Bids for new Staffin footpath contracts invited

FOOTPATH contractors in Skye and across Scotland have been invited to tender for the next phase in the Skye Ecomuseum capitalworks in Staffin.

Following the construction of the viewing platform and new upper car park at Lealt, Staffin Community Trust (SCT) is turning its attention to the second stage of construction works for the heritage project.

SCT has commenced a competitive tendering process, which will run until September 28, and invited several path contractors to bid for two new contracts in Staffin. As part of the ecomuseum project, the Flodigarry path route to the Quiraing, via Loch Langaig and Loch Hasco, will be upgraded. The path was originally an old cart track used by Flodigarry crofters to collect the peats but the surface has badly deteriorated in recent years, as the picture below shows.  

Saturated: Loch Langaig path earlier this year.

SCT is also looking to appoint a contractor for the construction of a path linking Grealin to Lealt. This routes  includes part of an old railway track which was used when the diatomite industry was active in Lealt and has views across to Sgurr a’ Mhadaidh Ruiadh (Hill of The Red Fox), made famous in the Allan Campbell McLean 1955 novel of the same name.

The works will be supervised by the experienced path contractor and manager Donald MacKenzie from Glenelg. 

The ecomuseum is an outdoor museum with ‘no walls and a roofless sky’ and includes a footpath network across the district and 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.  

The signage of the routes will be installed once the paths are completed. SCT is particularly keen to educate walkers that Staffin has very little public land and remains an active crofting community in Skye, where you are often only yards from valuable livestock. That being the case SCT wants to encourage visitors to act responsibly and be aware of their surroundings while they enjoy the landscape and fresh air.   

For example, in Flodigarry the township’s crofters have grown concerned in recent years at walkers letting their dogs roam freely while they climb the Loch Langaig path. When they start walking they will have the dog on a lead but soon release their pets further on. This has resulted in driving sheep down towards the roadside and away from their ‘hefted’ hill pastures, which have been grazed by the Flodigarry livestock for generations. 

The ecomuseum is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Coastal Communities Fund and SSE Sustainable Development Fund.

More details about the project here: https://staffin-trust.co.uk/skyes-eco-museum-ceumannan-ii-2

If any other contractors are interested in tendering for the work, pleased phone SCT’s development officer Hugh Ross on 562 464 or email staffin.ldo@gmail.com