News summary . March 2020

  •  Housing – the two tenders submitted to HSCHT for work in connection with the affordable housing project are currently under review, it is anticipated that the successful applicant will be announced within the next 2 weeks, an open meeting will be arranged shortly afterwards to introduce the development plans to the community.
  • Lochcarron Development Plan. Preparation of the proposed community engagement exercise, aimed at gathering and analysing data to provide a fair focus of prioritised projects for the whole community to cover the period 2020-2025 is almost complete and we hope it will shortly be underway. The process will include a household survey, analysing engagement responses and delivering the key results to the community in the form of a summary document. Thereafter,  projects prioritised for development will proceed to the next phase.
  • Market Days – Our 2020 Season opens Friday April 24th and thereafter the last Friday of the month until late Autumn.
  • Woodland Shelter – Our shelter is now available for use by volunteer parties and those participating in workshop/training events.
  • Series of Woodland based Activities  – Plans are ongoing to introduce a series of woodland based activities for all ages.
  • Café Ceardach – Opening hours will be extended from late March, check out our social media pages for updates.
  • Workshops and Skills Development – as part of our ongoing commitment we would be interested to hear from anyone interested in tutoring art/craft or rural skills based workshops, also prospective participants, let us know what subject matter interests you. Over the years we’ve covered a plethora of subjects from basket-weaving and bushcraft to a variety of LANTRA accredited courses

Hotel Development –

** update**

Proposed Hotel- Update 21/02/2020

Good Evening All

In keeping with my commitment to let you know factual information as it becomes available regarding progress in the investigation and feasibility study to commence consultations with the community and LCDC regarding a potential hotel development please see below an email sent to us (LCDC) today from the directors of Bealach Ltd, the potential developer, which is self explanatory.

I have also included below the statement received last night from Bell Ingram again confirming that no agreement has or had been entered into for the sale of land in Kirkton Woodland.

I am also in possession of the list of 7 HIE officials who had been involved in discussions with the directors of Bealach Ltd in relation to this project.

These facts clearly substantiate and reflect the status as described by LCDC as the actual position of the enquiry.

Yours sincerely

Colin Sharp – Chair – LCDC

—————————

From: Gregor Bulloch

Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2020 at 09:02

Subject: Bealach update

To: kristine mackenzie

Hi Kristine,

So as mentioned 2 weeks ago in our previous email, the 3 founders of our hotel project (Allan, Gordon and Gregor) have been analysing the project in detail as we are at a critical point when we are about to invest significant funds to take the project forward. We also had a third party provide a detailed financial review for us prior to the formal funding round.

From a financial perspective, the business case has been impacted by both rising build costs and operational costs as well as material risks of Brexit and staffing. The interest rates we were being offered by those banks we were in discussions with were also higher than originally anticipated. These factors combined have limited our ability to create the hotel we had in mind when we started the project.

With all that in mind, we have chosen to put the project on hold indefinitely. We are going to consider other options but for now, please assume no further work will take place.

On behalf of the 3 of us, I’d like to thank you for your efforts to date, it’s been a pleasure to work with you. We are all disappointed that we have been unable to proceed with this but with all things considered, stopping now feels like the right thing to do for all involved, including our partners, as there is no point in us collectively investing more time, effort and money to then stop at a later stage.

Best regards and all the very best for the future,

Allan, Gordon & Gregor.

BEALACH LTD

——————————-

Further statement from Bell Ingram

An inaccuracy in our EIA screening submission has been drawn to our attention as it appears to be causing some concern within the community. We can confirm that absolutely no agreement has been entered into for the sale of the land in Kirkton Woodland with any party to our knowledge. All that has been agreed is that we would have permission to make such enquiries as are necessary to establish whether the site at Kirkton Woods is suitable for our intended purpose. If the site proves to be suitable, then we would clearly wish to engage with the Community and Lochcarron Community Development Company at that stage.

