Touring on Skye

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
philsknees
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby philsknees » 22 Jan 2020, 10:04am

Thanks to andrew_s for the link to the Fairy Pools car park aerial photo. That just sums up how Skye has become "Paradise Lost" for me.
I recall vaguely that a few years ago there were plans to create a proper cycleway out of the remains of the old Broadford-Armadale road but nothing had happened last time I was there and the old road was deteriorating beyond rescue in several places.
On my last through cycle from Uig to Armadale I diverted around the Moll loop between Sconser(near Sligachan) and Broadford which gave a quiet(one car, which stopped for a chat!), single lane and very scenic coastal route avoiding the busy climb over the Moll peninsula at the cost of a few easy extra miles. I understand that this loop was closed due to a landslip in August 2018 and may still be(?) A collapsed culvert and full-width landslip is mentioned but I'd be surprised if it would prevent a bike being wrangled through. Beware the road through the quarry at the Sconser end which kindly inserted several tiny knifeblade-like shards of rock, which developed into a slow, then calamitous p*nct*re in the nearly new Marathon shod rear. Sitting at the tip of the peninsula to replace the tube in driving Scottish rain must rank as my coldest and least enjoyable 20 minutes of Scottish cycling.......

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andrew_s
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby andrew_s » 22 Jan 2020, 10:32am

philsknees wrote:...avoiding the busy climb over the Moll peninsula at the cost of a few easy extra miles. I understand that this loop was closed due to a landslip in August 2018 and may still be(?) A collapsed culvert and full-width landslip is mentioned but I'd be surprised if it would prevent a bike being wrangled through...

Going by the photo here, it looks like it could well still be closed, and that a bike would be difficult (depending what's behind the vegetation on the uphill side.

philsknees
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby philsknees » 22 Jan 2020, 7:33pm

Hmm, that certainly looks a tad bigger than some of the other potholes along that stretch :shock: Just as well I've no plans to ride Skye again.
I fear they may have no intention of reinstating the loop, which is a shame. The older guys who first introduced me to Skye could remember when that was part of the only road between Broadford and Sligachan. Mind you, they told me that much of the road North of Fort William was like that and if you didn't meet a vehicle coming south for about half an hour you'd expect to come across a fallen tree or other blockage of some sort ahead.

phil parker
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby phil parker » 28 Jan 2020, 5:34pm

I first went to Skye in the 90s, both walking, climbing and cycling and have been back numerous times since, the last time being in Apr 19. Many of the locals I spoke to expressed how busy it had become over 20 years. Riding past the Old Man of Storr was at walking pace because of the number of cars trying to park up on the verge and waiting for spaces. I stopped at a Cafe a few miles later and was chatting with the owner, I said I rode the same road 20 years previously and didn’t encounter ‘any cars’ - he also commented on how ‘bad’ it had become. As we rode around the peninsula to UIG, normally a quiet road, we constantly had to stop for cars in passing places in it detracted from what could have been a really nice ride.

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phil parker
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby phil parker » 28 Jan 2020, 5:37pm

The road from Broadford to Elgol was comparatively quiet with views worth the effort on arrival!

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phil parker
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby phil parker » 28 Jan 2020, 5:40pm

There is still a ‘magic’ about the Island that draws me there and i was fortunate in Apr 19 to get good enough weather to ride everyday, which I wouldn’t swap for the world!

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philsknees
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby philsknees » 28 Jan 2020, 5:59pm

Yep, I get no satisfaction for my (unpopular with the locals at the time) predictions about the effects of the bridge being confirmed, only a deep sadness about the despoilment of a wonderful place. I suppose that at the time the resident population felt they had found a way out of a perceived rough deal but I'm sure the remaining folk from that time now rue their almost universal acceptance of the bridge. Too late now to recover a wonderful lost environment and lifestyle. I just hope that other unspoiled areas along the west coast and its islands take heed........

phil parker
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby phil parker » 28 Jan 2020, 6:18pm

andrew_s wrote:
philsknees wrote:...avoiding the busy climb over the Moll peninsula at the cost of a few easy extra miles. I understand that this loop was closed due to a landslip in August 2018 and may still be(?) A collapsed culvert and full-width landslip is mentioned but I'd be surprised if it would prevent a bike being wrangled through...

Going by the photo here, it looks like it could well still be closed, and that a bike would be difficult (depending what's behind the vegetation on the uphill side.


