Resilient Rabbie’s staff battle hail and wind to fix Quiraing route

RESILIENT tour bus drivers who braved high winds and hail showers have completed urgent path repairs at the Quiraing.

Staff from Rabbie’s Trail Burners spent two days working on badly-needed repairs to the route, which attracts thousands of people each year. Despite very tough weather conditions at the exposed site, seven hardy Rabbie’s drivers and office workers dug out a damaged and uneven section of path, created a stone-lined ramp, installed a culvert pipe and landscaped the area. The workers faced frequent rain and hail showers but battled on to complete the job. These videos provide a snapshot of the conditions… Click on short link to play: IMG_3211 and IMG_3212

The path repairs carried out over March 14-15 came about through a new partnership between Rabbie’s, which runs trips to Skye all-year round, and the Staffin Community Trust (SCT).

SCT secured a major Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant for its Skye Ecomuseum project, which includes the Quiraing path route. HLF awarded a £522,000 grant in September 2016. SCT has a maintenance and management plan and intends to provide volunteering opportunities for local people and other groups when the project officially starts next month.

Rabbie’s fleet transports passengers to popular Staffin sites including the Old Man of Storr, Lealt Gorge, the Kilt Rock, An Corran and the Quiraing. The workers volunteered to become directly involved in the ecomuseum maintenance plan on the ground. Highland Council’s Skye access officer Donald Kennedy, who is a key member of the ecomuseum sub-group, had identified the Quiraing work as a priority. Rabbie’s staff carried out two days of work on the same section last October. Donald supervised the latest group and was delighted at their efforts.

Donald said: “The Rabbie’s volunteers were determined to carry out the path repairs, regardless of the extreme weather conditions, and the work was completed to a high standard. I was very impressed.”

SCT chairman Sandy Ogilvie said: “The Rabbie’s staff refused to let the grim weather get the better of them and stuck to the task brilliantly, the end result is a fantastic improvement for the season ahead. The trust has enjoyed working closely with them in this community and business partnership and now look forward to the start of the ecomuseum project proper.”

Duncan MacLachlan, Rabbie’s operations supervisor, said: “Over the years we have brought a great many visitors from around the world to enjoy the beautiful and dramatic scenery on the Isle of Skye. As a company we like to promote responsible tourism where ever we travel. Helping to rebuild and maintain the paths on one of the island’s greatest landmarks has been a privilege for all involved. This is the second time we have been able to team up the Staffin Community Trust and we will certainly hope to return again soon to continue our efforts and maintain this important relationship on the island.”

Rabbie’s awarded a £2,000 grant to SCT from its Carbon Tax fund, which will fund the purchase of tools and equipment for maintenance and general ecomuseum repairs.