AN EARLY Easter means Staffin businesses are March-ing into the start of the 2016 season this week.
The “shoulder months” between October and Easter are getting shorter and many local businesses are still trading in the winter as more people enjoy the winter experience in Staffin, particularly when the skies are blue and the sun is out, like last week. As the clocks spring forward this weekend, the Taobh Sear is preparing for another busy season and an influx of visitors from all over the world and the roads are already getting slightly busier.
Staffin has unrivalled scenery and attractions from the dinosaur footprints at Staffin Beach to the wonders of the Trotternish Ridge including the Old Man of Storr, Hill of the Red Fox and Quiraing, and the Kilt Rock. There are a wealth of different businesses and services when you get to Staffin including shops, cafes, small businesses, a gym, garage, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation. A small sample of them can be viewed at the listings pages here http://staffin-trust.co.uk/staffin-directory and a summary of what is new for 2016, below.
- Skyelight Candles: “Skyelight Candles will be open for business from Tuesday (22.3) and during the first week there will be plenty of opportunity to see candles being made as that is when the stock will be getting replenished. Candle making classes are still available throughout the season.”
- Ellishadder Art Cafe: “We’re very excited that the weaving side of the business has expanded with quite a significant investment in the purchase of a new loom in the autumn of 2015. The 16-shaft dobby loom, with a sectional warp beam, allows more intricate patterns to be woven and a wider weaving width than before of 130-cm. In addition to the ‘Staffin’, ‘Quiraing’, and ‘Grianan’ patterns already being produced, there are a couple of new ones for this season – ‘Flodigarry’ and ‘Breckery’. A new website for the weaving is now live www.maggiewilliams.co.uk, with a link to our online shop. The café opens next Monday (28.3) and we have revamped the website www.ellishadderartcafe.co.uk“
- Skye Pie Cafe: “This year we are branching out into sausage rolls! Speciality ones – three different flavours like venison and juniper, spinach and feta and pork and apple. They are huge in Australia and we sampled lots on our holiday there this winter. Decor wise we have covered one of the cafe rooms with fake grass and have hung daisies on there – an inside garden for when it is raining and grey outside. We are open today (Monday 21.3) and will be trading between Monday and Friday from 11am to 5pm.”
- Staffin Museum: “The museum is opening on Thursday (24.3) and Friday. Then we will open Monday to Friday 10.30am to 1pm (apart from Wednesdays) until October.”
- Staffin Stores is open six days a week from 9am to 6pm and has an excellent range of stock catering for everything that the resident community and visors require. The shop has a range of quality meat, dairy and bakery produce, fresh fruit and veg, confectionery and soft drinks and is licensed. It also has its on in-shop ATM machine and a laundrette. A newly-opened gym is also based in Talla Staffian which houses the shop.
- The Wee Quilter: owner Wendy Higgins creates all her bespoke products from 100 per cent cotton fabric, which are entirely hand-made and her shop doubles up as a busy workshop where customers can observe her in creative mode.
- Quiraing View: The Digg B&B and self-catering accommodation has a brand new and enhanced website for 2016 which includes an extensive photo gallery of the accommodation and scenery it can offer. http://quiraing-view-staffin-skye.co.uk/
- Achtalean B&B: Every room in this Stenscholl premises enjoys a sea or mountain view. Right in front of the house is the sea and the magnificent sight of Staffin Bay and Stenscholl and Flodigarry islands. Co-owner Gregg Walters is an experienced mountain guide who is happy to suggest local walks or take guests out for the day.
There are several other restaurants and cafes in Staffin including the Columba 1400, Kilmartin Restaurant and Flodigarry Hotel. There is the MacKenzie Stores shop/fuel station and a plethora of B&Bs and self-catering accommodation, as well as the youth hostel in Flodigarry. Any Staffin business, or firm that trades in the district, can be featured on the listings page for a nominal annual fee. Contact Staffin Trust development officer Hugh Ross on 01470 562 464 or e-mail email@example.com
If you are admiring the Staffin scenery from your car during your holiday – but inadvertently slowing down on the single track roads – then remember to check your mirrors, pull over and let traffic behind you past. That courtesy will be appreciated by your fellow road users, often with a friendly toot of the horn. Otherwise, frustration can quickly grip local drivers who are perhaps on their way to work or elsewhere.
Another important point – particularly as sheep lambing time fast approaches – is to ensure that dogs are under control at all times when you are out walking in the hills or near crofts. Staffin is an active crofting district made up of 23 townships and there is little public land where dogs can roam freely. If you set off at the foot of a hill with your dog on a lead but then let him off further up, please don’t, as there will undoubtedly be livestock nearby. The townships have sheep on important grazing pastures and do not want their sheep scared off the ground.