Regards Iain B Cram Director Bell Ingram Design Limited,

bellingram.co.uk/services/bellingram-design

——————————–

Hotel Development – The Facts- 12/02/2020

We have been approached by several organisations and individuals expressing interest in leasing or potentially purchasing some of the woodland for commercial enterprise. These have ranged from use for storage, manufacture of wood products, manufacture of timber structures to construction of a hotel.

The constitution of LCDC dictates that we must evaluate all approaches made and this we will continue to comply with and of course nothing can be progressed until AFTER community consultation.

At this moment in time LCDC have NOT entered into or agreed to enter into any commercial arrangement with any of these parties nor have we agreed to sell any land whatsoever.

A recent planning application has been misconstrued as an application to construct a hotel when in fact the application, as you will see from the statement below issued by the companies agents, Bell Ingram, is merely to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). It also incorrectly states that LCDC has agreed to sell the land, this is NOT the case. How could we agree to sell a plot of land without knowing it’s value both in terms of absolute value and value to the proposed purchaser, as you will appreciate the two are not necessarily the same.

I understand local rumour is that this is a budget hotel. This is pure fantasy. From the brief conversation that I have been party to the aim is for 5-star top end accommodation with a Michelin style restaurant. Hardly competition for any of the B&Bs, holiday lets, hotels or eateries already in the village.

LCDC will always ensure that the community are made aware and consulted before any changes are made to the assets of LCDC and this was indeed the agreement that we had with the stakeholders in this case.

As this is only an enquiry at this point it would be far too premature to communicate this widely and this communication seeks to clarify where we are.

We have been made aware of many vitriolic and unfounded criticisms and unfortunately some have seen fit to make personal attacks on members and employees of LCDC which is both ill-informed and unjust.

We have on several occasions and indeed our Chair in his last An Carrannach article asked that should anyone have a question then please ask us and get the truth rather than relying on inaccurate rumour. But then why let the truth get in the way of a good rumour?

Thank you

LCDC Directors.


Statement by the companies agents, Bell Ingram

From early 2019 Bell Ingram have been undertaking a review of the route of the North Coast 500, to establish if there are any suitable sites for new hotels.  One of those sites identified as having potential for such a development was the village of Lochcarron.  The access to a railway station, and the link from the A890 to Kyle of Lochalsh and on to Skye, making it particularly attractive as somewhere travellers might be persuaded to pause and stay for a few days rather than rush off on their way round the north coast.

 As part of this review process we submit an EIA Screening Request to Highland Council to establish if there are any recorded constraints on development in the area, that might have an impact upon any future proposals.  This is still a very speculative stage in any development, and until we have all the necessary information, we would not normally expect to commence any form of community engagement.  We acknowledge that the process of submitting the EIA screening has been the cause of some concern within the community, and embarrassment for Lochcarron Community Development Company, who kindly allowed us to investigate the potential of the land at Kirkton Woods.  We apologise for any unnecessary upset caused by this submission, of which they were not warned in advance. 

If at the end of this review process, Lochcarron remains a site that we would be interested in pursuing, then we will discuss this in detail with LCDC, and present our thoughts and proposals to the community at large.  To do so at this stage would be very premature however, as it is quite possible that we will not move beyond this stage in the Lochcarron area.

Bell Ingram Design Limited,


infosmithyhub@gmail.com

Lochcarron Community Development Company News, July August 2018

The LCDC volunteers and our Development Officer have been working as hard as ever to deliver multiple projects in the area. As ever we are incredibly grateful to the support of the community and especially to the volunteers who make it possible to achieve things which benefit the whole community. It’s never easy getting everything done, finding time or achieving deadlines, and those who are working away in the background contribute so much.

Housing Survey
Highland Small Communities Housing Trust (HSCHT) has previously conducted a housing needs survey to ascertain the future residential housing needs. LCDC is working in partnership with HSCHT to deliver affordable housing in Kirkton Woodland. It came to light that many local businesses were also struggling to grow or remain sustainable due to the lack of accommodation for employees in the area. As with many aspects of community sustainability, the problems are multifaceted and intertwined. With more working age families in the area, other smaller businesses would do better, local services and infrastructure could be protected from cutbacks and other growth opportunities would arise. HSCHT organised a second survey so we could find out more about this, this time the survey went to local businesses. Thanks largely to the enthusiastic efforts of Peter MacKenzie, who distributed and collected surveys we have had a very high level of responses that clearly shows that there is a need for a range of housing solutions in the Lochcarron area.

HSCHT have now awarded a tender for a site infrastructure survey which will start soon.

Bushcraft at the Treehouse.
At the time of writing family events at the treehouse are planned, we’ll have a report about asap.

Market days
These have been continuing to help raise some much needed funds each month and provide an important community social event. Many thanks to Sheila Cudby who has stepped in to help coordinate the catering, thanks also to those who all help make this event happen, you are all much appreciated! We are still very short of kitchen and general hall volunteers, if you feel you could help with setting things up, taking the meal payments, serving food or in any other way, we’d love to hear from you. The next dates are August 31st, September 28th, and October 26th. If you would like to book a crafts, charity or produce table for £5 please contact infosmithyhub@gmail.com

The Smithy Hub
The site has been a little quieter than usual during the heatwave and world cup, we fully expect visitors to increase again once the football is over!  At the iGallery, the availability of volunteers to staff the desk has been a struggle, many visitors really value having a friendly local person to answer their queries. If you’d like to sit in for an hour or two to meet visitors, again we’d love to hear from you. The Highland Council proposed visitor information shelter to be built on site has had various delays to do with some technicalities, but the final stumbling blocks have been resolved and we are told that work on the shelter will start at the end of July. This will extend the current visitor information capacity and provide a year round facility. Any local businesses, organisers of individuals who wish to display promotional materials please pop it up to the iGallery.

The Dairy
Work on the Dairy project is ongoing, the sub committee working on the funding application and business planning have all been going over the facts and figures with a fine comb before the next funding application is submitted. We will keep you updated.

Firewood
This is a good time to stock up on firewood to dry before the winter and support the community woodland development, if you’d like to order chopped logs or lengths of timber contact kirktonfirewood@gmail.com
01520 722 952.

 

LCDC News April / May 2018

 What’s been going on down at the Lochcarron Community Development Company?

The winter months have again been a very busy time and we have seen some significant strides forward at the Lochcarron Community Development Company and we are now poised for the exciting times ahead.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing and we have also endured some setbacks during recent months.

As some of you may already know changes were required to the board of LCDC prompted by the decision of our Chair, Avril MacKenzie, to stand down as a director and not seek re-election. The board of LCDC, its members and volunteers would like to say a massive “Thank You” to Avril for all her hard work and commitment over many years and across all facets of LCDC.

In addition, Janet Price whose input has always been of great value to the board has also decided that, unfortunately due to work commitments, she is no longer able to dedicate the time to fulfil her role as a member of the LCDC board, and has decided also to stand down as a director.

Two new directors have been appointed to the LCDC board, Bart McFleat and Colin Sharp who together bring substantial engineering and business expertise to the board.

During the winter months a dedicated band of volunteers have been working hard to improve access and facilities within Kirkton Woodland, and a big thank you goes out to all who have taken part. Whilst on the subject of Kirkton Woodland, LCDC have now secured the purchase of a plot of land in Kirkton Gardens which will enable the construction of an access road into the woodland and supports our aim to provide sites for affordable housing, including self-build, within the site.

The housing project is at the stage where An ‘Expression of Interest’ Form together with an application for Feasibility Funding to the The Rural Housing Fund has been submitted, with options for a phased housing development on the land under LCDC’s ownership.  If the Feasibility Study funding is granted, the next stage involves an application to the Main Fund.  If successful- the estimated turnaround time for acceptance by the Main Fund would be September/October 2018. Highland Small Community Housing Trust will be working closely with us throughout this process.

