/ Skye is full?

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
Martin W on 09 Aug 2017
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-40874488

"Police Scotland has advised visitors not to come for an overnight stay on the island unless they have a reservation."

I know that when we spent a week in Plockton last year and fancied tagging on a couple of nights on Skye at the last minute, I eventually gave up trying to find somewhere to stay. (The first night would have been a Saturday, though, which you might expect to be busiest.)

It seems odd that, if there is the demand that some people in the article seem to allege, no-one is interested in stepping up to meet it.

On the other hand, if the real problem is "infrastructure" - and by that road capacity is meant - then I'm not sure simply widening the roads, and building a bigger car park for the Fairy Pools, to allow the selfie-snappers to get to and from more easily will benefit the island much.

If a lot of the growth in demand is being driven mainly by Skye having featured in a few recent films and music videos (like the "Lord of the Rings" effect in NZ) then there would seem to be a risk of blighting parts of the island with high-capacity infrastructure that ends up under-used in a few years' time.

I'm off to Skye in just over a week's time (with booked accommodation this time) so I'll be interested/concerned to see how much there is to this story.

Anyone else have any views?
baron - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to Martin W:
So they build a bridge to make the island more accessible and then complain when more people visit.
subtle on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to Martin W:


> Anyone else have any views?

My view is not as scenic as Skye.

If people took a tent with them to Skye they would have somewhere to spend the night.

Enjoy your trip, it is a nice place, you may be lucky in that the worst of the midges may have passed and its not yet the monsoon season
Russell Lovett - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to Martin W:

Off to skye a week on monday for a week have no resevations, but im wild camping. Apart from the midges can anyone see any problems with this, im on a solo trip with no fixed agenda so can please myself what i do on Skye and when.
Lusk - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to Martin W:

Go and crash at BnB's, I'm sure he won't mind!?!?
gavmac on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to Martin W:

A 'Tourism tax' would seem like a good idea. Certainly some investment by the local authority in improving amenities would be welcome- this goes for the NC500 route as well. There has been a massive increase in numbers on these roads and the LA needs to match this with toilets, overnight parking for motor homes etc.

People can wish all they want for the roads to be quieter, for motor homes to bugger off etc but it's not going to change so we (as a Highlander) have to look at ways of ensuring that it works for tourists and locals alike.
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to subtle:

> Enjoy your trip, it is a nice place, you may be lucky in that the worst of the midges may have passed and its not yet the monsoon season

Early August? I don't think so. Usually v bad until early to mid-Sept (e.g c 6-12th Sept). They often disappear completely for the year on a single day.

ScraggyGoat on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to Russell Lovett:
Away from tourist selfie spots it's fine. Just don't expect to park easily at such a tourist hotspot, it's x20 busier than 10 years ago. Also don't expect to get anywhere quickly on a single track during the day. Any parking with a view will be occupiedby camper vans in the evening.

Once away from the road it's still Reasonably quiet.

Traffic is accentuated by people trying to do Skye in one or two days moving from photo spot to photo spot.
Post edited at 15:14
Russell Lovett - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to Lusk:

Who,s BnB?
Martin W on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to Russell Lovett:

This guy?

https://www.ukclimbing.com/user/profile.php?id=160927

Profile says he's based in Yorkshire. Seems to know his way round the Cuillin, mind.
atrendall - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to Russell Lovett:

Wild camping will be fine so long as you don't want to be roadside where camper vans and tents will be in many lay-bys, parking spots etc. A bit off the beaten track and you'll have the place to yourself. Today did Pinnacle Ridge and had it to myself and only saw maybe half a dozen people on the initial walk in. Contrast this with a little way up the road by the Slig and it's tourist hell with coaches regularly disgorging hordes of iPad and self stick toting tourists who pose on the old bridge before being whisked off to their next stop. Yesterday out for nearly 8 hours in Red Cuillin and didn't see a soul all day. Midges bad so bring Smidge . Enjoy it and drop in at Sconser.
malky_c - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to Martin W:

Definitely busier than it used to be...and there is actually a tender out for a big new car park at the Fairy Pools. Away from the tourist spots it's as quiet as ever. Spent the last weekend of June at Olisdal bothy and around Macleod's Maidens and saw about 3 other people away from the car.Traffic jam to get through Broadford though.
BnB - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to Lusk:
> Go and crash at BnB's, I'm sure he won't mind!?!?

