Storm Hector suspends Staffin platform works but site remains shut to public

CONTRACTORS have suspended work at the new Staffin viewing platform today (14.6.18) because of the high winds and wet ground.

The weather front, officially named “Storm Hector”, saw heavy rain and higher winds blow into Skye after more than three weeks of largely dry and sunny conditions. However, the public is reminded the site at Lealt remains closed to the public and walkers should not attempt to access the construction site, car park or main footpath.

MacDonald Contracting Ltd’s Scott MacDonald said that the wind speed had made lifting the leg section of the platform very challenging and the ground was greasy. The contractors will be back on site tomorrow morning when the winds have eased.

The viewing platform will provide commanding views of two waterfalls, the Trotternish Ridge and across to Wester Ross. A new car park, north of the existing car park, is also being constructed by Ian and Robert MacDonald of Staffin Groundworks, to meet the anticipated visitor demand. The scheme represents a significant infrastructure investment for the island, which has seen an unprecedented rise in the number of visitors in recent years putting scenic spots under serious pressure.

Engineer Eric Fauld on site at the new platform car park.

The works are a new phase of Staffin Community Trust’s (SCT) Skye Ecomuseum project which also includes new interpretation and a wide ranging events programme involving schools, older residents, families and visitors.

The development project are progressing well and MacDonald Contracting Ltd is hoping to have a crane on site next week to lower the steel platform into its foundations.

SCT believes the sensitively designed attraction will showcase Trotternish’s landscape all-year round and help local businesses. Scottish Natural Heritage is supportive of the platform as it will increase access and public appreciation of the Valtos Special Site of Scientific Interest. Later this year SCT intends to install new interpretation highlighting Lealt’s rich industrial story including the diatomite works, the salmon fishing station and the quarry.

The Heritage Lottery Fund, the Coastal Communities Fund and SSE are the three main funders.