An ambitious scheme to transform one of Skye’s already popular natural features into a major tourist attraction has been put forward.
The Staffin Community Trust are seeking planning permission for an initiative which, if it is successful, would almost certainly bring a big boost to the local economy.
As part of the second phase of the Skye Ecomuseum they want to install a galvanized viewing platform. This would dramatically extend some three metres over the Lealt Gorge giving breath taking views not only of the waterfall but also the Trotternish Ridge and across to Wester Ross.
At the same time the Trust want to improve parking at the falls by providing provision for up to 40 vehicles from the present total of 20. Also linking in with the aerial attraction, a new footpath would be created extending hundreds of metres from Grealin through to Lealt’s single track unclassified road. Part of it would follow the line of the old railway which use to exist there and backers of the scheme believe that the initiative would also attract increased use by locals as well as visitors
Now the community organisation has lodged a major funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to help cover the cost of the new attraction which, according to a leading economist, would bring tens of thousands of pounds into the Staffin community. A decision is expected in September.
According to the Trust, Lealt is an important historical location for the platform as it is close to the salmon fishing stations and the diatomite industry.
If successful the Lealt scheme would be similar to the hugely popular viewing platform over the Corrieshalloch Gorge, near Ullapool, which was installed by the National Trust for Scotland in 2012 and is made entirely of galvanised steel.
The Ecomuseum initiative, which was first launched a decade ago, is seen as a hugely important project in terms of creating employment and helping boost the local economy, with an emphasis on extending the summer visitor season and highlighting local attractions.