The new walking route between Shulishader to Flesherin on Point was being tested out earlier this week.
The newest section of path gives access to two sites of local interest – the remains of the Wyre Law, a fishing trawler wrecked in 1952 with no loss of life and to Caisteal Mhic Creacail, the ruins of a neolithic chambered cairn.
Despite the recently rainy weather, the group had a good turnout of walkers who met up at Shulishader and did the route to Flesherin in two-and-a-half hours, taking in an extension to the surfaced route on the common grazings.
Nicola MacSween of the Point and Sandwick Coastal Path Committee (PSCCP) said of the walk, “The weather behaved spectacularly well and we followed the edge of the coast passing so many beautiful, little inlets with amazing rock formations, crystal clear waters, wild flowers: sea pinks, primroses and orchids on the moorland itself and uninterrupted views of Broadbay. Some of the terrain we covered is uneven moorland but it is all well grazed so with sturdy footwear, this new path was a joy to walk. The most inspired path of the Point and Sandwick Trail yet!”
The entire route between Shulishader and Flesherin is surfaced and suitable for all walkers and wheelers, the path taken by the volunteer group followed way markers just off the main path.
Formed as a registered charity in 2016, the volunteers behind the proposed community path have been working towards the vision to create a circular route from the Stornoway Ferry Terminal through Sandwick and around the Peninsula of Point.
The group has delivered significant improvements to sections of existing path at Steinish, Shulishader Steps and the extension of the route at Aignish including erosion works to support the perimeter of the mediaeval Ui Church at the Braighe and the recently opened section of path which links Stornoway to the Iolaire Monument at Holm.
Total funding raised for the community path currently stands at £491,642 and has been secured through successful application to Scottish Government Funds and the support of local organisations such as Mossend Residents Association who raised £42,000 from the Crown Estate Coastal Communities Fund towards the path at Steinish in 2020.
Community wind farm Point and Sandwick Trust have been closely involved in the long-term project via the support of their Community Consultants. Alasdair Nicholson has been key to unlocking many of the funding applications and Tony Robson is project managing the development of the new, improved routes which include installation of recycled plastic benches, self-closing gates and marker posts.
Managed by Inspiring Scotland for the Scottish Government, a grant of £80,920 was approved in October last year and builds on the restoration work carried out at Shulishader Steps, 88 previously dilapidated fishery steps which now give safe access to a cove popular with swimmers.