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 B869 Road Closures
Added: 18 Feb 2017
B869 Road Closures

**UPDATE FROM ASSYNT COMMUNITY COUNCIL - 24 Feb 2017**

1. They will finish working on the Achmelvich Road next week. Work will continue in Achmelvich but off road. They will return later to resurface it.
2. Next week starting 27th there will be no evening or weekend working. They may do it after that depending on progress.


From February 20 until 31 March a “passive” road closure will be in place on the B869 between Lochinver and Achmelvich.

The road traffic management, which has been arranged in liaison with The Highland Council, will be as follows:

Monday to Friday

09:00-11:00
11:15-13:15
14:00-16:00

Monday to Thursday

18:00-20:00

Sunday

09:30-11:30
12:00-14:00
14:30-16:30

Download the image below to print!
Attachments: Download File
 
 2015 was a mixed year for wildlife in Assynt
Added: 13 Jan 2016
Wildlife Summary of 2015 in Assynt.

By Andy Summers (Highland Council Senior Ranger) using personal observations and records from the Assynt Field Club website

This year was noticeable for a very wet summer, dry and sunny autumn and ending with an exceptionally mild but windy winter. Much of the unusual weather this year can be attributed to the El Nino effect on the global weather pattern.

In Assynt the year started with a massive storm with westerly winds on 8th January (A storm that in Stornoway equalled the highest wind ever recorded there -117mph) followed by several others. January and February saw a number of Iceland and Glaucous gulls around the coast. Up to 32 Barnacle geese spent time at Culkein Stoer and a painted lady butterfly was seen in Lochinver presumably woken from its hibernation.

The first honey bees were seen flying 13th March which was the start of a warm and sunny week. The solar eclipse was a rare phenomenon that we were able to watch in Assynt on 20th March. Lapwings returned to their breeding grounds at Clachtoll and Clashmore, the first black-throated diver was seen on loch Drumbeg and the first wheatear returned on 26th.

The first frog spawn, as usual, were recorded at Culkein Drumbeg 19th February. The same day, large numbers of toads were seen crossing the road at Loch an Ordain. Another wet night on 19th March had the toads out again in force. 30-40 toads were found skinned by a feeding otter at Badnaban 26th March. Several early adult slow worms were seen under the corrugated tin at the car park at the back of the Lochinver TIC on 23rd March. Later in the year adders were seen at Loch Beannach 8th June and Little Assynt 22nd July.

April saw three weeks of great weather ending with sudden cold north wind and lambing snow on 26th. The 9th April saw the first white tailed bumblebee and the 17th the first common carder. A small tortoiseshell butterfly was seen on 10th April (an increasingly scarce sight nowadays). By the 10th June, green-veined whites were everywhere. An osprey was seen at Culkein bay 3rd April and a wave of Icelandic/Faroese redwings descended on Assynt on 7th April on their way north. Over 100 kittiwakes and 85 plus fulmars were seen off the rocks at Stoer lighthouse 5th April. The first migrants included willow warbler 12th, whimbrel 15th, cuckoo 17th and mallard ducklings were seen at Clachtoll 30th April.

The harbour seals started to gather as usual in the Culkein Drumbeg/Oldany area. 26 were counted 16th March and 42 on 17th April reaching 62+ on 25th May prior to pupping. While in Loch Roe 14 adults were seen 20th April.

However the end of April was the end of the dry, sunny weather. May, June and July were incredibly wet and cold. A weather station at Clachtoll recorded July temperatures to be significantly lower than average and the dominant wind was from the NE and not the typical SW. The same station also recorded 43.7mm of rain in 24 hours on the 7th July.

May started with a hoopoe at Raffin on the 5th, a female black grouse at Stoer 9th and reports of a corncrake at Clachtoll on the 10th. The corncrake did not stay around unfortunately. A huge flock of waders were recorded at Culkein bay on 17th May including 260 dunlin.

This cold wet summer meant that for many birds it was a disastrous breeding season. Very few greenshanks territories seemed to be occupied. Black and red-throated divers failed in many of the traditional lochs in Assynt because of the high water tables. Ardvreck castle on Loch Assynt for example was an island for most of May. But even common garden birds like great tits had a poor breeding season presumable because of the lack of caterpillars. However on the positive side there were reports of juvenile great spotted woodpeckers in Culag woods, singing redwings at Elphin and young ring ouzels at the Bone caves. The breeding waders at Clachtoll did well with at least three large lapwing chicks and the resident breeding pair of snipe and redshank had young also. Greylag goslings were seen in many places. But there are only a small number of active grey heron nests left in the Culag woods. There were also fewer records of butterflies, bumblebees and dragonflies. The wet and cold weather meant butterflies such as common blues and small heaths and even meadow browns were less often seen. A single orange tip was recorded at Torbreck on the 29th May. A few gold-ringed and common hawker dragonflies were seen at Cnocaneach 30th June. While Scot’s argus butterflies continue their expansion of Assynt starting with records at Duart 26th July.

