Start location: Lealt, Trotternish, Skye (NG 474 597)
End location: Loch Cuithir, Trotternish, Skye (NG 503 608)
Geographical area: Skye and Lochalsh
Path Type: Industrial Path
Path distance: 3.75km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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We don't have an actual survey of this route, so would be very grateful if we were sent one. However, we are told it is easy enough to follow the track generally west from Lealt to Loch Cuithir.
OS Landranger 23 (North Skye)
Diatomite is a material rich in silica and was useful for home insulation, face powder and fire proofing among other things. Diatomite was first extracted from the Loch Cuithir area in 1886 and was taken out along a 2'6" gauge tramway to Inver Tote. The earliest map we have found which shows the tramway (OS 1", 1885-1900) depicts a slightly different alignment to all the later maps seen, and the track doesn't reach as far as Loch Cuithir. The Diatomite Works themselves are variously shown on maps as being at Loch Cuithir (OS 6" 2nd edition, 1892-1905) or Inver Tote (Bartholomew, 1912). Production is said to have continued until 1913; certainly by the 1920s, OS maps are marking the tramway as dis-used.
Between 1950 and 1961, production recommenced, but the tramway was not reinstated. This time an unmetalled road was made to Loch Cuithir. Our path follows this later road, but from it, the remains of the tramway can still be seen.