Just what will the £500,000 plus Heritage Lottery Fund award mean to Staffin and the Trotternish generally?
According to the Staffin Community Trust, who have received the funding, it will enable the construction of a viewing platform at Lealt Gorge, new footpaths and interpretation, a central Staffin “orientation point”, a full events programme and the creation of a project manager’s job on a three-year contract.
An economic impact study estimated that the Staffin economy would be boosted by an additional visitor spend of £165,000 through the project’s next phase. This is particularly welcomed in Staffin which has suffered a recent 5 per cent population decline and lacks permanent employment opportunities.
Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “The National Lottery is ensuring that Skye’s spectacular landscape remains one of our greatest national assets, attracting visitors from home and abroad and making a vital contribution to Scotland’s tourist economy. However it’s not just visitors that benefit. With a bit of clever thinking, we can protect our natural heritage in a way that helps support people and communities. This innovative project will give everyone the opportunity to experience the health, learning and social benefits of the great outdoors. I am sure they will also ignite a passion for our natural world and its long-term conservation.”
SCT chairman Donald MacDonald said: “The board of Staffin Trust is delighted to have received this award on behalf of our community. This will allow for further development of what is already a very successful project and allow us to create an identify for our region that is specific to us. As a committee we aspire to our theme of ‘climb the Cuillin, walk Trotternish’ and for the whole of Skye this is a significant investment in our tourism and educational infrastructure. The fact that this funding will also create a new three-year post is also important in a remote fragile area and will help to give people confidence, pride and a sense of place.”
The HLF grant will help fund the following:
Major capital works including a viewing platform at Lealt Gorge, new and upgraded footpaths at Loch Langaig, Flodigarry and Grealin-Lealt
Significant and attractive interpretation “welcome” structures at the Storr, Quiraing and Flodigarry (the gateways into the Ecomuseum and Staffin)
An Ecomuseum orientation point in central Staffin proving information about the different walking routes, maps etc
Removal and replacement of all the existing interpretation panels at the 14 Ceumannan sites
Fresh branding and marketing strategy for the Skye Ecomuseum
A new user-responsive and mobile-friendly website
A packed events/activities programmes which includes a walking festival, guided walks and tours, an education curriculum pack for Skye primary schools, children’s craft and storytelling events, health walks, archaeology/wildlife events/workshops in partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands, a Staffin Business Forum, a Staffin Local History Group, new leaflets
Full-time Ecomuseum project manager’s job in Staffin on a three-year contract