Flowers in general seemed later than in recent years. Although early woodland flowers such as bluebells and primroses were spectacular. The few clumps of cowslips at Achmelvich did well due to their protection from grazing. The oyster plant at Clachtoll was not as prolific in flowering as last year but nevertheless survives.

Mole hills were seen along the road to Ardvar for the first time ever but moles continue to be exterminated in other places in Assynt. Yet again no records of hedgehogs have been reported and we may conclude they have gone extinct here. Rabbits on the other hand started to show themselves again at Clachtoll and Stoer after several years at very low numbers. Resident people at Raffin however report that their rabbits never experienced the decline felt elsewhere. While in Nedd there was the first record of a rabbit in ten years. It feels as if there have been fewer reports of badgers this year compared to previous. Early October saw them back on the machair at Achmelvich digging up the solitary bees’ nests. A dead badger (presumably road casualty) was picked up near Cathair Dubh on the 1st April. A pine marten was recorded using the artificial den box in Culag woods December and may have been there all summer.

Single and pairs of Otters were seen all year at loch Nedd, Loch Roe, Lochinver bay, Culkein Stoer, Badnaban, Clachtoll, Stoer (where Clachtoll broch is being used as a holt) and lots of sightings around Clashnessie but interestingly only one record of young otters were reported this year (mother and two cubs at Kylesku 15th December). Spraints have been seen along the Altanabradhan path, were none have been seen for a few years. A record was sent in to the Ranger Service by a visitor of a mink on the Traligill on the 24th June but trapping failed to catch anything. While there were unconfirmed records of wildcat scats on the Bone caves path during the summer but camera trapping during August by the Ranger failed to record anything other than fox and badgers.

A common pipistrelle maternity bat roost was counted at Achmelvich (max 123 bats 23rd June) as well as Recharn this year (max 91 bats on 9th July). Unfortunately two dead young males were discovered outside the former house in the middle of August. The first red deer calf was spotted 14th June at Torbreck and during the rut the deer seem to be coming ever closer to crofts in Clachtoll and other townships throughout North Assynt estate.

Raptors had a mediocre year. This was the year of the national golden eagle count and generally in the Highlands the west did worse than the east. We had a least two fledged young but equally we know of two who apparently failed at early egg stage due the weather. But the highlight was the first definite record of (not one but two) breeding pairs of sea eagle for Sutherland. Although the nests were not in Assynt the birds were frequently seen around Kylesku and Drumbeg area. Lots of fledges raven as usual and barn owls seem to continue their expansion. One pair almost certainly nested in the artificial nest box provided near Ledbeg house.

It seems to have been a mixed year for the seabird colonies. Guillemot productivity on Handa Island, north of Assynt was apparently the highest recorded in the last 15 years. Other bird species did not fare so well. Arctic and common terns failed to breed on Handa this year but a handful of young were fledged in Loch roe and on the island opposite Culkein Drumbeg.

August was a bit warmer and at last a few butterflies and dragonflies appeared. 184 Oystercatchers on Clashnessie beach was exceptional on 7th August but 60+ whimbrel on the 9th and 200+ starlings at the bay of Culkein was to be expected. A goshawk was seen at Clachtoll on 23rd yellow-browed warbler 22nd and there were several records of barn owl around Stoer and also Inchnadamph. 245 shags were observed on the rocks below Stoer lighthouse on 26th August.

The middle of August saw several young harbour seals weak and in trouble on Clachtoll, Stoer and Achmelvich beaches. One 5-6 week old pup was collected by SSPCA and taken to Alloa.

But it was into September that saw the start of the good weather not seen since April. Indeed September was so dry that the fungi normally so abundant in the Culag woods were almost non-existent. The warmer weather saw a rise in dragonfly activity. On 8th September at least 8 common hawkers were seen at the bine caves -several in mating tandem. An elephant hawk-moth was spotted in Clashnessie on the 7th. While on 21st September the Ranger counted 23 mostly white tailed bumblebees in a 100m transect feeding on the flowering heather at Badnaban. Goldfinch numbers continue to rise but a count of 85 on a croft in Clachtoll at the end of September was the highest. Single observations of Slavonian grebes at sea were seen in September, October and November but the best was a family of six on Glencanisp Loch on 3rd September.

The warm and dry weather continued almost to the end of October. A good crop of Rowan berries were on the tree in early October but were gone by 20th October. And therefore the visiting redwings and fieldfares moved on. A late wheatear was seen at Raffin on the 12th. Whooper swans arrived on 3rd October and an unusually high peak of 69 were seen on 24th. A single jack snipe was recorded on 17th while a red admiral butterfly was seen on 27th October and again 4th November.

November recorded the usual high number of great northern divers around the coast while an unusual record was a chiffchaff on the 12th. Over wintering tadpoles were noted at Gleann Leireag. December meanwhile was noted nationally for its unseasonable warmth. Some nights the temperature did not drop below eleven degrees.

