By Adam Gordon
“Absolutely terrified.” That’s how Mary Brandrick described her and her husband’s experience after their car hit a pothole and veered into a ditch while on holiday on Skye a few weeks ago.
Mary and Michael were on their way to visit friends in Fiscavaig on Friday, January 26th when their car hit a pothole on the A863 – Sligachan to Dunvegan road.
“On the day we had the accident, we had just arrived on the island and hadn’t actually got to Fiscavaig yet,” said Mary. “We had already been warned about the roads and were fully aware that the conditions were bad.
“We were about half a mile from James MacQueen’s when it happened,” Mary explained. “I hit the pothole, got thrown off the side of the tarmac and ended up down the ditch.
“I was absolutely terrified because when I hit the edge of the tarmac it basically ruined my steering and I had no control over the car and just had to go where it went.”
Thankfully, Mary and Michael were both able to walk away from the accident uninjured and were quickly assisted by people passing by. “We managed to walk away from the vehicle,” said Mary.
“I can’t fault the locals, the majority of people stopped to help. There was one gentleman, who was renovating his house just down from MacQueens, he went and got us a cup of tea – I didn’t get his name but I would like to thank him for his time, and all the others who helped.”
Following the accident, Mary and Michael’s car was recovered by Morrisons Garage in Portree before being transported to Inverness a few days later. “On Wednesday, Arnold Clark came over from Inverness with the transporter for my vehicle and because we have dogs we had to rent a car to drive back home to Stafford which costs us £270 plus a full tank of petrol.
“Our car is still in Inverness at Arnold Clark, and at the moment we are looking at a bill of around £4,000”.
Having been a regular visitor to Skye over the past ten years, Mary said that the current conditions of the roads on the island were undoubtedly the worst she had ever seen. “You’d expect some of the side roads like the ones at Coral Beach or Neist Point to be poorly maintained – but it’s disgusting that the main thoroughfares through the island are not being maintained to the high standards necessary. Over the last 10 years, I have come up to Skye three times a year on average and I have never seen the roads like this – they are the worst I have ever seen.”
Since the accident, Mary said she has sought compensation from the Highland Council and added that the situation could be much worse for other road users. “I have contacted the Highland Council to put forward a claim to see if they’ll do anything about it. I have been driving for thirty years and I have never had any accidents – there is an issue because someone will get killed on Skye, or seriously injured.
“Having to drive after that accident, was one of the worst experiences of my life.”