News Round up October 2015

Kirkton Woodland News.
The first phase of Harvesting in Kirkton Wood is nearly complete, it is always strange to see the dramatic changes of familiar views, but also nice to see new views of the hills emerge. The money from timber sales will be helping towards replanting, fencing, drainage and implementing some of the broad recreational plan for the wood, including access, footpaths, shelters and much more. We have also been busy working on getting a Firewood pilot project up and running, we will be supplying firewood locally in split logs or longer logs. The dead windblown trees have been well seasoned so we are able to use these for this, although they’ll need a little more drying from sitting in the rain, blame our wet NW summer for this! Hopefully there will be enough local demand for the wood fuel to pay for equipment, keep our new assistants in work and put some money back into the Kirkton Woodland coffers. It isn’t all commercial activities though, this winter we have been lucky enough to have been granted HighLife funding again to provide some Adult Education training courses, the theme is all around community woodland, everything from building benches, paths, Christmas decorations from natural materials, sawdust pottery firing, Gaelic tree and plant names and much more! Details to follow.
In the future we hope to establish some huts for residential and recreational projects in the Woods, as well as arts and environments events. Imogen Reiter very kindly conducted a feasibility study for LCDC into how this could work as part of her Masters Studies. We are grateful to her for choosing our project to work on, the report highlights some important considerations, such as having a project manager to coordinate activities and building on our established track record of community achievements.

The Smithy Community Hub News.
It has been a busy summer at the Smithy Hub this year, despite the rotten weather. The iGallery had a steady stream of visitors, both looking for local information and to buy from the wide range of locally produced craft items. The iGallery closes for the season after 24
th October, but will reopen 16th November for a two week Christmas Fair following the success of last year’s events. We are fully booked with regular favourite exhibitors and some new people, so it will be the perfect opportunity to support local makers when selecting Christmas gifts. The building will be used for training courses and be available for hire during the winter then the iGallery will then re-open for Easter 2016.
The other businesses on site continue to grow, Kiki’s craft corner is as busy as ever, and will continue to Open through the winter offering workshops and textile expertise as well as everything a textile artist needs. A new addition to the hub in 2015 was Terry’s Woodturning studio, much to the delight of visitors, he will be helping with some woodworking courses during the winter when the shop will be closed. Vicky’s Pop-Up Pottery also proved very popular in its first season, becoming booked up quickly on Thursdays with visitors and locals coming to make pottery which gets posted onto them or collected afterwards. Vicky hopes to cut back on other work commitments to spend more time being available for these pottery sessions next year, The Pop Up Pottery will open all through the winter this year to see if it is worthwhile and practical during the dark and wet months. She will run regular classes and drop in sessions to offer visitors something to do off season.

Artisan Dairy Project
As you may have heard LCDC is investigating the feasibility of establishing a micro Dairy at the Smithy to create jobs and opportunities locally. We have been working closely with West Highland Dairy on this planning stage. Building, managing and equipping a new Dairy will require a substantial amount of funding and work to get it up and running, which will not be easy, so it is early days yet.

Dates for the Dairy
Next Market day
 30th October.

Any enquiries e-mail;

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