I'm not there this month so I won't notice until the nosy neighbours tip me the wink

Edit to add.

Skye is being over-run. It's easy to escape the crowds on foot but sometimes I want to park at the Fairy Pools too. And as for the motorhomes. Every layby from Kyle to Staffin is occupied. When they aren't crawling at barely more than parking speed along the A87.
Post edited at 21:18
Andy Nisbet - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to Martin W:

I was in Skye a couple of weeks ago. We tried all sorts of places but all full. So we camped instead, and there was plenty of room in the Sligachan camp-site (where we stayed) and also in the Glen Brittle camp site. Neither take bookings so they can't be full. There could be the midge problem but there was a light breeze and it was enough.
ads.ukclimbing.com
John Stainforth - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to Andy Nisbet:

I wonder what the midge population of Skye is?!
Andy Nisbet - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to John Stainforth:

> I wonder what the midge population of Skye is?!

Who knows! But I haven't found Skye any worse than other west coast places. Maybe better, because there's often a breeze.
Dauphin on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Martin W:

Scottish tourism is very high this year

I) low pound
II) lots of consolidation in the market over previous decade, no building of new facilities - no room at inn.

D
andyjohnson0 - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Andy Nisbet:
> Neither take bookings so they can't be full.

I camped at the Slig for a couple of nights in early June and it was rammed -- many tents only a few feet apart, which was kind of worrying. The overcrowding was mainly due to the central part of the site being closed for re-seeding, but people just kept turning up and pitching (like me).

Is the site fully open again now?
Post edited at 09:50
Mehmet Karatay - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Martin W:

I used to spend a lot of time on Skye around 10 years ago, but it turns out I hadn't been during the main tourist season for quite some time until this year. I spent a few weeks on Skye this summer and was genuinely shocked by what I saw. Every B&B had a 'No Vacancies' sign, the roads were very busy but no one seemed to venture more than 10 minutes from the road. Once you get past the first kilometre or two it was the Skye I know.

I spoke to some people about it and yes, the Fairy Pools and Neist point are big problem areas where the police have to come out to sort traffic out regularly apparently.

I was very saddened by what I saw but was under the impression that all this is happening because Skye is in vogue at the moment. I can easily believe that in 5 to 10 years time it will be forgotten about as some other location goes viral. I think viral is probably a good word to use because I personally believe that hype on social media is responsible for a lot of people's decisions on what they want to do on their holidays... or at least, what they want other people to think they have done.

Mehmet
gavmac on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Mehmet Karatay:

Out of interest, what was it that saddened you?
Martin W on 10 Aug 2017

Thanks everyone for your input so far.

I've been to Skye a number of times, but this will be the first time for the missus (except for the time that we got blown off the Glenbrittle camp site after one night and ran away).

Pity about the Fairy Pools, as I know she would like to visit and swim there. Sounds like the thing to do would be to get there as early in the day as possible - or else walk through from the Slig, which should provide some stunning scenery en route.

What is the specific attraction of Neist Point? I've never been there but it looks similar to Strumble Head in Pembrokeshire form the photos online. A nice breath of air and sea view, but nothing that makes it an obvious must-visit location for coach parties that I can see. It's certainly not on our agenda for this visit at the moment.

I'm surprised that camper vans don't get moved on from laybys. The authorities seem pretty hot on that sort of thing in other hotspots like Glencoe. Blocking turning/passing places on single track roads is something that we used to find in Pembrokeshire in the 1960s but I'd have thought that most people these days would be aware that it's not on, if only because traffic volumes have grown so much in the intervening time. (It's possible that some of the characters who did it in Pembs back in the '60s really did think that no-one would be along for ages. I'm sure, though, that some of them were just idiots. We met one fellow there who refused to reverse back into the passing space immediately behind him because it was muddy and he was afraid that he'd get his whitewall tyres dirty. Didn't take him long to realise that, when my Mum said that she could wait for him to move because she wasn't in a hurry, she meant it.)