The road is barricaded at both ends With ‘road closed signs’ and the missing bit of road has tiger tape and cones around it. Although I managed to cycle round and carry my bike around the ‘obstacle’ and continue to the end, I wouldn’t do it again because the road surface and potholes have deteriorated considerably. I was tempted by a jogger (a local) who said it was passable, but the road surface was too poor for a road bike.

brynpoeth
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby brynpoeth » 28 Jan 2020, 7:53pm

Is it worth visiting Skye in the low season? In November the weather can be quite agreeable, is there much less motor traffic?

Do many Skye people regret the 'improved' access? I bet many make a good living from the many visitors, minusplus?
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Thehairs1970
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby Thehairs1970 » 29 Jan 2020, 7:35am

I am not doubting that the bridge has increased traffic and tourists. However, it's a bit rich of those of us who don't live there to be as disparaging.

For the islanders, particularly those who have lived there all their lives, the bridge has meant easier access to the mainland, and mainland jobs, without so much of a worry about weather. Increased tourism means an increase in tourism related employment which means people don't need to leave to find a job.

Yes it might have ruined a bit of quiet paradise but Skye, and places like it, are living communities not museum exhibits for us to exclaim over.

Plus those people who have visited, including me are all part of the problem. If you want to keep it quiet, don't go and don't tell anyone about it!

brynpoeth
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby brynpoeth » 29 Jan 2020, 8:58am

Right again, waiting for the ferry must have been trying
One wonders what effect the abolition of tolls had
Plenty of peace still available on Skye if one WALKS 200 metres from a car park :wink:
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philsknees
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby philsknees » 29 Jan 2020, 10:36am

brynpoeth wrote:Right again, waiting for the ferry must have been trying

Yes, particularly in the days when the ferry didn't run on Sundays and we had to catch the last one on Saturday or face a long Sunday in Kyle of Localsh. However, those ferry queues did serve to restrict the numbers visiting the island whereas nowadays you simply drive over the bridge to occasionally face signs telling you that if you haven't pre-booked your overnight accommodation everywhere's full and you might consider going elsewhere. Not exactly what you want when on two wheels!

brynpoeth wrote:Plenty of peace still available on Skye if one WALKS 200 metres from a car park

Can't argue with that point either. I've always been able to find quiet spots offroad on Skye but the "honeypots", commercialisation and the improved(?) roads have spoiled the special atmosphere of the place for me.

Thehairs1970 wrote: However, it's a bit rich of those of us who don't live there to be as disparaging.
For the islanders, particularly those who have lived there all their lives, the bridge has meant easier access to the mainland,

Undoubtedly true but some of my observations were put to me by residents and rather than being disparaging I felt it important to let other posters who haven't experienced it know that there's a very marked difference between Skye and the other islands o thef Inner & Outer Hebrides.
What galls me personally is that islanders who years ago were scathing towards my warnings of the potential downside of the bridge are the very ones now complaining to me about the increased and traffic, crowds of tourists and hectic lifestyle it has caused.....and the benefits to residents identified by Thehairs1970 are scarcely mentioned.
I suppose that, like me, those locals, now in their senior years are perhaps among the last to remember the old lifestyle which, despite its drawbacks seemed idyllic to me at the time.

mattheus
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby mattheus » 29 Jan 2020, 10:43am

Thehairs1970 wrote:I am not doubting that the bridge has increased traffic and tourists. However, it's a bit rich of those of us who don't live there to be as disparaging.

For the islanders, particularly those who have lived there all their lives, the bridge has meant easier access to the mainland, and mainland jobs, without so much of a worry about weather. Increased tourism means an increase in tourism related employment which means people don't need to leave to find a job.

Yes it might have ruined a bit of quiet paradise but Skye, and places like it, are living communities not museum exhibits for us to exclaim over.

Plus those people who have visited, including me are all part of the problem. If you want to keep it quiet, don't go and don't tell anyone about it!

All sounds sensible.

But I can't help thinking that the islands could absorb several thousand people quite comfortably ... if they didn't bring any extra cars with them.
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ambodach
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby ambodach » 29 Jan 2020, 11:47am

It is true that those who campaigned for the bridge did this with the intention of improving access to the mainland but did not really realise that this would be two way traffic to the extent it has now become.
So far as the tourist business is concerned I do not have statistics but I wonder how many in this business are from Skye. I have spoken to tourists who remarked that it was very rare to hear a Scottish accent.

brynpoeth
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby brynpoeth » 29 Jan 2020, 11:52am

Presumably the bridge has caused greatly increased traffic from Glasgow, Inverness and Edinburgh, weekend trips that should not have been made before, booming vehicle hire at the airports
Skye seemed so far away before, how is the population developing, is it increasing?
Its the economy, stupid :?
Perhaps the railway could be extended onto the island :wink:
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