Our new boat Curlew!

Return to Skye and a Boat Called Curlew!

At the beginning of September, we ventured back to Skye for our third visit of the year. During our last trip a few volunteers managed to do a non-stop beach clean for 24 hours. We were doing this to help raise money towards the purchase of a landing craft style boat, something that would enable us to access and clean even more areas of the Scottish coastline.

We managed to raise a massive £4000 from our 24 hour beach cleaning fundraiser and alongside winning £5000 in the Benefact ‘Movement for Good’ draw and along with some other very generous donations, we were finally able to purchase a Pioneer Multi.

It seemed rather fitting then, that our third trip to Skye involved our wonderful new (to us!) boat Curlew.

These hard wearing boats are perfect for accessing difficult to reach beaches and have a generous load capacity. Although an older model, this boat came fully kitted out and is the perfect fit for our needs.

Our plan on this trip, was to move the bagged-up rubbish from our previous visit to a skip in nearby Heaste. The delivery of the skip was arranged by local beach cleaning organisation Skye Beach Cleans (who were busy doing their own beach cleaning at Camasunary that weekend) and was supplied by Highland Council.

We were joined by local fisherman Neil (and his boat) and together we headed around the coast to start loading up the bags. Both boats proved to be ideal for rubbish retrieval, and it was amazing what could be loaded into them. It took 3 journeys for each boat, a few hours, and a lot of heavy lifting, but at the end of the day we had moved all the bags off the beach and on to the pontoon at Heaste.

The next day, the team headed down to the bay and this time local resident Dawn joined us. We set up a chain of people, starting with people with wheelbarrows moving the bags to a trailer, the trailer was then towed to the skip, into which the rubbish was expertly packed.

Most of what went in the skip was very mucky rope and net and was unable to be reused, however, we were able to take a boat load of rigid plastics and good rope home with us for recycling.

The total contents of skip came in at 3640kg.

We know that this beach is particularly bad for trapping rubbish and that it has been this way for many years. We also know through our two last visits, there was very little evidence of new rubbish washing in.

This beach will remain an ongoing project for the SCCU team, and we already have plans to return to it next year, to continue clearing the beach of plastic pollution and also to monitor what is still washing up there.

We recently found out that the Gaelic place name for this area means lovely/beautiful headland and we really must agree.

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