Do the coach parties get put off by bad weather, or do the operators have to make sure that their customers get to tick off all the promised sights?

Another piece about the issue in yesterday's Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/aug/09/skye-islanders-call-for-help-with-overcrowding-after...

...tensions erupted earlier this week after a tour bus trying to park disturbed a family funeral at a church in Glen Brittle

Nice.

I wasn't aware of the arrival of "cruise ships" mentioned in the article. I was going to say that 2,200 passengers doesn't sound too bad, but it seems that's more than half the capacity of some of the floating apartment blocks that are ruining Venice so I can see that they could well be problematic.

I also note the reference to the rise in Airbnb lettings. I do hope it's not getting the "buy-to-airbnb" disease that seems to be taking hold in Edinburgh (as an aside, it's noticeable how many foreign-registered cars are parked in the streets round my way, on the southern outskirts of the city, at the moment - it's festival season, of course).

The majority of politicians seem to believe that tourism is good for their local economies, but it looks like more and more actual local people are starting to react against the downsides: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2017/aug/10/anti-tourism-marches-spread-across-europe-venice-barc...

The root of the problem, IMO, is that too many people can't be trusted to behave themselves in a civilised way - especially so when they're on holiday, when some seem to treat the places they visit as just another theme park rather than real places populated by real people who, not unreasonably, want to be able to get on with their normal daily lives.
Post edited at 12:54
planetmarshall on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Martin W:

Funny that when people complain about too many tourists they never seem to include themselves. Rather like sitting in a traffic jam, complaining about the volume of traffic.
Hat Dude on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Martin W:

About 20 years ago, in Mallaig, the evening before we got the ferry to Rum; I had to laugh when I overheard some people from a coach trip saying "Tomorrow we're doing Skye, then in the afternoon Loch Ness".
Geras on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Hat Dude:

To really do sky, you need to sit in your tent for three days, drinking wine from the bottle, cause the weathers so .... theres nothing else to do!

It does make the days when out and about even more sweeter though!
The New NickB - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Martin W:
I've been visiting Skye for more than 20 years, sometimes in the peak season, sometimes out of it. The main tourist hotspots have always felt quite busy. An exception to that is the Fairy Pools, up until about 10 years ago they were very quiet, maybe a few small groups and if you went at say 6pm perhaps no one or just the odd walker / climber returning from the Cuillin. I've got a copy of Daniel Start's original "Wild Swimming" book which was published in 2008. The Fairy Pools are actually listed as a potential skinny dipping spot. You would have to be an extreme exhibitionist to try that these days.

My profile picture is me swimming in the Fairy Pools. It is a couple of years since we where last on Skye and whilst we managed to get a spot in the car park on each occasion we visited the pools, there was a lot of inconsiderate parking on the verges. The Pools were packed with people, although hardly anyone in the water. Almost felt like you were putting a show on for the gathered crowds. It seems it may have got worse. Next time I think I will walk from Sligachan.
Post edited at 13:29
BnB - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Hat Dude:

> About 20 years ago, in Mallaig, the evening before we got the ferry to Rum; I had to laugh when I overheard some people from a coach trip saying "Tomorrow we're doing Skye, then in the afternoon Loch Ness".

I have been over a hundred times and I'm still discovering new delights. Nowhere else in the UK has such a range of wonders. It's the variety as much as the spectacle.
The New NickB - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Hat Dude:

> About 20 years ago, in Mallaig, the evening before we got the ferry to Rum; I had to laugh when I overheard some people from a coach trip saying "Tomorrow we're doing Skye, then in the afternoon Loch Ness".

I had a similar experience at about the same time, I can't remember exactly where we were, but somewhere scenic near to a car park. A coach pulls up and the driver say "5 minutes" one of the Australian tourists uses one of those minutes to explain to us that they are touring the "whole of Scotland" in two days.
Martin W on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

I think that in both articles I linked it's the locals that are complaining about the tourists.

