Community opening event for new Lealt viewing platform

A NEW viewing platform and parking area at Lealt gorge in Staffin will be officially opened tomorrow (Thursday) in a community event.

The community and wider public are warmly invited to the opening at 11.30am on October 4th.

Staffin Community Trust (SCT)’s contractors completed the development earlier this year, as part of the newly re-branded Skye Ecomuseum project, which will now also carry the name, Druim nan Linntean.

The structure is the first of its type in Skye and the community-led development saw a welcome investment in infrastructure and amenities in Trotternish, which is arguably the busiest peninsula with hugely popular sites like the Old Man of Storr, Tote viewpoint, Brothers Point, Lealt, Kilt Rock, Staffin Beach and Quiraing.

Pupils from Bun-sgoil Stafainn will be performing a song they have written with musician Hector MacInnes that will tell the story of Lealt and its industrial past, as well as an old favourite. There will then be a few words from SCT chairman Sandy Ogilvie and Skye councillor John Gordon, who has strong family connections to nearby Lonfearn. Councillor Gordon and local residents Janet Lamont and Donald MacLeod will then perform a short ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The opening will be followed by tea, coffee and something sweet at Glenview House (Skye Pie Cafè).

Tha fàilte oirbh uile // All welcome

SCT is very grateful to Lealt township and Kilmuir Estate for their permission and support for the project. The funding for the platform and carpark has come from Heritage Lottery Fund, the Coastal Communities Fund and SSE Sustainable Development Fund. The platform was designed and projected managed by engineer Geoff Freedman. It was constructed by the Inverness company, MacDonald Contracting Ltd. The new main upper car park, which is well hidden from the main A855 road, was built by local firm, Staffin Groundworks.

The new Lealt viewing platform.

The development cost more than £100,000. But that return will be more than paid back by the all-year round attraction. It will improve safe access to the area and provide commanding views at the gorge of the waterfalls of the Trotternish Rdge and towards Wester Ross. The leading Highland economist Steve Westbrook has estimated that the Staffin economy, which is classed as ‘fragile’ by the Scottish Government and is heavily dependent on tourism, will be boosted by an additional visitor spend of £165,000 by the second year of the ecomuseum project’s delivery.

SCT also wants to highlight the backing from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). SCT’s project work is strongly supported and its development officer post is funded by HIE’s Capacity Building Programme for fragile communities. SCT would also like to express its gratitude to a number of local contractors for their work/and or supply development so far, including engineer Eric Faulds, Jock Gordon Design & Planning, the main fencing contractors Iain MacLeod and Dougie Ross, fencer Sandy MacLeod, tree surgeon Alex MacLeod, welder DL Mackenzie, tarring contractors Craik & MacRae, Eyre Plant Hire, Sconser Quarry and the digger operator John Gillies.