Skye quarry works under way – with rock blasting imminent

Work has started on the borrow pit at Lealt Quarry.

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Rock blasting is to be carried out in a dormant north Skye quarry to provide material for a community harbour development.

G F Job Limited, a contractor for Staffin Community Trust (SCT), has started work on the borrow pit at Lealt Quarry in a £300,000 contract which will involve several blasts at the quarry on the main Staffin-Portree A855 road.

The 10-week contract is crucial for the Staffin harbour development with the blasting and planned extraction of rock, including large armour stone, for the construction of a new breakwater at the current slipway five miles north of Lealt. No material will be moved to the slipway in this phase.

There will be temporary five minute road closures for each blast, with the exact time and dates to be announced on the SCT website and via social media at least 24 hours beforehand.

The Lealt Gorge public carparks, path and viewing platform will also be closed the evening before each blast.

SCT director Angus Ross said: “We are pleased we have reached this milestone. It is an important phase as sourcing the rock from a local borrow pit keeps costs down and will reduce the impact on the environment with a far shorter haulage distance.”

Adrian Johnstone, G F Job director, said: “G F Job Limited is delighted to be involved in the Staffin Harbour project. Blasting is a key requirement in the production of the quality of rock armour which is an essential part of the construction of the new breakwater.

“Prior to blasting, every effort is made to keep those who affected by the quarry operations informed of activities. Any local road or car park closures will be kept to a minimum and emergency vehicles, if required, can still be routed through the restricted area by careful management of operations.”

The Lealt project follows initial work last month that saw Edinbane contractor Craik and MacRae dig out a 1.5km trench from Columba 1400 Centre across the Garafad common grazing to lay an electricity cable to the harbour.

The Lealt contract is supported by the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

SCT thank the Kilmuir Estate (Department) for supporting the quarry works and community harbour project in Staffin.

SCT is working to deliver major improvements to the current harbour including an enhanced breakwater, upgraded slipway and on-shore services to support and create new jobs. The trust is currently advertising for a harbour manager, ahead of the community buy out being concluded in early 2024.