A north Skye resident has attacked the Highland Council over the “deplorable” road conditions at one of the island’s most visited attractions.
John Bertie MacKenzie, who lives in Stenscholl raised the matter with the council last August following a journey from his home to Belford Hospital in Fort William. Now, five months on, the octogenarian still contends that the roads are not fit for purpose — describing the Staffin side of the Quiraing as “a proper shambles”.
In his original correspondence to the Highland Council, he referred to ‘highway triple madness’. Mr MacKenzie was critical of the design and execution of the car park work undertaken at the Storr and the Quiraing and the road surfacing at Stenscholl which he said was dressed without treating the potholes.
In response, Tracey Urry head of roads and transport for the Highland Council wrote that the work at the Storr had made a “visible difference to the disruption caused by tourists visiting the area” and added that the car park development at the Quiraing would “stop cars parking in precarious positions and make the roads far more pleasant for tourists and locals alike”.
She said that the surface dressing at Stenscholl would prevent water ingress in order to extend the lifespan and that the roads around the township would be monitored and added to the next capital works programme.
However, in a broadside against the local authority and its “unwilling councillors”, Mr MacKenzie states in an open letter seen by the Free Press: “The Quiraing road has undergone a welcome improvement on the Uig side but the section from Staffin over the bealach is deplorable. As recently reported in the media there are numerous lethal potholes and a section of the road is suffering from dangerous subsidence.
“This road is heavily used by tourists and locals throughout the year. Reports of damage to tyres and suspension are numerous, and as I write I have received a report of a double puncture as a tourist’s holiday is ruined by an unwanted encounter with a fearsome Quiraing crater.”
He added: “There are other sections of road that remain unfit for purpose — for example, the continuing subsidence of the A855 road at Flodigarry and the huge potholes on the Maligar road.
“The tourism industry has become core to the economy of the Highlands and to succeed it needs support from a solid infrastructure. What we need in Staffin is people, plant and materials to fix the problems. An army of folk from the council offices and unwilling councillors will not fix anything.”
By Adam Gordon