Work is about to begin on a bigger and better car park at the start of the standard route up Bla Bheinn. The upgrade, which commences Monday 5 August, will increase the number of vehicle spaces and add two badly needed composting toilets to the car park off the B8083 between Broadford and Elgol.
The restructuring work, which will be carried out by a local contractor, is expected to take eight weeks to complete.
Rich Williams, the Land Operations Manager of the John Muir Trust, who own Bla Bheinn, said:
"As we all know, tourist numbers coming to Skye are on the rise, creating infrastructure problems in certain areas. Bla Bheinn is a magnificent mountain with superb views over land and sea, and one of the more accessible Cuillin peaks, so it is understandably popular among visitors. The Trust has invested heavily in footpath repairs in recent years and is now trying to tackle parking congestion and thoughtless litter and human waste problems."
Parking provision will increase from approximately 20 spaces at present to 34, and will include disabled access bays.
Since the site is popular with camper vans, and there are no other public facilities nearby, the addition of toilets here will be a welcome improvement. The new composting toilets will not require a mains water supply, making them a low-cost, low-maintenance and environmentally friendly option (and certainly way better than everyone pooing in the bushes).
The upgrade will also include new signage and interpretation boards to help visitors better understand the landscape, wildlife, culture and heritage of the local area – and to remind people of the importance of responsible leave-no-trace behaviour.
During construction, at least 50 per cent of the car park will remain open for visitors, say the Trust, although there may be short periods when full closure is necessary to carry out specific operations. Overflow parking will be available alongside the road, as was the case prior to the construction of the existing car park.
The John Muir Trust manages 12,000 hectares on Skye, including the Strathaird, Torrin and Sconser estates, crofting settlements such as Elgol and part of the Cuillin Hills National Scenic Area. Over the past two years, the Trust has – with the support of its members, supporters and external funding bodies – invested £263,000 repairing and upgrading its network of footpaths and has recently taken on two new members of staff from the local area.
- For details of the standard route on Bla Bheinn, see our Route Card: