Job Vacancies for the Café Ceàrdach at the Smithy Hub.

We invite applicants for new posts to run and manage Café Ceàrdach at the Smithy Hub.

Café Manager

competitive salary depending on experience , 40 hpw equivalent (annualised hours), 25 days holiday, workplace pension 

Café Ceàrdach are seeking a highly self-motivated and self-reliant experienced chef / café manager for our brand-new bespoke venture alongside the busy NC 500 route at our Smithy Hub site. This broad ranging role which will align the offering with our overarching ethos will encompass the development and provision of imaginative menus suitable for a wide range of dietary requirements. You will be responsible with the assistance of the Retail Manager, to drive the success of Café Ceàrdach, its ethos and green agenda aspirations.  

Retail Manager

competitive salary depending on experience, 40 hpw equivalent (annualised hours), 25 days holiday, workplace pension 

Café Ceàrdach are seeking a highly self-motivated and self-reliant experienced retail manager for our brand-new bespoke venture alongside the busy NC 500 route at our Smithy Hub site. This broad ranging role will align to our overarching ethos and will encompass the provision of high-quality delicatessen products and produce, much locally sourced, and the maximisation of Gallery sales affording a profitable shop window for local artists and craftspeople. You will be responsible for deputising for the Café Manager, and assist him / her to drive the success of Café Ceàrdach, its ethos and green agenda aspirations.

 General Assistants x 3

£9 per hour, 20 hpw equivalent (annualised hours), 25 days holiday pro rata

Café Ceàrdach are seeking highly self-motivated and self-reliant general assistants to support our brand-new bespoke venture alongside the busy NC 500 route at our Smithy Hub site. This broad ranging role will be to support within our kitchen and retail operation as necessary. Recognised skills training will be available and promotion prospects are excellent. Reporting to either the Retail or Café Manager as appropriate you will ensure the maximum customer experience is delivered consistently whilst completing general tasks as delegated by your manager. Café Ceàrdach promote employee engagement and a green agenda where our customers are king. You will be part of driving the success of Café Ceàrdach, its ethos and green agenda aspirations.

If you are interested in any of the above exciting opportunities please contact for further information or a Job Description and details of how to apply.


LCDC (formerly KWHG), KT ltd and Cafe Ceardach ltd, timeline of milestones

The following is a list of activities or development milestones with our Community Development Company, this does not include dates of individual classes, courses, volunteer days., market days and other routine events.

  •  2009 KWHG formed and merged with previous Smithy Heritage Centre with charitable status.
  • 2008 Market days monthly through the summer were already established.
  • May 2010, Country day, community engagement, rural skills and fundraising.
  • June 2010, Local Development office funding and post in place.
  • September 2010, community views survey undertaken.
  • October 2010, concept illustrations for kirkton woodland produced by Vicky Stonebridge, used for public displays.
  • October 2010, public meeting about feasibility of Kirkton woodland purchase, presentation my Munro Gauld.
  • October 2010, children’s art produced, their visions for kirkton community woodland.
  • November 2010, Public meeting about buying Kirkton woodland.
  • December 2010, Purchase off small craft unit of Vicky Stonebridge.
  • February 2011, community ballot about purchasing Kirkton woodland.
  • May 2011. Smithy office refurbishment underway
  • .June 2011. Kirkton Woodland leaflet, information and fundraising, produced.
  • July 2011. small workshop tenancy taken by John MacPherson
  • July 2011, mosaic interpretation panels created for Smithy
  • August 2011, treehouse building work & filming starts
  • November 2011, highlife funding for  adult education programme granted
  • November 2011, New workshop units finished.
  • Nov 2011, Fundraising St Andrews Quiz night.
  • February 2012, quarterly newsletter “woodland Wire” produced and distributed.
  • February 2012, public meeting about proposed woodland purchase
  • March 2012, Growth plan ( phase 2 ) developed and published
  • march 2012, new workshop units work starts
  • April 2012, Treehouse Opening & Mini Country Day
  • April 2012, KWHG background information published
  • April 2012 Vicky Stonebridge appointed under ‘adopt an intern’ scheme to produce report into potential Smithy Hub development and visitor needs.
  • May 2012, children’s jubilee artwork exhibition
  • May 2012, Boot Sale
  • June 2012, Kirkton Woodland information booklet produced and distributed.
  • June 2012, Jubilee picnic for school pupils
  • July 2012, Andy Wightman talk
  • July 2012, summer celebration Open Day
  • July 2012, Ceilidh opening event
  • august 2012, New Workshops Opening day
  • November 2012, Fundraising quiz night
  • January 2013, woodland trust donates trees which are planted.
  • February 2013, open meeting to set up Art and Craft collective to lease LCDC workshop
  • March 2013, Bingo fundraising night
  • March 2013, Hosted a woodland crofting seminar
  • march 2013, tree planting, trees donated by woodland trust
  • May 2013 Surf awards for KWHG best practice in community regeneration
  • May 2013, Bingo fundraising night
  • May 2013. iGallery open day
  • July 2013, Visitor survey conducted as part of adopt an intern project to determine potential future use of buildings and site.
  • August 2013, fundraising calendar of archive photographs is produced.
  • September 2013, interview on BBC alba about woodland crofts with Vicky Stonebridge
  • February 2014, bingo fundraising event
  • March 2014, Forest technician Malcom Morrison appointed.
  • April 2014. Terry Hitchin tenancy begins in small craft unit.
  • April 2014, iGallery Opening
  • July 14, new office spaces created in iGallery
  • August 2014, Open Day.
  • August 2014. Roll of honour talk.
  • September 2014, Public meeting about Kirkton Woodland.
  • October 2014, local Scottish Rural Parliament Event
  • Winter 2014-2013, Adult education programme of classes & courses
  • November 2014, Open meeting to set up a new trading arm of LCDC, called Kirkton Trading ltd.
  • November 2014, Children’s Halloween event at the treehouse,
  • November 2014, Annual Christmas Fair at the iGallery.
  • December 2014, Kirkton trading ltd set up as a company.
  • January 2015, graduate placement to investigate best use of assets at the Smithy Community Hub, report produced by Fergus Hendry
  • February 2015, input into Highland Council area development plan
  • March 2015, community Woodfuel needs survey conducted.
  • March 2015. Pop up Pottery pilot Opens in the Smithy.
  • March 2015. Name change from KWHG to LCDC.
  • April 2015, public meeting about Kirkton woodland proposals
  • April 2016, Rural manifesto event hosted by LCDC at strathcarron Hotel.
  • April 2015, Kirkton woodland updates, public meeting.
  • April 2015. Kirkton woodland felling license granted.
  • May 2015 Kirkton Woodland Access road work commences.
  • May 2015. Harvesting in Kirkton Woodland commences with Munros harvesters.
  • May 2015. Roll of Honour WW1 centenary book produced by Paul Swan.
  • May 2015, terry Hitchin takes on tenancy in small craft unit
  • June 2015, children’s Bush craft at the treehouse.
  • June 2015, Knoydart information sharing visit.
  • June 2015, Opening ceremony for Kirkton woodland access road with Lochcarron School pupils.
  • July 2015, meet MSP John Finnie
  • August 2015, Feasibility study undertaken into opportunities for cultural events within Kirkton Woodland by Imogen Reiter.
  • September 2015, a range of tourist information and heritage leaflets produced
  • September 2015, Wood fuel pilot scheme set up.
  • Winter 2015, Adult Education programme
  • December 2015. Forest Officer appointed.
  • December 2015, storage container sited in Kirkton Woodland.
  • January 2016. Kirkton Woodland Volunteer event
  • January 2016, Aspen growing workshop.
  • Jan 2016, tree nursery created for pilot
  • March 2016, Kirkton woodland vision statement produced by Lynne Roberts
  • March 2016. Joined DTAS .
  • March 2016. Smithy building new electricity upgraded supply fitted.
  • March 2016, Ross Mountain Battery leaflet produced by Paul Swan.
  • March 2016 smithy building insulated.
  • May 2016, kirkton Woodland public presentation,
  • May 2016, Public meeting to update about Kirkton Woodland developments.
  • Summer 2016, monthly volunteer events at the Smithy
  • July 2016, summer bush craft event at the treehouse
  • July 2016, Housing needs survey, 200 responses received.
  • August 2016. Bush craft for children at the treehouse
  • August 2016. New signs for the Smithy Hub produced.
  • September 2016, History of the local Railway, exhibition in the treehouse.
  • Autumn 2016. Dairy development professional consultant team appointed.
  • October 2016. Volunteer day.
  • October 2016 History of Kirkton Woodland exhibition as part of Highland Archaeology festival
  • October 2016, children’s Halloween event, in the treehouse
  • October 2016. HISEZ conduct governance health check meeting with LCDC
  • Winter 2016- 2017, highlife winter project funding granted for community engagement.
  • November 2016, lottery funding granted to take Dairy project to building Warrant stage.
  • December 2016, Leader Funding for Kirkton Woodland “Haven on Earth “project approved.
  • December 2016, 2 Forest operatives appointed.January 2017, Forest Access Officer appointed
  • February 2017. Meet SIMRA representative to discuss work in community by LCDC.
  • March 2017, project to engage with Lochcarron Primary School and the heritage of Kirkton Woodland
  • March 2017, green woodworking course
  • march 2017, volunteer day
  • March 2017, open invitation to exhibit and join iGallery collective
  • April 2017, Children’s activities at the treehouse
  • May 2017, children’s activities & bush craft
  • May 2017, Leaflet about the proposed Dairy produced and distributed
  • May 2017, defibrillator sited at the Smithy.
  • June 2017, volunteer day
  • June 2017, Dairy proposal information display at market Day.
  • July 2017, children’s activities at the treehouse
  • September 2017, Scottish Land Fund Assistance to purchase land for woodland access
  • October 2017, funding application to Lottery lodged for Smithy Micro Dairy
  • Oct 17, Terry Hitchin wood turner retires from tenancy of small craft unit.
  • November 2017, funding bid to Scottish sea farms for rustic classroom in Kirkton wood successful.
  • November 2017, SIMRA has selected LCDC for further study of marginalised rural areas.
  • November 2017. film project with Lochcarron School underway ” A cry for Kirkton “
  • November 2017, Annual Christmas Fair.November 2017, funding for Kirkton Woodland access granted from Scottish Land Fund.
  • November 2017, funding granted for highlife community engagement.
  • March 2018, Chair Avril MacKenzie stands down and is replaced by Colin Sharp.
  • March 2018, A new board to run the Smithy Micro Dairy company is formed.
  • April 2018- Lochcarron Candles opens for business in the small workshop at the Smithy Hub.
  • April 2018, a successful week of Bushcraft activities for children run at the treehouse.
  • 19th March 2019- work starts on the extension to the ‘iGallery’ to turn it into Café Ceàrdach .
  • Café Ceàrdach Opened it’s doors to the public trading limited hours and a reduced menu for the short term 26th August 2019.
  • Café Ceàrdach official opening 3rd September 2019
  • October 2019. Lochcarron Candles quit their lease of small workshop.
  • November/ December 2019. Christmas Craft event at Cafe Ceardach.
  • February 2020. small workshop leased to Development Officer for LCDC records & office base.
  • February 2020. small office in Smithy Annex leased to independent business employing two.
  • 20th March 2020. Cafe and other businesses at the Smithy Hub close down for the Covid19 pandemic lockdown.
  • late April 2020. funding awarded through ‘Supporting Communities Fund’ and ‘the North Highland Initiative’ to support the Lochcarron area community in a Covid19 response. separate website set up, grow your own project, financial assistance, food vouchers, call line, volunteer expenses etc.
  • March 2020. market days cancelled due to Covid.
  • March 2020- April 2021- LCDC funded and organised local Covid support response measures; Food vounchers & parcels, fruit deliveries, befriending service, phone helpline, book exchange, plant exchange, grow your own project, free compost, healthy living activity packs for school aged families, information signposting, website, home schooling equipment, business deep cleaning equipment, face mask sewing and donating, wood fuel etc etc.
  • June 2020- Community survey undertaken to feed into local development plan.
  • July 2020- Cafe Ceardach Open again briefly to do takeaway service.
  • July 2020- Contractor James McQueen appointed to do work on Housing project in KW.
  • July 2020- Public drop in consultation in village Hall regarding Housing Project.
  • September 2020- Smithy Car Park extended
  • September 2020- Housing project planning lodged with THC
  • November 2020- school pupils and volunteers treeplanting in KW
  • Winter 2020 to 2021- Wellness walks funded & organised weekly for 15+ people
  • 26th April 2021- Potter reopens at Smithy hub
  • 29th May 2021- Cafe reopens at Smithy Hub.
  • June 2021- new tenants – local business take on office space in Smithy.
  • 3rd June 2021- the first outdoor market day takes place at Smithy Hub.
  • August 2021- consultants engaged to draw up new woodland planting plan for KW.
  • August 2021- volunteering sessions in KW.
  • August 2021- Children’s summer activities in KW.

If there is any information missing or wrong on this list please get in touch.

LCDC – New board members

Lochcarron Community Development Company is a community run charity. As one of the HIE supported community anchor organisations, together with its Development Officer; LCDC’s  role is to identify, prioritise, develop and deliver sustainable legacy through creative employment opportunities, culture, heritage and educational activities. Overall, to support  social, economic, and cultural activities to strengthen the community  – increase income levels, assist population retention, and enhance community resilience. It is administered by a duly elected board of volunteer directors.

LCDC is currently managing and developing Kirkton woodland, the smithy Community Hub, a Tree house venue for hire, a volunteer run visitor information point, monthly local market days, the ‘iGallery’- a local craft & gift retail space, educational projects with Lochcarron Primary school, housing options, developing a heritage all access footpath network and developing The strathcarron Artisan Dairy project.

With such a wide range of ongoing activities and projects we need to expand the board of directors. We are looking for people with time, commitment, energy and enthusiasm to join our Board and take things to the next level. We are particularly seeking people with good business acumen, experience in catering, general charity administration, building maintenance, good team skills and people with experience managing large projects.

If you would like to get involved at this exciting time please get in touch at


The Strathcarron Artisan Dairy Project.

The Strathcarron Artisan Dairy Project.


West Highland Dairy is run by Kathy and David Biss, is located around 10 miles from LCDC’s main base. They produce a variety of cheeses and other dairy products for sale via their farm shop and local outlets. Cheese and Dairy product workshops are offered throughout the year.  WHD also produce a variety of hard cheeses and mould ripened cheese which take 9 months to mature. Their premises are small and located within the curtilage of their own home. WHD regularly attended our market days, in 2014 they approached us explaining that they wished to retire within the next few years. They had worked hard to establish over 30 years their well-known brand, and wished to pass on their business and knowledge to a local organisation with an agricultural background West Highland Dairy currently produce a variety of cheeses, ice-cream, yoghurt, crème fraiche, preserves, butter, cheese based desserts. The fact that their premises are small limits the range of products they can produce after much discussion it was agreed to further investigate the idea – would it be feasible?  Could we pull it off? Could we arrange the finance for a new build at Strathcarron – many ifs, buts and maybes?

HIE provided us with a small grant to allow for further investigation

Transferring the Business;

LCDC has land available for a new build, West Highland Dairy are willing to donate their business, customers, & brand name. Also much of their equipment, stock at cost, and remain on board as consultants for two years after the build is complete. They would train two cheesemakers to take over from them on retirement. WHD owners are heavily involved with the Cheesemakers Association of Scotland, within the next 2 years they wish to establish a Scottish School of Excellence – a perfect opportunity to provide such a facility at Strathcarron with on-site conference, catering and dairy.


Current Development Stage;

Planning permission has been granted for a new build on land owned by LCDC. £56k initial Development funding has been awarded by the Lottery Assets Fund to appoint a design team appointed (architect, QS, safety engineer, structural engineer, land surveyor). An application for Building Warrant approval was recently submitted.  We are currently working through the Stage Two Strategic Plan for submission to the Lottery Assets team for the main funding. Other sources of funding are being investigated. The estimated capital costs are £1.8million plus vat. If successful we aim to complete the build by Spring 2018.
The Build incorporates;

* Artisan cheese manufacturing facility.

* Retail outlet for local produce – food and crafts.

* Café serving locally sourced artisan food with a Dairy viewing platform – 32 covers with additional decked area.

* Conference room – 12 covers.

* Office space/workshop for hire.

* overall the project will provide 12 jobs, a mixture of full time, part time, seasonal with a number of skilled appointments. It will be open all year around.

    Potential revenue streams;

* Dairy produce – on-site and existing customers.

* Café sales.

* Retail sales – produce and crafts.

* Conference room customers  – e.g. local businesses.

* Cheese making and Dairy related training workshops (1-3 days).

* Trade from the on-site existing 5 artisan businesses and Visit Scotland Information Point. The site is located on the North Coast 500 route and part of the Wester Ross Biosphere.

* Events and workshops.

PHASE TWO (post Year 2);

West Highland Dairy collects milk from Tain weekly using a small milk tanker pulled by a Land Rover.

The ultimate aim is to produce our own milk. Early negotiations with local crofters and two farm estates, all rearing cattle, show enthusiasm for such an initiative. The concept would involve 8-10 producers
rearing cattle suitable for the purpose, a mobile milking machine would call to the premises daily and collect the milk. In the past West Highland Dairy has used milk from cows, goats and their own flock of milk sheep.

Wendy Barrie, the Director of the Scottish Food Guide, together with her husband Bosse Dalgren, a Swedish heritage farmer, form part of our advisory team. Bosse has a huge amount of experience
working with low impact, heritage cattle breeds capable of producing the highest quality milk yield. Wendy has a wealth of marketing experience regularly in conversation with the top chefs, food outlets and restaurants such as Gleneagles and Harrods. West Highland Dairy and Wendy Barrie have worked together for a number of years.
We would particularly welcome along to our Dairy steering group, especially anyone with experience in the catering industry, project development and business financial projections.

Haven on Earth-part of the Access and Enterprise Programme


LCDC is delighted to announce that a funding package has been granted by LEADER Highland to start developing Kirkton Woodland. 50 % was awarded to match funds from Awards for All, the  Postcode Trust and Lochcarron Community Fund and LCDC.

Building on the successful community acquisition of Kirkton Woodland in 2015 and subsequent development of a new Access and Recreation Plan for the woods in early 2016, Lochcarron Community Development Company will be taking forward a range of initiatives aimed at fostering new connections between the woods, the local population and the area’s visitors. A two-year project will deliver pond creation, construction of a new all-abilities trail, wildlife/quiet zone design & tree planting, old drove track restoration, a cleared village heritage interpretation project and provision of new locally-designed Viewpoint ‘furniture’ & signboards. Aspects of each work programme will encourage primary school engagement as well as working with community volunteers, local arts, mental health and disability organisations in the area.

Within the wider community forest, groundworks/landscaping contract will reinstate watercourse and surface drains in the wake of recent tree harvesting disruption to allow future access development to be carried out by volunteer and contracted labour force.

Contracted survey and design work will result in costed plans for a wider network of forest trails linking the local village to long distance hill paths, riverside picnic areas and vantage points as well as developing circular ‘constitutional/jogging/dog walking’ loops.

Feasibility studies will also be produced analysing viability, scale and definition of a number of eco-tourism & business opportunities within the woods:- a memorial/green burial zone, a campsite & off-grid eco-pod venture, pony trekking & mountain biking provision, woodland crofts and a horticultural/growing zone.

this project will directly address the following:-

  • Improved access for residents and visitors to cultural, natural and heritage assets.
  • Increased community ownership/control of assets and services/activities.
  • People feel better supported to undertake volunteering opportunities.
  • Improved management/conservation/sustainability of cultural, natural and heritage assets
  • People have better access to local services and activities.
  • Improvements in the visitor experience.
  • Increased employment opportunities locally through new business start-ups and existing business diversification/development.

The short-term objectives of the project (trail & pond building, cultural heritage & wildlife area, school and volunteer programmes) are an initial step in a longer-term programme of new recreational, eco-tourism and social enterprise development within the woodland by forest owners, Lochcarron Community Development Company. Delivery methods will engage & utilise local volunteers/associations, schools and vulnerable adults to strengthen sense of local control (i.e. empowerment) & social cohesion that ownership of the forest originally set out to engender.

For local residents, this work provides new opportunities for formal and informal recreation in the area whilst fostering a greater appreciation and understanding of local heritage and the natural environment. For visitors – increasingly encouraged to ‘keep driving” and appreciate the unspoilt scenic beauty of Wester Ross through the car/coach window (e.g. North Coast 500, Wester Ross Coastal Trail) – the establishment of new and significant opportunities to stay a while and enjoy the Lochcarron area at a more intimate and leisurely pace are vital to securing local economic benefit for this remote community.

  • Construction of a 580m all-abilities loop trail with new pond, wildlife/quiet zone & amenity planting;
  • Design, create & install new interpretation amongst the ruins of an old cleared village site;
  • Design, construct & install new Viewpoint furniture & signage/artwork;
  • Undertake a programme of old drove track conservation & renovation;
  • Engage (on short term contract) sessional ‘animateurs’ & seasonal conservation volunteer group leaders to ensure aspects of each work programme engages with – and directly involves – different groups within the community;
  • Undertake a formative, landscape-scale groundworks contract to reinstate watercourses & drains in the wake of recent harvesting disruption – to facilitate easier/safe public access & access development;
  • Engage a part-time forest access & enterprise development officer  to:-
  • co-ordinate, supervise and administer all aspects of access project work;
  • survey, design, cost and prepare a future funding plan for a wider network of forest trails;
  • undertake feasibility studies to consider viability, scale & definition of new business & eco-tourism ventures within the woods –specifically ① green burial zone; ② campsite & off-grid eco-pod area; ƒ bespoke pony trekking & mountain biking facility provision; „ woodland crofts and/or a community horticultural zone.20160123_103751 20160123_105119 20150807_192035 20150405_150233 kirkton (55)

Job Vacancies. Forest workers

Lochcarron Community Development Company (LCDC)

are developing new access projects in the community-owned woodlands at Kirkton, Lochcarron.

We are currently seeking applicants to deliver the following fixed term contracts:-

Forest Access & Enterprise Officer (2 days/week, Jan 2017 – Dec 2018): To supervise all aspects of project work, financial & contract management; prepare new access proposals; promote, liaise & report on project outcomes. Prior experience of community-led development work preferable.

Forest Path Workers (2 people, 280 hrs each, Feb – May 2017): To construct a new all-abilities Heritage Trail with associated landscaping in Kirkton Woods. Prior experience of manual & machine-based woodland and path construction work preferable.

For further details & to apply contact:  Kristine Mackenzie, LCDC Development Officer

by telephone: 01520 722490 or email:

Closing Date: 3rd January 2016.

Forest and access officer duties, details PDF

Forest Path workers PDF

leader-faeo-contract-duties-1-1 leader-faeo-contract-duties-1-2


Kirkton Woodland Recreational and Access Plan

LCDC Kirkton Wood - Rec and Access Plan - FINAL lo-res-1
Click the thumbnails to read the recreational Plan online or Download the  PDF here LCDC/ Kirkton Wood – Recreational and Access Plan –

Many thanks to Chris Marsh for all his work in this plan.

Artists vision statement of Kirkton Woodlands

Local Artist Lynne Roberts has painted for us some of the ideas that are being investigated or being worked on for Kirkton Woodland. This visualization will be used in conjunction with the recreational plan that Forest Officer Chris Marsh is currently working on, to explore, fund raise and communicate  some of the ideas for Kirkton Woodland in the statement2

These are some previous artists interpretations of ideas from the community by artist Vicky Stonebridge.

Access road to Kirkton Wood

The access road to Kirkton Wood is finished. D A Boyd Groundworks from Fort William, got the job done quickly and neatly. It is great to see it complete after so many years planning, fundraising and negotiating with so many parties. This road will allow us access to kirkton wood to start harvesting the trees all in imminent danger of blowing over. We will be able to get a clearer idea of the soil condition, drainage issues and just what sort of quality timber we have. We are now planning towards local firewood provision, footpath access and replanting.

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