So as Scotland is starting to open up to visitors with further restrictions being lifted throughout July, I’ve been looking back over the last few months to see what effects next to no tourism has had on Skye’s environment and its wildlife.
Firstly, the most noticeable difference was a huge drop in the number of vehicles on the islands roads. This has for me so far, led to less deer collisions call outs and far less wildlife strewn across the roadside verges.
Its amazing, people are describing the varied wildlife they are spotting on the quieter roads, using them as there own “wildlife highways”. Stoats, weasels, mink, otter and pine marten seem to be the most popular users.
Something you take for granted is traffic noise pollution too, with it gone you can hear the island, the birds, the shore the trees in the wind.
Less footfall has meant less disturbance to wildlife too. Within weeks of lockdown it was like the environment on the island breathed a massive sigh of relief. Most noticeable was the relaxed attitude of both mammals and bird life. Its been a few years since I had seen otters in my garden, but they are back, youngster’s playing on the lawn.
Some of north Skye’s hot spots have had time to recover. Footfall erosion is slowly healing, grasses and meadow flowers all being taken advantage of by insect life.
But one thing that stood out to me was the Ringed Plovers nest I found on a car park of one of Skyes hot spots. Land management (in its many forms) on Skye has been a real issue with the ever increasing tourists numbers and the businesses they pop up from them. We can learn so much from this situation we have had to live through over the last few months to ensure the environment of this island and those that management it are aloud flourish..
“Let’s look at quality over quantity”
Pictures courtesy of Stewart Dawber.