The Skye Ecomuseum became the first in Scotland and the UK, with funding from a variety of European and national sources, including the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), 10 years ago. Also known as Ceumannan, which is “footsteps” in Gaelic, the project is estimated to have helped attract thousands of extra visitors annually to Staffin and encouraged them to stay longer, which boosts the local economy.
The HLF approved a £522,000 grant to enhance the Skye Ecomuseum experience for visitors and the island’s resident communities after Staffin Community presented ambitious proposals to deliver a second phase of the successful project. The HLF award will enable the construction of a viewing platform at Lealt Gorge, new footpaths and interpretation, a central Staffin “orientation point”, a full events programme and the creation of a programme manager’s job on a three-year contract. The project is also supported by the Coastal Communities Fund and the SSE Sustainable Development Fund. The Ecomuseum has been a resounding success in illustrating Staffin’s heritage and boosting the area’s economy since its creation.
Ceumannan is an outdoor museum with ‘no walls and a roofless sky’ and includes a footpath network across the district. Interpretation illustrating the story of each area in the district focuses on the heritage and landscape, which includes the famous Staffin Beach dinosaur footprints, crofting, use of the Gaelic language, past industries, wildlife, geology, archaeology, etc.
ANGUS MURRAY is the Programme Manager for the Skye Ecomuseum. Angus, who previously worked for Museum and Tasglann nan Eilean in the Western Isles, will manage a wide-ranging activities programme for the project. It includes a new curriculum resource to be developed for Skye primary schools, children’s craft and storytelling events, health walks for older residents, archaeology/wildlife events/workshops, a local history society, a walking festival, business forum, guided walks and tours, etc. Angus will also manage the re-branding and marketing of Ceumannan and the design and delivery of the project’s digital and physical interpretation.
Angus is based at the SCT office in central Staffin. firstname.lastname@example.org or 01470 562 464
This is a hugely important project in terms of creating employment and helping boost the local economy, with an emphasis on extending the summer visitor season into the “shoulder months”. An Economic Impact Study, carried out by the respected Highland economist Steve Westbrook, estimated that the Staffin economy would be boosted by an additional visitor spend of £165,000 when the Skye Ecomuseum II project was delivered. That economic analysis can be read in full here: Skye Ecomuseum II Economic Impact
The project will include:
Major capital works including a viewing platform at Lealt Gorge, new and upgraded footpaths at Loch Langaig, Flodigarry and Grealin-Lealt
Significant and attractive interpretation “welcome” structures at the Storr, Quiraing and Flodigarry (the gateways into the Ecomuseum and Staffin)
An Ecomuseum orientation point in central Staffin proving information about the different walking routes, maps etc
Removal and replacement of all the existing interpretation panels at the 14 Ceumannan sites
Fresh branding and marketing strategy for Ecomuseum
A new user-responsive and mobile friendly website
A packed events/activities programmes which includes a proposed walking festival, guided walks and tours, education curriculum pack for schools, children’s craft and storytelling events, archaeology events/workshops etc etc
SCT would like to thank the Staffin Community Council, local crofting townships, residents and businesses including Staffin Primary School, Staffin Hall, The Wee Quilter, Skyelight Candles, Bealach Uige B&B, Quiraing View, B&B, Columba 1400, Dun Flodigarry Youth Hostel and Portree Youth Hostel, for their input and support during the development phase of the project. SCT is also grateful for the input and advice from its former development officer Marion Beaton into the first round application and to Highland Council’s access officer Donald Kennedy, Alan Melrose of Walk Deeside Ltd, Arwell Jones, Einir Young, Gwenan Jones of the Llyn Ecomuseum in north Wales; Phil McCaherty at HIE; Scottish Natural Heritage’s Alex Turner; Ruth Meekings; Jock Gordon Design Services; Fred McIntosh at the council’s transport department; David MacVicar and Ewen MacPherson at the Scottish Government’s Rural Payments and Inspections Division. It would also like to thank the consultant teams for the reports submitted including Chris York of Walking the Talk Ltd; Geoff Freedman; Muir Associates, Ross and Cromarty Archaeological Services, Steve Westbrook and MacDonald Orr Design.
Below is a mini-photo gallery of the existing Ecomuseum and its events and a link to the original website.