If you're referring to my last post, I was specifically highlighting behaviour as an issue, not volume.
ads.ukclimbing.com
marsbar - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Martin W:

I found picking up a magazine and starting to read does get the message across

> We met one fellow there who refused to reverse back into the passing space immediately behind him because it was muddy and he was afraid that he'd get his whitewall tyres dirty. Didn't take him long to realise that, when my Mum said that she could wait for him to move because she wasn't in a hurry, she meant it.)



skog on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Martin W:

> or else walk through from the Slig, which should provide some stunning scenery en route.

and (whisper it) takes you right by some pools which are every bit as good..!

(though I don't think there's an underwater arch at them)
rogerwebb - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Martin W:

I've worked on Skye for the last 20 years and it has been busier than I have known it, but as has been said before on this thread away from the roads and hot spots it's the same as it was. Having struggled through the crowds in Somerled square found a queue of cars waiting for my parking space and then struggled to find the same at Sligachan I have been pleasantly surprised to get Bruach na Frithe to myself.
Just don't expect to enjoy the driving!
Jim C - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to ScraggyGoat:
Any parking with a view will be occupiedby camper vans in the evening.

I think it was when I was on Coll that I heard that they insisted that Camper vans used designated areas,( and I think you may have needed a reservation before coming, not sure on that point. )

Either way, some controls are needed.

There is a very nice Eco campsite at Armadale, lovely people.
http://skyeforestgarden.com/

I particularly liked the notice in the toilet not to remove the spiders web from the window frame ( no glass) as that was all that was the only thing that protected you from the midge.
( all waste products are recycled)
Post edited at 15:27
BnB - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Jim C:

>
> There is a very nice Eco campsite at Armadale, lovely people.


Just for my UKC peers, please don't spread the word, there is a beautiful little walk laid out through the woods on the headland shared with the campsite, complete with hammocks, tree house, seal and otter hide, sheepskin duck walk etc. 15 mins to hurry around the peninsular but do take a couple of hours and soak up the surprising variety of perspectives. Combined with an ice cream at the pier it's a perfect half day family outing.
andyjohnson0 - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Jim C:
> There is a very nice Eco campsite at Armadale, lovely people.
> http://skyeforestgarden.com/

I remember camping there back in late spring 2002 when the last ferry to the mainland was cancelled due to bad weather. I asked a passing lady if she knew of anywhere I could camp overnight, and she said she had some land. She wouldn't take any money and I don't think it was officially a campsite at that point - just some overgrown land behind a (from memory) slightly hippy-ish gift shop. It was nice and peaceful when I wandered back from the Ardvasar Hotel - until about midnight when other campers in a nearby clearing started dancing round a campfire and drumming until the dawn.

Nice place though, and I'm sure its more glamping and less woad now.
Post edited at 16:32
Martin W on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to BnB:

Thanks for that.

> sheepskin duck walk

As performed by Chuck Berry when he was moonlighting as a second-hand car dealer?
BnB - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Martin W:

> Thanks for that.

> As performed by Chuck Berry when he was moonlighting as a second-hand car dealer?

Ewe know it ;-)
Jim C - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to BnB:

> Just for my UKC peers, please don't spread the word, there is a beautiful little walk laid out through the woods on the headland shared with the campsite, complete with hammocks, tree house, seal and otter hide, sheepskin duck walk etc. 15 mins to hurry around the peninsular but do take a couple of hours and soak up the surprising variety of perspectives. Combined with an ice cream at the pier it's a perfect half day family outing.

I arrived with a fellow tourer on bikes and they were really full, it was pissing down we were drenched having ridden in that all day through Skye , we ended up being given a tasty hot meal, dried off in front of their fire and we were later invited to sleep in front of their fire.
( instead of under their log shelter that we were eying up as our best option)

They did not take any money, I later made a donation, and did so the next year too when I again remembered their kindness.

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.