Sheep wool used to repair Isle of Skye path

Image credit: John Muir Trust

LOCALLY-sourced sheep wool has been used to repair a popular coastal path in Strathaird on the Isle of Skye.

The Kilmarie path, which leads to the Iron Age fort at Dûn Ringill, had become ‘very muddy’ in sections crossing deep peat.

Image credit: John Muir Trust

John Muir Trust member, John MacRae, repaired most of the section using gravel from a local quarry on top of sheep wool – allowing for the gravel to be held in place. He completed the remainder using gravel on a traditional plastic membrane to allow for a comparison section.

The fleeces were sourced from John and other locals’ flocks to ensure it was in its raw state and unprocessed, which the trust said would ensure the introduction of contaminants was avoided.

Image credit: John Muir Trust

For the repair, he dug a trench to hold the new surface – as would be done for a regular path – but, rather than lining it all with a geotextile matting, he lined 80 metres with wool. It was rolled up or folded to create a ‘floating path’ that was then covered with stones – with the wool hoped to stop the stones sinking into the bog.

John said, “The weather was truly shocking for the majority of the job, which also highlights the fact that wool can be used in very wet conditions.

“I used 300 fleeces in a 80 metre section. For the remainder I used non-woven geo-textile matting as a comparison for the trial.

“Feedback from the community and the crofter who supplied most of the fleeces has been brilliant.  In fact the crofter visited the site several times throughout the repairs and gave it 10 out of 10 when it was completed.”