With up to 1,000 visitors a day flocking to Skye’s spectacular Fairy Pools during peak season, news that a new and improved access path is to be put in place, thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, has been welcomed by Ian Blackford, MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber.
Minginish Community Hall Association (MCHA) – run by residents on Skye – recently secured £16,750 from Postcode Local Trust, a grant giving charity which is funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, to kick start the Fairy Path project.
The soaring popularity of the beauty spot, which lies at the foot of the Black Cuillins, has put pressure on the current infrastructure which is unable to cope with the sheer number of tourists the area attracts. Skye is now second only to Edinburgh in terms of visitor numbers.
Funding from lottery players will enable the construction of a new footpath. One that’s wider and more accessible, ensuring as many people as possible are able to enjoy the site. MCHA also plan to incorporate bridges along the new route, as well as viewpoints which are all designed to help improve the visitor experience.
A portion of the funding will contribute to habitat restoration work. Through educating the public with signage along the route, MCHA are hopeful they can halt and reverse the current rate of vegetation degradation taking place, caused by lack of a proper pathway and understanding of the outdoors.
Commenting on the funding, Ian Blackford MP said: "I’m delighted to hear that Minginish Community Hall Association has been successful in securing funding from Postcode Local Trust. An accessible new path to the Fairy Pools will allow locals and tourists alike to get outdoors and take in its splendid natural beauty, while making sure this doesn’t come at the cost of the environment."
Improving access to The Fairy Pools is just the latest initiative drawn up by MCHA to better manage increased footfall at the iconic attraction. In 2017, the organisation bought over 12 hectares of land near the honey pot site to create a larger car park and help address the issue of congestion which was becoming ‘too much to bear’. Two Skye residents are now employed full time at the car park.
Julie Burnett, Director of MCHA, said: "Minginish Community Hall Association are delighted to have been awarded funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. The award will be used to improve and repair the access path at the popular Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye.
"The significant increase in visitor numbers to such a fragile environment has resulted in a widening and degradation of the existing path and erosion of the natural environment.
"Working with partners, MCHA will develop paths that make access safer and more accessible to all. The work will help sustain the visitor numbers, repair and regenerate the surrounding land and provide information for visitors on other interlinking paths. The information will also explain the importance of the natural environment and need to repair/restore the damage caused by visitors."
Last year, more than £8 million raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery was distributed to grassroots projects, just like Minginish Community Hall Association, across Britain.