officer received an enquiry from Minginish CC regarding lack of parking, toilet facilities and associated problems at the Fairy Pool car park.


Current status.





The Fairy Pools Project Group was set up comprising representatives from the Highland Council, landowners and local community groups. Over the past three years the project group has carried out and supported a full options appraisal, feasibility study, community consultation, design work and had planning consent approved for additional parking and toilets. The Highland Council has committed £100k to the project from the Town and Countryside regeneration capital fund pending a successful outcome of funding bids to LEADER and a number of other funders; the estimated cost of the overall project is in the region of £500k.

More generally the Access Officer reported that numbers were still increasing significantly on the Fairy Pools and Storr paths whilst there had been no increase in the numbers using the Coire Riabhach path, the main route into Sgurr nan Gillean since data collected in the early 2000s. Members were asked if they had observed similar lack of increase in numbers in comparison to the ‘honeypot’ sites. Ally Macaskill advised that, anecdotally, he felt that there had been no significant increase in user numbers on the Blaven path.  The forum in general were agreed that huge increase in users numbers at the Fairy Pools, Storr, Quiraing and Neist Point were not matched elsewhere throughout the island. There was further discussion as to whether there should be active promotion of other routes to try and take the pressure off the ‘honeypot’ sites. It was agreed that there should be a twin track approach whereby all initiatives to improve the facilities at the honeypot destinations should be supported, consideration should be given to improving other routes and associated facilities if not actually promoting them.


The Forum noted the position.



SL01.05/01 Barrier across track, Stromeferry




Following issues in previous years regarding public access along the track, complaints from members of the public were received that public access was again blocked. A site visit by the Access Officer confirmed that steel gates had been installed at the start of the track and were padlocked at the time of the visit. Contact was made with the land occupiers and the gate was unlocked.



Current status

There has been no further reports of public access being blocked.



The Forum noted the position



SL09.01/01 Car Park to start of Rubha Hunish Core Path




Complaint from community council that at the cattle grid between the car park and the start of the core path the by pass gate has been wired up forcing access takers to walk over the grid. This was proving difficult for the less abled and those with dogs.

Local land manager advised that gate had been wired up because of stock escaping due to it being left open. Community Services, who own the grid and gate advised that their only responsibility is to provide a functioning by pass gate regardless of whether it takes wire cutters to open it.



Current status

THE Access Officer has investigated costs of installing a kissing gate next to the by pass gate but there are technical problems to the extent that costs cannot be met from the  access budget alone.

The Forum noted the position






4.         Access revenue projects


To end of FY 2016/17 projects included Loch Sneosdale Repairs and Coral Beach repairs/realignment.


Budget for FY 2017/18 - £5,000


Revenue projects for 2017/18 allocated to date and including West Lochaber.


Armadale village path link (funding contribution)  £2,000


Signage and waymarking project, Sanna Core Path Network £1,000


The Forum noted the position.




5.         Core Path Plan Review




Paths that have been assessed for inclusion as candidate core paths since last meeting are as follows:


Braeintra Network, Achmore

Edinbane Link Path extention

Dun Cann from Inverarish, Raasay

Toremore Forest Network, Sleat

Grealin to Lealt

Lealt Gorge viewpoint.


Potential routes still to be assessed:

Hill path, Ratagan

Circular path, Glen Sligachan entrance

Formal consultation on the amended plan is scheduled to take place in the summer of 2018. Forum members were encouraged to bring any candidate core paths, including any forthcoming access developments and proposals to the attention of the Access Officer.


The Forum noted the position.



6. AOB


6.1 John Muir Trust – Ally Macaskill advised that work would be starting soon on a circular path at the Sligachan gateway and work on the hill path at Drumhain would start next year


6.2 Eas a’ Bhradain Waterfall – Rob Ware expressed concern at the dangerous conditions prevalent at the Eas a’ Bhradian waterfall at the foot of Drum Na Clioch. It was suggested that The Trunk Roads Authority would be the only agency that could address such problems and was beyond the scope of anything that forum members could realistically do.


6.3 Re-alinged route to Knock Castle. – Rob Ware advised that a new path had been built around the farmhouse since the new distillery prevents access through the farmhouse buildings. Further access infrastructure is being planned to address problems associated with the  privacy of a local resident.  


6.4 Rubha Ban to Ardtrek Core Path, Portnalong – Jim Towers expressed concern at the deteriorating state of the bridge ( a fish farm walkway) that crosses the river on the Rubha Ban to Ardtreck Core Path. He had noted some access takers had turned back on seeing the condition of the walkway. It was agreed the Access Officer should write to the fish farm manager reminding him of the problem and to ascertain if there was any plans to replace the walkway.

Action DK/JT



6.5 Wheelchair Accessible Picnic Tables – Jim Towers advised that the Skye and Lochalsh Access Panel have secured funding for Wheelchair accessible picnic tables. Members were asked to forward any suggestions for sites that they could be located. The path/track to the table must be of a good surface standard and of gentle gradient.

Action All


6.6 People Counter Data – Rob Ware asked if the Access Officer could make available people counter data from Fairy Pools, the Storr and other sites in Skye and Lochalsh to help inform the current initiatives to develop  a strategy for tourism.


Action DK





7.         Date of next meeting


The date of the next meeting is to be confirmed.


Action by: DK/AD



Meeting closed at 15.45 hrs.