‘Heart of Rousay’ Boardwalk Opening

Stretching out above the cotton grass and heather is a newly opened boardwalk on a quiet hillside on Rousay.

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Stretching out above the cotton grass and heather is a newly opened boardwalk on a quiet hillside on Rousay. At the end of this lovely pathway that is accessible to all, is a beautiful view across to St Magnus Church on Egilsay with the northern isles of Orkney beyond.

Situated on Kingarly Hill, near the community wind turbine, the boardwalk was formerly opened by local MSP Liam MacArthur. He was joined by Trust members, locals and volunteers who had been involved in the project. The boardwalk has been dedicated to the memory of Eleanor Barr, the Trust’s Ranger who passed away in 2022.

The opening ceremony.  L-R Stuart Williams (REWDT Trust Manager), Liam MacArthur MSP, Kayleigh Tipper (REWDT Chair)

This project was conceived through consultation with the community, who wanted to ensure that people of all abilities could access and appreciate this wonderful environment. It aims to open-up part of the Trumland Estate that the Trust brought into community ownership in 2019.  It was Eleanor who initiated and obtained funding for the Boardwalk, helping to secure almost £100,000 through the Scottish Government ‘Healthy Island Fund’.

REWDT Trust Manager, Stuart Williams, said “The Heart of Rousay Boardwalk is a significant new addition to the island of Rousay, and is the result of several years of hard work by the community and Trust staff.  Our gratitude is extended to the construction team who had to work carefully in the fragile habitat of the site and endure the harsh weather conditions that the exposed site experiences.”

The design work was undertaken by Paul Green, landscape architect in Kirkwall, and it was built entirely in durable maintenance free recycled plastic.  Along the boardwalk are two ‘living wall’ planters which have built in seating to allow the extensive views to be enjoyed.  Groundworks were undertaken by Kenny Sinclair and Casey Construction built the main structure.  The project build started in September 2022 after the nesting season and was completed by the end of the year.

Commenting on the opening, Liam MacArthur MSP said, ““I was delighted to be able to open the Boardwalk, which is an impressive addition to the island, both for residents and visitors alike.  The design ensures the boardwalk is highly accessible and will allow people to enjoy amazing panoramic views as well as the chance to get to the heart of the amazing moorland with its wildlife.  It is a fitting testament to Eleanor who had such a strong connection with the natural environment, it’s flora and fauna, and will be a legacy for many years to come”.

Future plans at the site involve interpretation signage explaining the progress of energy production through the ages, wildlife & nature and explaining the islands that can be seen from the Boardwalk.

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