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Stac Pollaidh car park set for revamp under plans lodged with Highland Council by Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland as popularity of peak takes its toll

By Ian Duncan

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Brian Alexander took this stunning shot towards Stac Pollaidh.
Brian Alexander took this stunning shot towards Stac Pollaidh.

A WESTER Ross car park next to one of the Highlands’ most iconic peaks could get improved facilities.

An application has been submitted to Highland Council by Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland to increase the Stac Pollaidh car park from 10 to 84 spaces.

The application also seeks permission to create new toilet facilities with an airsource heat pump and associated sewage treatment system and soakaway.

The application states: “The existing car park is regularly overwhelmed with visitors parking on the roadside verge and blocking the public road.

“The proposed addition of approximately 75 spaces and toilet facilities will be of considerable benefit to the community and local roads authority.”

“The rapid rise in visitor numbers to the area over the last few years has had significant impacts on the everyday lives of local residents. This impact is not always compensated for by the benefits that tourism brings.

“The road infrastructure and visitor facilities at Stac Pollaidh have been stretched to breaking point, severely disrupting access to homes and businesses in the area, causing damage to roads and paths, and resulting in a poor visitor experience which reflects badly on Coigach and Assynt in general.

“The rapid growth in popularity of the Stac Pollaidh means that the number of visitors and vehicles visiting the site has overwhelmed the existing parking provision on an almost daily basis throughout the high tourist season.

“This has led to visitors parking both on the verges nearby and in any available passing places. Due to a lack of public toilet facilities at the site, there has been a rise in the number of people using the surrounding land as a toilet.”

Mark Crowe, the council’s outdoor access officer, welcomed the application but added: “One comment that we would make from previous experience, is to manage pedestrian flow from the car park to the start of the formed path up to the deer gate. If this isn’t managed there is the potential for verge erosion, desire line paths being formed and road safety issues with pedestrians walking in the road from the car park entrance and exit.”

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