Uig beach clean: Volunteers remove two years’ worth of waste

Ross Watson from Woodland Trust Scotland is pictured with a discarded car wheel, as some of the volunteers from the Uig community look on during their beach clean last Saturday
PHOTO: Willie Urquhart/WHFP

Forty volunteers rolled up their sleeves to take part in a six-hour beach clean on Skye on Saturday.

Community members came out in force across the course of the day with their efforts culminating in a skip-load of rubbish being cleared from Uig beach.

Young and old beach buddies worked hard to remove two years’ worth of waste which had accumulated since the last event in 2019.

PHOTO: Willie Urquhart/WHFP

Speaking to the Free Press shortly after the beach clean, Ross Watson, the north Scotland site manager for Woodland Trust Scotland said: “It was gloriously warm and we must have had around 40 people take part in the clean over the course of today.

“It was also a great occasion for people to catch up, so there was probably as much chatting as there was litter picking.

PHOTOS: Willie Urquhart/WHFP

“We filled the whole skip and had to work really hard to fit everything in. There was a huge amount of rope and all sorts of litter.

“Beyond that there was general litter such as Coke bottles, beer cans, and a few face masks. The only odd thing we found was a massive oxygen tank.”

Highlighting the volume of rubbish encountered during the clean, he added: “Nearly everyone who came along was from the community and they had seen this litter building up over the last two years.

“The beach clean is an annual event we tend to do in April but we had to cancel last year’s so this year is basically two years’ worth including two winter storms’ worth.”

When asked how much of the responsibility for the mess he believed lay with local people, he went on to say: “Some of the litter will certainly be from local industry but so much of it will be dropped from people on the island – whether locally or swept in.

“The problem is not just local to here, it’s a UK-wide issue.”

Addressing the challenges facing the village more broadly, Mr Watson said: “On Friday one of our contractors pulled up two trailers of fly-tipped metal down the side of one of the bridges away from the beach.

“That has been years’ worth of local people dumping bikes, climbing frames and all sorts of bits and pieces.

Both the Woodland Trust and the Uig Community Trust were speaking today about how we can make a bigger impact through this event, and how we can cover the whole of the community.

“There is real potential for the event to be an Uig clean as a whole and not just a beach clean.

“A lot of people were saying that it was the first event that they had been to in well over a year, while some of the older people hadn’t seen anyone for months.

“It was a real feel-good event from that side of things.

“There was a mixture of working-age parents through to retired folks.

“It was great to see the kids there and have a chat with their parents. The children were appalled at the amount of litter on the beach, and we were talking about what they can do to help. Getting the message across to them about these matters at an early stage is ideal.”

PHOTO: Willie Urquhart/WHFP