Footpath improvement project takes another step forward

Photograph: The stunning views from the Old Man of Storr.

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Works on Phase Two of the footpath improvement programme at the world-famous Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye are progressing well.

Following the success of the Phase One pathworks at the Storr visitor site in 2019/20, a second successful bid (£151,343) to the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund administered by VisitScotland was made for further path improvements to the area higher up the site known as the ‘Photographer’s Knoll’.

The pathworks project to upgrade the existing footpath will help reduce erosion and vegetation loss.

Match funding was provided by the Scottish Government’s Rural Payments and Inspections Department to the tune of £65,784.46.

The project was tendered by Highland Council’s Property Team and awarded to Cairngorm Wilderness Contracts Ltd.

Work began on June 13 and very good progress has been made to date. The path is being hand-built to ensure a similar high-quality finish to that achieved on the works already completed.

Works are being managed by the Highland Council’s Property Team, which has appointed the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland to administer the project and provide clerk of works services.

As per the previous contract on Storr, Highland Council is working closely with partners such as The Skye Iconic Sites Partnership, Nature Scot, VisitScotland, SkyeConnect, Staffin Community Trust, community councils, local trusts and voluntary organisations; crofters/tenants and local businesses.

Chris Taylor, VisitScotland regional leadership director, said: ‘The Storr is one of the iconic sites on Skye and has seen a large increase in visitor numbers in recent years, so it is encouraging to see these improvement works getting underway, as they will make a real difference to the area for the enjoyment of visitors and locals alike.

‘I am pleased that the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund has been able to help make the site more resilient, protecting the stunning landscape and improving the visitor experience for all.’

The contract is for 17 weeks and is expected to be completed by the middle of January 2023.