In a country blessed with stunning landscapes and world-class scenery, they are among the most popular natural attractions Scotland has to offer.  

But as the Fairy Pools of Skye have become another must-see location on tourists’ Scottish travel plans, there have been increasing fears their fragile ecological beauty will be overwhelmed. 

Now steps have been taken to safeguard the pools against the legions of tourists paying them a visit, with facilities receiving a much-needed makeover which will allow up to 180,000 people make the trip each year without damaging ecosystem. 

Scotland’s environmental charity the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (OATS) and the Skye Iconic Sites Project have worked together to with create a new car park, improve paths and restore the site’s most prominent viewpoints. 

READ MORE: Tourism projects off the beaten track get £22m boost

Two new steel and timber clad bridges were airlifted in and placed across the burns which feed and flow from the pools, and the site has undergone major habitat restoration to repair the damaged footpaths. 

The Fairy Pools are one of three sites on the island benefiting from habitat restoration through SISP with work also being carried out at popular locations the Quiraing and Old Man of Storr. 

The Herald:

The Pools have become inundated in recent years 

Dougie Baird, CEO of Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland, said: “As the Fairy Pools continue to make people’s bucket lists, we are seeing visitor numbers doubling with thousands of visitors year on year.  

“We all know that what makes it so popular is the exquisite surroundings of Skye and in order to keep that we must cherish and maintain the island’s natural habitat as much as possible.  

“Through the project, we have been able to install safer, more viable options for those visiting the pools, we urge walkers to stick to these paths to help the area thrive once again and allow future generations to enjoy the magic the Fairy Pools has to offer.” 

SISP, planned and managed by OATS, is part of an almost £9 million Scottish programme of projects to invest in the Highlands and Islands to provide more and better-quality opportunities for visitors to enjoy natural and cultural assets.  

The Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund is led by NatureScot and is part funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).  

The Herald:

Support has also been received from Minginish Community Hall Association and Paths for All and Postcode Local Trust.  

READ MORE: Works starts on two new Fairy Pool bridges

 Dawn Campbell Project Officer for Minginish Community Hall Association said: “Minginish Community Hall Association are delighted to have been involved in this important project which has improved the Fairy Pools experience for all visitors and also, crucially, protected this special environment for many years to come.” 

Kirsten Makins, NatureScot’s Natural & Cultural Heritage Fund Project Manager added: “The completion of works to improve access, interpretation and infrastructure at Skye’s Fairy Pools is warmly welcomed.  

“These improvements, which include impressive habitat restoration works, will ensure that another of Skye’s iconic sites will be able to offer a quality and sustainable visitor experience.”