News that Skye could seek dual World Heritage Site status has received a broadly positive response in an online poll conducted by The Great Outdoors
Skye is one of the most famous and beautiful Scottish islands, packed with treasures both natural and cultural. Hillwalkers and climbers love it for the Red & Black Cuillin, Trotternish Ridge, Skye Trail, and world-class sea cliffs. But tourism’s impact on Skye hasn’t been all good, and local facilities are struggling to cope with the burden.
The island has suffered from a lack of investment in key tourist infrastructure, especially parking, toilet facilities and public transport. The parking situation is especially bad in places only accessible via narrow single-track roads.
At the same time, it’s widely believed that some visiting tourists might not be contributing much to the island’s economy. Freelance photographer Gary Richardson, a regular visitor to the island, told us:
“Tourism might be booming but I would be interested to find out exactly how much money the tourists are spending on the island? A large proportion of visitors, especially during the summer months, are using motorhomes – the roads are chocker with them, and not just Skye. Do they spend money in the local shops or have they stocked up before arriving? Loads of questions that need answering and that’s only a part of the tourism trade. From my visits over the last couple of summers there are too many people all trying to go to the same attractions.”
Yesterday, we reported that the Highland Council has published a report recommending that Skye could seek dual UNESCO World Heritage Site status as a long-term solution to attracting more funding for essential improvements.
When it was announced that the Lake District had been successful in achieving World Heritage Site status, the reception was mixed. Critics pointed out that the sheep-farming tradition praised by UNESCO is largely responsible for keeping the Lake District a largely treeless, ecologically degraded environment.
In an attempt to gauge opinion amongst our readers, we ran a poll on Twitter.
— The Great Outdoors (@TGOMagazine) October 26, 2017
First of all, it’s important to point out that 98 responses can’t be considered scientific or representative. However, it is interesting that a majority of 64% are in favour of the possibility. A significant minority of 27% responded with ‘it’s complicated’, reflecting the fact that these decisions are rarely black and white; in reality, if Skye were to be recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there would be both benefits and drawbacks for different groups of people (not to mention the environment). It’s a complex situation.
What do you think? If you have any views you’d like to share with us on this subject, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Header image © Alex Roddie