There were seven basking shark records this year - four in June and one in July, August and September. There were 215 sightings of seven species of cetaceans this year largely thanks to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation volunteers at Stoer Head lighthouse doing their Coastwatch. Harbour porpoises were seen every month of the year. There were a stunning 54 records of Common Dolphins this year seen from June to October with a peak in September. There was a big increase in Risso’s Dolphin sightings during the summer but only three records of Bottlenose Dolphins. There were 23 sightings of Minke whale (same as last year) with peak in June and August and three of Orca (July and August) and a reported record of a single Pilot whale.

More Wildlife observations for 2015 in Assynt can be found www.assyntwildlife.org.uk

For more informationHighland Council Countryside Rangers, Tel: 01571 844654 or Email: andy.summers@highland.gov.uk

For up to date information on all Highland Council Countryside Ranger Events and the Long Distance Trails in Highland go towww.outdoorhighlands.co.uk

 
North West Highlands declared a UNESCO Global GeoparkNorth West Highlands declared a UNESCO Global Geopark
Added: 25 Nov 2015
UNESCO – the United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture –announced a new programme on the 17th November, which creates UNESCO Global Geoparks. This is the first new UNESCO programme to be established in over 40 years and puts the Global Geoparks alongside UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Previously operating with the informal support of UNESCO, the status of Global Geoparks will be formally recognised under the new programme.

The award of the UNESCO brand is expected to further enhance the work of the North West Highlands Geopark, helping to create new international funding and partnership opportunities, attract national and international visitors, and raise awareness of the North West Highland’s unique geological heritage. The North Coast 500 Route runs through the Geopark, giving access to some of the most outstanding scenery in the world.

All Geoparks have internationally significant geology, but what sets Global Geoparks apart is that they are locally-led partnerships that work to support sustainable economic development of the area. They do this primarily through geological and eco-tourism with activities such as developing geo-trails and projects to bring geology to life for people and holding festivals and events, including education projects in schools and communities.


The North West Highlands Geopark works in close collaboration with the Highland Council Countryside Rangers. This year the Geopark has run events such as the Lochinver Climbing Festival, Earth Science workshops and Geo-what? - an event organised to introduce the Geopark concept to local businesses.

Cllr George Farlow, Chair of North West Highlands Geopark said: “All 120 Global Geoparks have shown tremendous resilience working together for 15 years to achieve our deserved legal recognition by all 194 members of the United Nations. The Education, Science and Culture themes of UNESCO have fitted with Highland Council programmes over those years. This was a Highland Council project in 2003 and the Communities of North West Sutherland and Coigach in the North West Highlands UNESCO Global Geopark have supported this ambition through thick and thin, so congratulations to the ‘Cradle of Geology’!”



Cllr Farlow added: “I am very grateful for the staff in UNESCO Headquarters in Paris for working under extreme circumstances to complete this great project.”

A European Geopark:

· is a territory, which includes a particular geological heritage and a sustainable territorial development strategy supported by a European program to promote development. It must have clearly defined boundaries and sufficient surface area for true territorial economic development.

· must comprise a certain number of geological sites of particular importance in terms of their scientific quality, rarity, aesthetic appeal or educational value. The majority of sites present on the territory of a European Geopark must be part of the geological heritage, but their interest may also be archaeological, ecological, historical or cultural.

· has an active role in the economic development of its territory through enhancement of a general image linked to the geological heritage and the development of Geotourism

· has direct impact on the territory by influencing its inhabitants’ living conditions and environment. The objective is to enable the inhabitants to reappropriate the values of the territory’s heritage and actively participate in the territory’s cultural revitalization as a whole.

· develops, experiments with and enhances methods for preserving the geological heritage

· must work within the European Geopark Network to further the network’s development and cohesion. It must work with local enterprises to promote and support the creation of new by-products linked with the geological heritage in a complimentary spirit with the other European Geoparks Network members

Chair of The Highland Council’s Development and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Audrey Sinclair welcomed the announcement saying: “UNESCO recognition is excellent news for the Highlands and North West Sutherland. This underlines the worldwide importance of our geological and cultural heritage in the Highlands. Well done to everyone involved for making this happen!”
 
1st Lochinver Climbing Festival 1st Lochinver Climbing Festival
Added: 08 Oct 2015
The North West Highlands Geopark welcomed climbers and outdoor enthusiasts for the
1st Lochinver Climbing Festival

With support from crowd-funding, the Highland Council, local businesses throughout the Geopark and outdoor equipment manufacturers; this first Lochinver Climbing Festival is expected to become an annual event in the North West Highlands. BBC Scotland came along to film the event for the An La news show on BBC Alba.

The event was organised and coordinated by Dr Laura Hamlet, Information Officer of the North West Highlands Geopark. Based at Glencanisp Lodge near Lochinver, the festival was built around technical workshops to help and encourage climbers to learn new skills and will undoubtedly raise the profile of the North West Highlands as a venue for climbing.

