MCHA directors and Oats trustees at the Fairy Pools

MCHA directors and Oats trustees at the Fairy Pools

Work will soon start on improved parking facilities at the site of a popular walking route on the Isle of Skye plagued by congestion.

Spaces for more than 100 cars and 20 minibuses will be provided at the Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle.

Two charities, the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland and the Minginish Community Hall Association are collaborating on the project, which has received funding from four sources for the £600,000 work.

The MCHA has taken over ownership of the car park site from Forestry Commission Scotland under community asset transfer and is working in partnership with Oats who will build, manage and maintain the facility on the association’s behalf.

Visitor information and toilets will also be provided.

Julie Burnett, the association’s secretary and treasurer said: “The expertise of Oats together with the local knowledge of MCHA will lead to a long-term relationship that can only benefit both the Minginish community and the natural environment around the Fairy Pools.

This partnership will provide the opportunity to make a real difference to residents and businesses by reducing congestion on the single-track road leading to the Fairy Pools and Glen Brittle. At the same time, visitors to the Fairy Pools will enjoy improved and safer facilities when visiting this beautiful area.”

The Fairy Pools lie to the West of the Black Cuillin on the island and are a series of natural pools and waterfalls popular with walkers and wild swimmers. The land for the car park was bought at a substantial discount by the MCHA.

Funding for the work has come from Highland Council, Rural Infrastructure Fund, Skye Leader and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The groups involved said the project will also benefit the wider community with local employment boosted through the creation of new jobs and income from the car parking being re-invested to both benefit the Minginish community as well as local access projects to protect the environment.

More than 100,000 people visit the Fairy Pools each year, and the road and area around the attraction struggles to cope, with vehicles parked on verges causing severe obstruction, litter problems, a lack of toilet facilities and erosion on the path leading to the site.

Oats chairman Ian Moffett said: “This unique partnership between MCHA and Oats will enable a solution that will be of benefit to everyone involved.

“Visitors will benefit from much improved facilities; congestion near the Fairy Pools site will be a thing of the past plus income generated from the facilities will be ploughed back into the local Minginish area.

“We very much hope others will look at this innovative approach of two charities working in a symbiotic relationship and perhaps apply a comparable template to similarly challenged sites in the Highlands and Islands.”

Kate Forbes, the area’s MSP, said: “I cannot overemphasise how relieved I am that we have secured the funding for the Fairy Pools.

“A lot of hard work by community representatives, Oats, local councillors and myself has gone into this project. The key is making quick and smooth progress in tendering, constructing and then opening the carpark to visitors.

“The most important people are local residents, whose lives have been disrupted by crazy parking on the side of the road and thoughtless littering. I hope that a brand new carpark, toilets and amenities will resolve that.”

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