As March draws to a close we near the end of our varied and exciting programme of spring training courses supported by High Life Highland. We have had Felting, Natural Dyeing, Dry Stone Walling training, and a day long session on how to plant, grow and weave willow, which was highly informative. You can watch the progress of the new living willow lattice hedge and willow bed at the Smithy throughout this year. Hopefully by next year we will be able to cut our own willow for weaving projects. Due to the popularity of the last two day willow basket making course Monique Bervoets will be coming back to do another one, this time at the Village Hall, 6th and 7th April. Contact us to see if there are any places left.
Woodland Crofts Knowledge Sharing event
We have been hosting various meetings and events in the ‘Pine wood’ Cabin over this winter, on the 5th of March we had an event to find out more about Woodland Crofts, how
they work and how they can benefit community projects, be a way to provide affordable housing and a supplement to household income. We had informative speakers from the Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust, Sleat Community Trust and Jamie MacIntyre, freelance woodland crofts adviser. The event was filmed by BBC Alba and shown on the news the next day. Anyone wishing to find out more or to register an interest in woodland Crofting can go to www.woodlandcrofts.org or follow them on twitter @woodlandcrofts .
Talk on the History of Kirkton
On 26th February Paul Swan delivered a talk on his research into the history of Kirkon at the HD Centre. He has dug deep into the archive and found a fascinating amount of detail about who lived there, what they did and when they were cleared. There are some very familiar local names in the census records. The Glebe land stands almost exactly where the current forest is now growing, with some of the last occupied buildings still evident amid the trees.
The Woodland Trust kindly donated us some trees to plant around the Smithy. This included a rather special little oak that was grown to celebrate the Jubilee. On Weds 13th March the playgroup children came along to help us plant the trees and spend a very enjoyable morning out in the sunshine, learning and playing with outdoor activities. Many thanks to Jenny, Susan and all the Parents who brought them along and who helped out.The children will be able to grow up at the same time as their little trees!
On Sunday 17th March it was the grown-ups turn, we planted more of the Rowan, Hazel, Birch, Hawthorn, Wild cherry, dogwood and the Jubilee oak at the Smithy site. We have protected the saplings from hungry deer with special tubing and stakes. The small woodland that is currently there was planted in 1991 by previous volunteers.
The tree planting session was done alongside a volunteer work party. After the building work last year there has been a lot of tidying up needed, we are heavily reliant on volunteers for work like this as there is currently no funding for landscaping. It is always the same busy people who manage to find time to muck in and help out, these days are very enjoyable and new helpers would be made very welcome and importantly well fed! We hope that the Smithy Community Hub will become a focal point for locals and visitors alike, creating a place for multiple activities and an information point which signposts people onwards into the wider Lochcarron, Strathcarron & Kishorn businesses and attractions, benefiting the whole community.
Art, Crafts and information
From this Easter weekend we will be running a years pilot in the second new building ‘Pine wood’ cabin, It will be an opportunity for local artists and crafts people to sell and showcase their work, each paying for individual spaces. The building will also contain visitor information, promote local attractions and sell goods for the ever important Woodland group fundraising. We hope to have crafts demonstrations, resident artists, pop up craft stands and occasional hands on activities. If anyone wants to know more or to volunteer to help man it please contact us at; firstname.lastname@example.org