Climbers of all experience levels were catered for in the workshops, from those tackling their first outdoor climbing to more experienced climbers who set up a Tyrolean traverse between two crags. The cliffs at Reiff are ideal for an event like this with lots of routes of various levels of difficulty that are easily accessible. Another group used Stac Pollaidh as their classroom with a workshop to improve skills and confidence when scrambling in the hills. Highland Council Ranger Andy Summers took a group of enthusiastic children on a guided walk to Suileag bothy too while the more adventurous had a guided hike up Suilven with Geo-ranger Laura Hamlet. There were yoga classes to stretch tired muscles talks from University of Leeds Geologist Katie Farrell on ‘geology for climbers’ and ex-president of the Scottish Ladies Climbing Club and author Helen Steven ‘100 years and still climbing’ – charting the achievements of Scottish Women Climbers through the past century. Triple Echo productions also gave permission to screen ‘Extraordinary climbs’ - a re-enactment for the Adventure Show of one of the UK’s first recorded climbs on great stack Handa by professional rock climber Dave Macleod. Local travelling story teller Greg Allen also provided light entertainment as part of the evening program at Glencanisp Lodge.

Local folk in Lochinver joined the climbers with energy to spare on Saturday night and enjoyed the festival ceilidh in Lochinver Village Hall with new local band Shenavall. Ceilidh goers also raised funds for Assynt Mountain Rescue Team. Sunday’s kids programme was just as jam packed with ‘geology for kids’, a treasure hunt and climbing games at Glencanisp lodge.
 
2015 Clachtoll Sand sculpture competition a great success2015 Clachtoll Sand sculpture competition a great success
Added: 18 Aug 2015
Seaslugs, Mermaids and cakes

Yes it was the nineteenth annual Ranger Service Clachtoll Sand Sculpture and Seashore Roadshow. A record 250 people were counted making artistic sandy creations or just simply wandering round marvelling at the mermaids, dolphins, volcanoes, minions, Loch Ness monsters, space rockets and Sponge Bobs. It was great to see so many enthusiastic and creative people take part: mums, dads, children and grandparents. Sustenance was available courtesy of Susie and Roy’s BBQ, the RNLI stall did a roaring trade and there was no sign of the hurricane that cancelled the event in 2014.

Eighteen separate prizes were given out thanks to donations from the Assynt Tourism Group, Clachtoll Holidays, Clachtoll Campsite and On the Rocks, Achmelvich. The overall winners were the O’Neil family who created an amazing mermaid and won the specially commissioned artwork created by Clive and Lawrence Shepherd.

The hard work of judging was shared by Nigel Goldie, Laura Hamlet and Donald Mitchell.

The morning was followed by the roadshow where one could sample MacMillan cakes, or go rockpooling with Don O’Driscoll and Donald Mitchell; see what we had caught earlier in aerated tanks with Gwen (the highlight was the giant sea slug laying eggs); make your very own Sea Eagle with Judith and the RSPB Sea Eagle project; look for whales and dolphins with David and Avril; learn about the Whale and Dolphin Conservation with Katie and her team from WDC; help in the performing of a seashore puppet show with Jorine from Achmelvich or delve into the pebble painting cave with Laura from the NWHighlands Geopark.

Thanks to everyone who helped make it a great success. See you next year.


The different winners were:

Under 7’s

1st Harry and Jack (sand rock garden)

2nd Isla Esslemont (volcano)



8-11 category

1st Isla O’ Donohue (dog)

2nd Olivia Lila (minions)

3rd Freya and Tilly (crab)



12-17 Category

1st Anna and William Saywell (seal)

2nd Milly and Thea (couch potatoes)

3rd Morri Barnett (Rockpool)



Families

1st and Overall winners O’Neil family (mermaid)

2nd Weeza and Arian (bear on the beach)

3rd Hunter family (Sandcastle)



Special Ranger prizes:

Wilson Family (Dinosaur)

Armstrong family (turtle)


Special wildlife prize:Green family (flower)


Special Assynt prize: Reid and Blair families


Special musical prize: Walker family (Snowman)



Prize for the Funniest:

Holme family (minions)

 
 Rock Stop Coffee Shop & Exhibition now open
Added: 20 Apr 2015
Enjoy a coffee at The North West Highlands Geopark’s "Rock Stop" at Unapool (near Kylesku).
A Deep Time Exhibition tells the story of our landscape through the eyes of scientists spanning two centuries. There’s lots more to see, a beautiful view, gifts and tours...
Website: http://www.nwhgeopark.com
 
Golden Eagles doing well in AssyntGolden Eagles doing well in Assynt
Added: 11 Mar 2015
2015 is the national count year for Golden Eagles in Scotland. It happens roughly every ten years. At the last count there were 442 occupied territories of Golden Eagles. Assynt has always been a great place for these magnificent birds and as this picture shows they are doing well. The community owned Glencanisp Estate is run by Assynt Foundation and they are quite rightly proud of their resident Golden Eagles. The photograph of this bird was taken using a camera trap at a deer carcass. The eagles will feed on carrion during the winter but will change to live prey such as ptarmigan and mountain hares in the spring and summer.
 
Wildlife Photography Opportunity in AssyntWildlife Photography Opportunity in Assynt
Added: 20 Jan 2015
Red-throated divers up close
Photographic hide rental in the dramatic Assynt landscape

NEW this season 2015

Assynt Foundation have teamed up with NORTHSHOTS, the award-winning wildlife, nature and conservation photographer Peter Cairns to offer you an amazing photographic experience.

A unique opportunity to photograph one of Scotland’s most enigmatic birds at close quarters using a specially built hide overlooking a remote, natural hill lochan in Assynt. The 2-person hide is positioned for optimum background and lighting and allows water level images. The photography will take place on a breeding lochan under licence and to minimise any disturbance, photographers should be prepared to spend a minimum of 5 hours in the hide. All efforts have been made to ensure there is no disturbance to these rare birds and consultations have been made with RSPB and SNH. You will be shown into the hide with a 20 minute walk over rough ground required. The hide will suit photographers of all levels of experience, but it should be noted that a willingness to spend extended periods inside the hide remaining quiet, is a requirement.

Ideal camera/camera lens combination: full frame 500mm.

Available: mid June - early August (depends on breeding success)

Price: 1 session: £150 per person; 2 sessions: £250 per person; 3 sessions: £325 per person.



For more information and to book, please contact Pete Cairns at 01540 651352 or email tours@northshots.com
 
Leatherback Turtle and PhotosLeatherback Turtle and Photos
Added: 10 Oct 2014
Andy Summers, our Highland Council Countryside Ranger reports that a Leatherback Turtle was landed at Lochinver Harbour by local fisherman Bruce Mackenzie on 8th October. It is thought to have drowned after getting caught in creel ropes in Eddrachillis bay, possibly several weeks previously.
Having been towed ashore by Bruce the turtle is now in Inverness with the Scottish Agricultural College vets for a Post Mortem examination. The PM report is due in two weeks time, and will confirm if it is female and adult and if so if she is of breeding age, which commences at the age of 30. Leatherbacks can live up to the age of 100, and this one is 2m long with a carapace measuring 1.5m. They are found naturally in British waters following jellyfish but DNA will confirm the place of birth; possibly the Carribean (Trinadad/Tobago)
Recent large numbers of Lion’s Mane Jellyfish washed ashore on Assynt’s coast may account for the presence of this specimen.
The last one found in Assynt was also entangled in creel ropes off the Point of Stoer in Oct 1993 and brought ashore by Donald MacLeod, a local from Drumbeg, and its skull is on display in Assynt Visitor Centre.
The main hazards for these creatures are plastic bags and helium balloons mistaken for jellyfish.
 
 Kylesku Bridge – 30th Anniversary of Opening by HM the Queen
Added: 22 Sep 2014
2014 is the 30th Anniversary of the opening of the famous Kylesku Bridge linking assynt to the rest of North West Sutherland.

A new display is now on show in the Assynt Visitor Centre showing the construction of the award winning bridge from the early phase to the final opening ceremony in July 1984.

The display will be at the centre until October.

The Centre is open Mon- Sat 10am -4.30pm

and Sunday 11-3pm.
 
The Princess Royal attends Highland Stoneware’s celebration The Princess Royal attends Highland Stoneware’s celebration
Added: 28 Jul 2014
2014 marks an important milestone in the life of Highland Stoneware. The company was incorporated in June 1974; and to mark the 40th anniversary, an Open Day was held at the Lochinver Pottery on Friday 25 July, where there was a chance to paint your own plate and try your hand at throwing a pot whilst raising funds for Save the Children.

In the morning HRH The Princess Royal met the team, learned more about the pottery and unveiled a commemorative plaque.

A commemorative mug featuring Suilven and a row of dancing sheep has a special 40 year backstamp and is numbered and signed by the artists. It is available at the pottery and online.

David Grant is also working on a series of 6 special mugs featuring quotes from the early days of Highland Stoneware, photographs and more information to follow!














Website: http://www.highlandstoneware.com/
 
Wild North Assynt Events 2014Wild North Assynt Events 2014
Added: 26 Feb 2014
A varied series of events taking place this year.
Come and join us for:
Woodlands Events on 9th & 10th May
Wild Flower Festival 22nd to 23rd June
Weekly Arts events at Glencanisp Lodge 14 July to 14 Sept
Assynt Archaeology Dig 28-31 July
Assynt Fishing Feis on 6th & 7th August
Walk Assynt Week from 25-29 August
Creating Assynt (art & writing) Week from 25-29 August
Wild Wood Day 12 September
Dark Skies and Bonfires on 4th to 5th October
Gaelic Weekend 15th to 16th November

 
Archaeology Digs!Archaeology Digs!
Added: 03 Feb 2014
BBC Alba TV filmed an item on Historic Assynt’s excavation of a Black House at Crocaneach on a beautiful autumn day in late 2013.
Here Gordon Sleight is being interviewed with a background of Quinag.
Contact Gordon on 01571 855207 or gsassynt@gmail.com for further information. Gordon has a course on Iron Age Assynt starting at the Learning Centre in Lochinver on March 13th. Phone 01571 844123 for details
Website: http://http://www.aocarchaeology.com/ldap/about-historic-assynt/
Attachments: Download File
 
Coigach-Assynt wins Heritage Lottery fundingCoigach-Assynt wins Heritage Lottery funding
Added: 30 Oct 2013
An effort to conserve the landscape of Coigach and Assynt in north west Scotland has received a £3m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.The Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) is leading work to restore blanket bog and heath moor, repair paths and reconnect fragmented native woodland.Funds will also go towards excavating and preserving Clachtoll broch, an Iron Age settlement.The project is part of a 40-year vision for Coigach and Assynt.SWT is involved in Coigach-Assynt Living Landscape (Call), a partnership set up to regenerate the area.Viv Halcrow, Call’s project manager, said: ’This Heritage Lottery Funding could have a great impact across the whole Coigach-Assynt Living Landscape.’It would not only benefit the natural, cultural and built environment, but could help to increase integration between communities, landowners, and organisations.’’Enormous pressures’The Heritage Lottery Fund describes the area as one of the remotest areas of Europe.Colin McLean, head of the fund in Scotland, said it has ’astounding scenery’.He added: ’However, the enormous pressures upon these landscapes mean that we have to tackle their restoration and conservation on a bigger scale than ever before.’


It is thought Clachtoll broch was built and occupied by a sophisticated maritime culture stretching up to the Northern Isles and out to the Hebrides at a time before the Roman conquest of southern Britain.The tower may have been seen by ancient Greek geographer Pytheas during his circumnavigation of Britain.Last year, archaeologists said they uncovered the remains of what they believe could be a Bronze Age bathing site, or a sauna, in Assynt.The metre-deep pit with a channel to a nearby stream was discovered at Stronechrubie.The find was made by the Fire and Water Project, which is run by archaeology and history group Historic Assynt.The project team had been trying to understand what a crescent shaped mound of stones had been created for.Excavations at the mound by archaeologists and volunteers unearthed the pit and channel from beneath a layer of clay.Archaeologists believe it may have been created for bathing, or as a sauna.They said other possible uses for the site included cooking and feasting, or perhaps brewing.


Website: http://http://coigach-assynt.org/
Attachments: Download File
 
"Loo at the Light" opens"Loo at the Light" opens
Added: 20 Aug 2013
The compost toilet installed at the Stoer Lighthouse Car Park was officially opened on Thursday 15th August.
An appeal has helped to pay for the cost of providing a public toilet at a remote location in Sutherland.Stoer Head Lighthouse gets up to 10,000 visitors a year but the nearest toilet is about six miles (9km) away along a single track road at Clachtoll.Leigh Sedgley, who runs The Living the Dream tea van at the lighthouse, said "wild toileting" near Stoer Head was unpleasant and unhygienic.A public appeal was launched to pay for a toilet and it raised £1,000.Assynt Community Association, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Highland Council have also contributed funds to the dry composting toilet.People will be asked to pay £1 for use of the toilet and profits raised will go towards community projects.
People will be asked to pay for use of the new toilet

Stoer Head Lighthouse was built on Sutherland’s north west coast in 1870.Its keepers and their families kept cattle and pigs at the site so they could be self sufficient.The lighthouse became automated in 1978.
Website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-23601269
 
October’s Wild Assynt Festival October’s Wild Assynt Festival
Added: 04 Aug 2013
October 4th to 8th are the dates for the Wild Assynt Festival. Follow the ’upcoming events’ page in this website for further news and for deatails of the Wild North events which commenced in June.
Assynt events in early October will include:

A Taste of Assynt at Glencanisp Lodge

Craft fairs

Heritage trails and guided walks

Forest sculpture

Pottery demonstrations

Highland dancing

Torchlight Parade & Piper

Fireworks Display

Plate painting at Highland Stoneware

Ceilidh-disco at Lochinver Village Hall


More info at: facebook.com/assyntfestival.
For Wild North Festival see:
Website: http://www.assyntfestival.org.uk/
 
New memorial at Ben More Assynt New memorial at Ben More Assynt
Added: 04 Aug 2013
The war time air crash site on Ben More Assynt is one of the most remote war graves in the UK.
An inscribed granite block replaces a steel cross and cairn that marked the site.
The Avro Anson’s six crew, who were from Scotland, England and South Africa, died when the plane crashed in April 1941.
The new memorial was airlifted to the site by a Chinook helicopter.
Military personnel, staff from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray and volunteers were involved in removing the old cross and cairn and installing the granite block.
The site, locally known as Aeroplane Flats, is often included in the guided walks provided by the Lochinver based Highland Council Countryside Ranger Service - see www.outdoorhighlands.co.uk - and a more accessible memorial can be visited at the old Kirk at Inchnadamph, where the brother of one of the crew is buried in the graveyard.
 
Golden Eagle Nest CamGolden Eagle Nest Cam
Added: 21 Jul 2013
The latest news on our young Golden Eagle is that it is now flying. It is expected that the parents will continue to bring food to the nest for a while yet.......
Live pictures are still showing at Lochinver Visitor Centre alongside earlier recordings.
 
Live Golden Eagle Video LinkLive Golden Eagle Video Link
Added: 21 Jun 2013
Sensational live pictures of a Golden Eagle nest complete with chick are now drawing crowds to Assynt Visitor Centre in Lochinver.
After three years of trying Highland Council Countryside Ranger Andy Summers has finally succeeded in streaming the only current live pictures from a nest which is nearly 20km distant and on top of a crag on a mountain top! Over the next few weeks visitors will be able to watch its parents bringing food to the chick, recent meals having included a mountain hare. Massive thanks are due to Andy and his helpers and sponsors who include the Assynt Foundation, Assynt Tourism Group, Scottish Natural Heritage and Highland Council.
(Library photo shown)

Full Press Release:

The Eagle has Landed – in Scotland Where Eagles Dare to be seen live on TV Live pictures of a Golden Eagle nest can now be seen at the Assynt Visitor Centre in Lochinver, Sutherland. A tiny CCTV camera is perched on a steep crag in a remote Highland glen in Assynt and the picture is beamed nearly 20km to the Visitor Centre. This will help us all experience what it must be like to get up close and personal with golden eagles. The pioneering initiative by the Assynt Tourism Group and Highland Council Rangers offers people the chance to become inspired by Golden Eagles which, as a top predator, play an important role in the upland ecology of the Highlands. The Golden Eagle was nominated as one of the “Big Five” in 2013, Year of Natural Scotland” The Assynt Foundation (who manage the community-owned Glencanisp estate) were delighted the eagle has chosen to nest on their land. They have been keen supporters of the project from the start. As far as we know this is the only place in the UK where you can currently see live pictures of a Golden Eagle nest. Dare I say that even BBC Springwatch did not succeed with their Golden Eagle nest camera. Techniques at the nest site and the Visitor Centre are tried and tested having been used previously during live TV transmissions. However the distances involved mean we are at the cutting edge of radio link technology. The power for the camera also uses the latest methanol fuel cell technology.Assynt Tourism Group and the Assynt Highland Council Rangers would like to thank Assynt Foundation, Scottish natural Heritage who funded the project and the many folk within the local community who devoted their time and energies to making the project become a reality. It will ensure people of all ages and abilities have the chance to witness intimate views of golden eagles without causing disturbance.Golden eagles number around 442 pairs from the last survey in 2003.Sadly, Golden Eagles are at risk in some parts of Scotland for natural as well as human related reasons. The Assynt Tourism Group and the local community hope this Eagle Cam will help to stimulate eco-tourism in the area. In addition to the stunning landscapes of this area, it provides a new attraction for visitors. Lochinver and Stoer Primary Schools also played their part and help build some of the eagle displays in the Centre. The project will help young people to understand the importance of conserving our golden eagles and the way their success as a top predator can give an indication of a healthy ecosystem.The golden eagle is the subject of conservation efforts as it is judged to be at risk from illegal persecution on some sporting estates. It is hoped that the Lochinver initiative will show that it is possible to manage a sporting estate while at the same time support birds of prey and encourage biodiversity.The project has been carried out with the appropriate licences and with advice from members of the Highland Raptor study group. The project was funded by Scottish Natural Heritage.The Assynt Visitor Centre is open daily 10am-5pm and 10am-3pm on Sundays and is free.For more information contact: Andy Summers 01571 844654
 
Wild Assynt FestivalWild Assynt Festival
Added: 18 Jun 2013
Follow the ’upcoming events’ page in this website for news of the Wild Assynt Festival on 4th to 8th October and the Wild North events which commenced in June with events on wildflowers and with music, art and poetry in Scourie.
Assynt events in early October will include:




A Taste of Assynt at Glencanisp Lodge





Craft fairs





Heritage trails and guided walks





Forest sculpture





Community Arts Building Grand Opening at Glencanisp Lodge





Pottery demonstrations





Highland dancing





Torchlight Parade & Piper





Fireworks Display





Plate painting at Highland Stoneware





Ceilidh-disco at Lochinver Village Hall



More info at: facebook.com/assyntfestival.
For Wild North Festival see:
Website: http://northhighlandsscotland.com
 
Achmelvich Beach wins award yet againAchmelvich Beach wins award yet again
Added: 18 Jun 2013
Achmelvich Bay will again be flying the Rural Seaside Award flag this year after it was confirmed as one of the winners of 2013 Seaside Awards last week by Keep Scotland Beautiful the independent environmental charity. Achmelvich has won the award continuously since 2001 and is one of only 12 such beaches in Highland which is given annually, and which recognises excellent litter management, safety procedures and water quality.
 
Prof Iain Stewart at Knockan CragProf Iain Stewart at Knockan Crag
Added: 16 May 2013
Creag a’ Chnocain Tèarmann Nàdair Nàiseanta
The far north-west of Scotland is one of the oldest landscapes in Europe. The rocks here tell of ancient oceans, vast deserts and ice sheets. Knockan Crag is renowned internationally as one of the most important sites for understanding how the landscape of Northern Britain was formed.
The well-known geologist, author and TV presenter,Professor Iain Stewart officially re-opened Scottish Natural Heritage’s new interpretation and visitor facilities at Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve today, Thursday, 16 May 2013 following major refurbishment. The well attended event was blessed with good weather and celebrated by telling the story of the landscape using Gaelic music and song, poetry and interactive interpretation.
The project was funded by SNH, the Scottish Government and the European Community Highland LEADER 2007-2013 Programme.
Knockan Crag is situated 13 miles north of Ullapool on the southern boundary of Assynt.
Website: http://www.snh.gov.uk
 
 The Assynt Triathlon will be held on June 8th
Added: 10 May 2013

ROAD RELAY : 21 MILES (Up to 4 runners)

CYCLE: 15 MILES

KAYAK: 5 MILES

HILL RUN: 7.8 MILES (last 1.8miles is a road section)

Starting: Assynt Leisure Centre, Lochinver, 9.30am

Finish: Assynt Leisure Centre, Lochinver

For more information or to download an entry form

visit www.assyntleisure.co.uk or

email kelly@assyntleisure.co.uk

Website: http://http://www.assyntleisure2.force9.co.uk/page6.html
 
 Assynt gets Dark Skies Site
Added: 01 May 2013
We now have a local Dark Sky Discovery Site at the Little Assynt Estate All Abilities Path.
There is so little light pollution here that our night skies are filled with stars, including the Milky Way. This is also a great place to see planets, satellites, meteor showers and, occasionally, the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.
Website: http://www.darkskydiscovery.org.uk/dark-sky-discovery-sites/map.html
 
 TV PROGRAMME FEATURES ASSYNT
Added: 01 May 2013
BBC Scotland’s programme “Landward” recently featured Assynt to commemorate that it is 20 years since the Crofters’ historic buyout.



There are plenty of shots of the area, film of some of our Golden Eagles, and items about the Living Landscape Partnership, mobile library and the poet Norman MacCaig…



You can watch the programme (2013 episode 4) at the link below




Website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006m994
 
 Archaeology Lab comes to Assynt
Added: 29 Nov 2012
The burnt mound at Stronchrubie, in Assynt, in the north west Highlands has revealed a few more secrets this week. The fires on which the stones were heated involved a range of wood - including birch, alder, hazel and hawthorn (or apple) - suggesting the site had more diverse woodland in the past than it does these days.The wood species were identified at Stoer Village Hall, thanks to AOC Archaeology bringing their post-excavation lab to Assynt and training local people in the techniques needed to analyse samples from digs. Altogether 26 people, almost all local to Assynt, took part in the post-excavation work, organised as part of the Fire and Water project, run by Historic Assynt. They learned to sort samples from the October dig at Stronchrubie burnt mound, to separate out charcoal and other datable material from the soil and stones and to identify the tree species in charcoal and any cereal grains.Gordon Sleight, projects leader for Historic Assynt, said, ’Normally archaeologists take the samples from the dig away down south, and do post-excavation analysis in their lab. But this time the lab has come to us and this has enabled lots of local people to take part in analysing what we found at Stronchrubie. It has been amazing to realise just how much charcoal we dug up, when what we thought we had was mostly sooty stone, and it has been really interesting to use microscopes to see the internal structure of the charcoal and identify the tree species.;’Jack Robertson, the AOC archaeologist who led the training said, ’It has definitely been worth bringing the lab work to Assynt. We have had 26 people come and take part, which is great. We have identified alder, hazel, birch and one of the hawthorn/apple/pear/quince group of species, and we have also found some interesting heat-affected stones and some possible worked stone.’In October, the Stronchrubie dig confounded common assumptions that the burnt mound was used for feasting, as the structures unearthed beneath the mound suggest that bathing was more likely. The post-excavation confirms this, with no food or cooking remains found at all. Some of the charcoal finds will now be carbon-dated to give a better idea of when the mound was created.Historic Assynt’s Fire and Water project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Robert Kiln Trust. As well as the Stronchrubie excavation, the Fire and Water project has also run several other associated events including a ’Finds Roadshow’, a ’Music Through Time’ day and the inauguration of five heritage trails.

Website: http://www.aocarchaeology.com/assyntfireandwater/2012/11/archaeology-lab-comes-to-assynt/
 
Strange lights across Assynt skiesStrange lights across Assynt skies
Added: 25 Sep 2012
Many visitors witnessed a spectacle of lights across the sky last Friday night. It is thought the lights were space junk re-entering the atmosphere.
 
New Assynt Tourism WebsiteNew Assynt Tourism Website
Added: 25 Sep 2012
Assynt has commissioned a new and informative website designed to bring more visitors to our stunning area
 
Mountain Rescue WalkMountain Rescue Walk
Added: 25 Sep 2012
Members of Assynt Mountain Rescue Team set themselves a challenge of walking up Spidean Cóinich, a hill top in their patch, 17 times in under 24 hours to raise funds for their organisation
Website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-18577603
 
Upcoming Events
2 May Ranger Guided Walk at Achmelvich
3 May Elphin Market
5 May Made in Assynt - Craft & Produce Market
view all the upcoming events
Latest News
18 Feb B869 Road Closures
13 Jan 2015 was a mixed year for wildlife in Assynt
25 Nov North West Highlands declared a UNESCO Global Geopark
view all the latest news
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