Skye pathwork project continues

Local students from West Highland College train on footpaths looked after by the Trust

Heather mcneill   uhi students on skye 2017 0349 detail

This year sees a new group of students from West Highland College back working with local footpath expert Donald MacKenzie as part of the ‘Skye’s Wild Ways: Path Repair and Conservation Skills’ project. Their work has already got off to a good start.

The Broadford-based students, who are doing a Crofting & Countryside Skills course, met with Trust staff in the autumn to talk about the project – funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund – before getting stuck into four days of path work at the start of the Sligachan Gateway.

Donald said: “In November, we worked on over 80 metres of footpath: building five cross drains and a couple of water bars, as well as surfacing and re-vegetating. They are a great group!”

This winter will also see our contractors concentrate on three technical sections of Skye footpath. They will continue work at Druim Hain, tackle a boggy moorland section at Allt Daraich and return to a tricky section of the Bla Bheinn path for further maintenance.

“Last year’s work at the top of Druim Hain will continue, going all the way to the big burn crossing at the bottom, plus there will be some consolidation work on the higher steep section of the Bla Bheinn path,” said Donald.

“Both jobs will be worked on from January to April 2018 by our contractors Arran Footpaths. The new work at Allt Daraich involves contractors ACT Heritage Ltd fixing the spread over the bog in the exclosure by creating a new 670 metres path – from the gate at the top to the entry gate at the bottom, with a loop around the top moraine. The result will be a nice circular walk, with fine views up the glen, when it is finished at the end of February.”

In the spring, a new group of students from the SRUC, Elmwood Campus, are coming to Skye for a week of path work as part of their Conservation course.

Donald and the team will also be working our regular conservation volunteers during a work party from 6-8 April 2018, as well as day of training skills for volunteers on 18 May. Contact sarah.lewis@johnmuirtrust.org for details.

Heli lift on Skye Dec 2017

^ Our contractors prepared for the Allt Daraich work in mid-December, when a helicopter lifted bags of aggregate sourced from Sconser Quarry to the Allt Daraich site and also bagged stone from the slopes of Marsco to use at Druim Hain. Photo by Donald MacKenzie

Photo of West Highland College Students at the top of the page by Heather McNeill