Viewing platform at Staffin waterfall forms part of Skye Ecomuseum II

A VIEWING platform at a Staffin waterfall is among the plans for a proposed major enhancement of the Skye Ecomuseum.

Staffin Community Trust (SCT) has now submitted funding and planning applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Highland Council, respectively, following a two-year development and consultation process which has involved the local community and several public agencies along the way.

SCT wants to construct a viewing platform at Lealt Gorge, similar to a structure built by the National Trust for Scotland at Corrieshalloch, near Ullapool. The platform would extend 3-metres over the side offering fantastic views up to the waterfall, the Trotternish Ridge and out to Wester Ross. The Lealt township is am important part of Staffin’s industrial heritage with examples of the salmon fishing stations and diatomite mining nearby.

Artist impression of proposed viewing platform.

Artist impression of proposed viewing platform.

SCT took advice from the council prior to submitting the plans and was advised an extended car parking area was required to cater for the anticipated increase in visitor demand so has also submitted an extended car park.The Ecomuseum, which first opened in 2008, saw the outdoor museum with “no walls and a roofless sky” created in Scotland for the first time. It linked 14 different sites across the Staffin district and involved footpaths, interpretation and outlined the stories of each area. The ecomuseum concept originated in France in the early 1970s.

The Ecomuseum has direct heritage, education, health, economic and social cohesion benefits for Staffin, which is classed as a “fragile” community by Highlands and Islands Enterprise on account of the ageing population, decline in resident population, falling school roll, a lack of affordable housing and permanent employment opportunities.

SCT has also submitted details of a new footpath at Grealin to Lealt, path work in Flodigarry at Loch Langaig and renewed interpretation panels at all the existing sites, including “gateway” structures at the Storr, Quiraing and Flodigarry to heighten the sense of arrival in the Ecomuseum. SCT would also be looking to deliver comprehensive events programme which would be managed by the proposed creation of a project manager’s job.

An economic impact report carried out on the project by respected Highland economist Steve Westbrook has estimated the project could boost the local community’s economy by £165,000. The HLF will assess the funding application and is expected to visit Staffin in mid-summer before a decision is made in September.

More information on the project can be accessed via the Ecomuseum page by clicking here: