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Working for the island we love

Mini Bite – from Alistair Danter – 3rd August – 2023

In Alistair's Mini Bite below you'll find information on Alistair Danter's work as Project Manager for SkyeConnect.

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A wee distraction as I sat down to compose this edition of mini bite – an offer of Rugby World cup Pool stage tickets for Scotland vs Romania in Lille, Northern France, on 30th Sept. A few searches on the internet for flights from Edinburgh revealed that 2 of us could make the journey for around £1,100, taking between 8 and 12 hours either way going via Dublin and Bordeaux. Alternatively the sleeper from Inverness to London followed by Eurostar direct to Lille could cost £1,286 if we took seats, £1,400 if we took beds. The sleeper, coupled with the regularity of Eurostar meant we could arrive in London change stations and continue our journey all within a 2 hour window. London to Lille by Eurostar takes 1 hour 22 minutes. Thinking of airports stress verses train stress and carbon footprints the choice seems pretty clear. Are we at last seeing some levelling up with pricing between rail and air travel? Back to the day job and here are some updates:

Environmental Restoration Work

As the work on footpaths and environmental restoration comes to a close at the Old Man of Storr and Fairy pools, it is good to report that drone surveys to map current vegetation cover at the Old Man have now been completed. Surveys will be repeated in 4 – 5 years time. Habitat data is now available for 28 plots across site with reseeding completed in designated areas. During the drone exercise Nature Scot staff received a number of positive comments from visitors on the path, with “thanks” being expressed for the work. There is clear interest and support in the issue of habitat restoration. Fairy pools vegetation restoration experience is currently mixed. Please can we ask all Accommodation operators to tell guests to stick to designated footpaths and to avoid walking on any jute matting or in roped off areas.

Visitor Levy Bill 

Engagement meetings with Richard Lochhead Minister for Small Business, Trade and Innovation and Scottish Governmentt Civil servants responsible for the implementation of the proposed Visitor levy have been set up for this week. We will report back in the next mini-bite.

Ferry Terminal Upgrades

We have had meetings with Transport Scotland in relation to the next proposed “outage” at Uig to enable completion of ferry terminal upgrades. The dates have been confirmed as 30th Oct – 11th Dec and will include removal of infrastructure connected to the existing link span and the insertion of the new link span which is currently under construction. THC resilience meetings will continue on the 14th August, September and October. CalMac will carry out community engagement exercises in Skye and WI before outage.

Cardboard Waste Survey

A request for help from Highland Waste Partnership officer Emma Bee who is carrying our research through Broadford and Strath Community Co into how Skye businesses deal with cardboard waste. Please take a few minutes to answer the following survey and share it with others: Business Cardboard Questionnaire

Footpath Upgrades 

As reported in earlier Mini-Bites, SkyeConnect has been awarded funding for footpath upgrades and environmental restoration at Meall na Suiramach. Footpath counter data now indicate that around 25% of visitors to the Quiraing now walk the full loop. The work will focus on the route coming down the hill from the ridge to the car park. July path counts indicate around 29,000 visitors during the month.

MySkyeTime App

“Download the App”!! Please can we ask all accommodation businesses to encourage guests to download the MySkyeTime App from our website. It will make planning their time here a lot easier!

Seeking Volunteer Directors

Broadford & Strath Community Company’s trading arm, Strath Leisure Ltd, is seeking new volunteer Directors. The Company is particularly interested in hearing from people with skills and experience in tourism, HR, general management, marketing, social enterprise or finance. For more information and how to apply click here. Prospective applicants are welcome to contact the current Directors for an informal chat before applying. The application deadline is 1 October.

Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards

And finally, we are delighted to announce that SkyeConnect is a finalist in the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards (HITA) in the Innovation category. Our submission focussed on the myskyetime app. We will find out if we have won at the Awards dinner in November – fingers crossed!

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