Group aiming to make cycle path vision a reality in south Skye

Keen cyclists out in force in Breakish last week
Photo: Willie Urquhart/WHFP

“It wouldn’t put me at risk of traffic and it would mean I just go out and cycle.”

Those were the words of nine-year-old Krista Nicolson, who was part of a group showing their support in Breakish last Saturday for the Skye Cycle Way.

Skye Cycle Way is a community-led project steered by volunteers under the umbrella of Broadford and Strath Community Company – supported by a part-time project officer, Andrew Prendergast.

The project’s vision is to establish a safe active travel route for all between the Skye Bridge and Broadford. This includes users of all ages and levels of mobility – cyclists, walkers, runners and wheelchair and mobility vehicle users.

The route has been chosen to promote active travel, link communities, improve local access, and act as a springboard for an island-wide network of safe paths.

The project group has lodged a planning application for the Skye Bridge to Ashaig Airstrip section of the route, following the old A87 road where possible. And they are now starting on a detailed consultation for a link between Ashaig and Broadford.

In March the project group held a community consultation on the three possible routes for this section. It was concluded that the single track ‘committee road’ option running through Breakish would give the best compromise between a quiet, scenic, low-traffic area, and the straightest, most direct route. This was the link most favoured by public consultees.


On Saturday, the Free Press met with supporters of the project outside Breakish Hall to find out what the Skye Cycle Way would mean to them.

Broadford Primary pupil Krista said a cycle path would allow her and other children to do what they loved without any worries.

She said: “For little kids that want to do more cycling it would be safer because just a little slip off the pavement could lead to a road accident if there’s a car coming, so I think the cycle path would be really handy.

“It wouldn’t put me at risk of traffic and it would mean I just go out and cycle.”

Breakish resident Lis Phillips felt the cycle way could help recapture the feeling of safety for cyclists experienced during the lockdown.

She said: “I cycle back and forth to my work at Broadford surgery, and during the lockdown, I noticed people on bikes who I’ve never seen cycling before because there were hardly any cars on the roads. 

“There is obviously an appetite for people to be able to cycle but they don’t feel it is safe, so they don’t do it.”

The project group has been working with engineering consultants and main funder Sustrans, to come up with a design proposal for the route that will meet their requirements.

The plans involve separating cyclists from pedestrians and other users. Cyclists would share the single-track carriageway with motor traffic, and pedestrians would enjoy a new 1.5 metre wide footpath.

Adam Gordon speaks with school children on the benefits of a safe cycle way
Photo: Willie Urquhart/WHFP


Broadford Primary School teacher Shona Nicolson told the Free Press that the safer environment would help pupils thrive.

“There is no way to avoid traffic when you are living here in Broadford, it is so busy – all the traffic that comes through Skye comes through us. So for the children, it was quite daunting to let them out on their bikes through the village.

“However, during the lockdown, they were out on bikes, and more of them were cycling than ever before. You are seeing fitter and healthy children with just that bit more independence and freedom.

“The cycle way is a wonderful thing.”

Kyleakin resident Ian Sikorski, who has a family house in the area, earmarked the best route between Ashaig and Broadford through the community consultation and said: “Hopefully people will see the necessity for it. We have the house at the end of the ‘committee road’ beside the cattle grid.

“My auntie lived there, and at that time there weren’t many houses at all. Now look at the number, and in another 10 years there will probably be twice the number – and you have seen the state of the road, so it badly needs a footpath.

“Highland Council should have put in a footpath really. It is definitely needed. If people with families are going to build houses then it would be great if they are able to walk and cycle along to Broadford or Kyleakin.

“I used to cycle up that main road, regularly. I haven’t cycled it for years now. It is too dangerous.”

‘Future users’ group to be launched to help shape design of cycle way

The Skye Cycle Way project group secured funding from Transport Scotland via Sustrans to develop the detailed design proposals for the whole route, secure access permissions, and planning consents, and work up its strategy for finding the estimated £1.1 million required. Match funding will be needed as this accounts for 25 per cent of the overall project costs.

This builds on earlier feasibility studies, concept designs, and community consultation undertaken during 2019, also funded by Transport Scotland and Sustrans.

The project group told the Free Press that a ‘future users’ group will be launched in the new year to ensure that all sections of the community have the opportunity to help shape the design of the path.

They added: “We want this to be a safe, shared-use path for everybody, an asset for our communities, our environment, and our economy.”

The group said that they have directly contacted all the Breakish residents, landowners, and proprietors they could identify to invite feedback and arrange to meet them if desired, and are inviting anyone who feels they may have been missed out to contact them via

Due to Covid restrictions, the group have been unable to hold any face-to-face public consultations since March but are hoping this changes in the new year.

The proposals for the Ashaig to Broadford section of the route are now available for consultation online via The group are inviting people to give feedback by 20th December if possible.