Dinosaur lovers can breathe a sign of relief after confirmation that no lasting damage has been caused to Staffin beach’s famous footprints.
There was a major outcry over the New Year after police begin investigating alleged damage to the 165 million year old dinosaur prints.
However, following a thorough investigation Police Scotland have confirmed that they have managed to trace the person who was said to be responsible and the matter is to be taken no further.
A spokesperson said: “Initially we receive several calls from concerned members of the public that permanent damage might have been caused to the prints, possibly with cement being poured into them.
“However, that has proved not to be the case and after full investigation we can say that there was no criminality in this matter and no lasting damage caused to the prints. Reports of damage were made to Police Scotland and we had a duty to follow this up."
In fact according to Dugald Ross who runs the Staffin Dinosaur Museum having checked out the footprints he has not been able to see any real damage and said: “"Someone was seen taking a plaster cast of one of them. He was quite open in his intentions and this wasn’t done with malicious intent
“He obviously did it in broad daylight and somebody reported him to the police and used the word damaged. It really blew the whole thing out of proportion.
“I came home in the evening and was inundated with media phoning for details but I wasn’t aware of anything. The next day I went to look at the prints, no damage whatsoever and no evidence of a cast being taken so it was done in a very professional manner, perhaps putting clingfilm down and then pouring the cast.
“I met people who said they spoke to him and he seemed a nice man and explained what he was doing. The good thing is no damage and it certainly brought lots of publicity!"
The prints on Staffin beach are believed to have been left by a family of dinosaurs that walked across the sand here some 165 million years ago. To put that in context, the gabbro rocks of the Cuillin were formed about 60 million years ago, and they were carved by the glaciers of the last ice age on Skye just 11,000 years ago. These are very, very old footprints. To be able to see and touch them in-situ is an amazing experience.
The dinosaurs that passed here were Ornithopods, herbivorous creatures who walked on two legs. They, along with the carnivorous Megalosaurus and the omnivorous Cetiosaurus and Stegosaurus, contribute to Skye's reputation as the 'dinosaur isle'.
There is a fair cluster of footprints on a bed of sandstone on the beach. The prints are covered by the sea at high tide, and are often covered by sand in the summer.