Unfortunately our application for Lottery funding to relocate the West Highland Dairy to a new facility on the Smithy Hub site, although reaching the last 39 applications being considered nationally, failed to secure the necessary funds and therefore a ‘plan b’, a slightly less ambitious option is now being developed in conjunction with David and Cath Biss. This will have a much higher chance of success and enable us to maintain the traditional cheese makers craft for future generations and provide both a visitor attraction and centre of excellence to prospective artisan cheese makers world-wide.

Dates for our regular seasonal Producers’ Markets are already confirmed and following the first of this year’s on Friday 27th April will take place on the last Friday of each month from May to October 2018 between 11:00 and 15:00. We look forward to seeing everyone there and welcome some new stall holders as well as the ever popular regulars. Our regular kitchen guru Gill is out of action just now so there will be a reduced menu of soup sandwiches and delicious sweets for the time being.

In March we had a busy premier of the wonderful film that the Local schoolchildren have all produced together with our Animateur Lynda and lots of other talented local helpers, the screen play was written by the children and the film was filmed and directed by them. It was inspired by from the historical work the children were doing on Kirkton Woodland and is a poignant story about a family being cleared from the land. This will be available to purchase as a DVD. Please let us know if you’d like to be added to a pre-order list.

Lynda held another bush craft activity week on during the Easter holidays which was as popular as ever. The children enjoy a range of safe and healthy outdoor activities, including tree-planting, outdoor cooking, wildlife photography, games, shelter building, nature art and much more. These experiences are invaluable for our youngsters in building confidence, skills, friendships and experience. We are very lucky to have Lynda’s energy, enthusiasm and skills to run these events. There will be a booklet produced based on the work that the children did during the week, with their artwork, photos and stories.

At The Smithy Hub, the popular iGallery, including the local volunteer run Visitor Information Point re-opens for the season on 30th April and new volunteers are always welcome, if you would like to join the rota to staff the desk to meet and greet visitors please get in touch.

The observant amongst you will have noticed that in addition to our regular businesses, Kiki’s craft corner and Vicky’s Pop Up Pottery, we welcome the new venture of ‘Lochcarron Candles’ to the Smithy Hub. With a scented, colourful range of candles which are produced on the premises, this will enhance the Smithy visitor experience and encourage visitors to spend longer in this area. After a long cold winter it is lovely to see everything bursting back into life and busy again. Spring at the Smithy also means the beautiful ‘Marie Curie Field of Hope’ daffodils bloom which is always a welcome sight.

For all queries please contact us via infosmithyhub@gmail.com

 

Smithy Micro Dairy update.

Bad news and good news.

As many of you are aware we applied at the end of last year for Lottery funding for around half the costs of the proposed community owned Dairy & Cafe complex at the Smithy.

Sadly the competition for Lottery funding was high with only 14% of applications being successful, ours was not. While we were able to demonstrate wide community support for the project, it was felt at this time that the management group, LCDC is spread too thin across multiple projects ( forest management, housing, smithy hub, visitor information, venue hire, training courses, heritage, iGallery, market days, schools engagement, firewood business etc ) with too few appropriately skilled and experienced people to manage the workloads.

The good news is however, after a lengthy meeting with HIE, West Highland Dairy and the LCDC board today, that we feel we have a Plan B. We propose to scale down the project, remove the cafe and training facilities from the building and half the costs. This makes it more realistically achievable to find funding for and builds on all the work which has been done up this point, rather than walk away and concede defeat.

We will now be setting up a new Dairy trading arm board to steer the project forward and also seek nominations for new LCDC board members to join and help get this exciting project off the ground to benefit the whole community. The AGM is on the 27th February 7.30 at the smithy, we hope as many of you as possible can attend and nominate new board members or stand yourselves.

LCDC News. Oct – Nov 2017

Lochcarron Community Development Company News.

October & November 2017

It has been a busy summer for LCDC, the Smithy hub has continued to see a steady flow of visitors to the businesses and facilities there. The treehouse has been getting hired out for regular yoga sessions, meetings, classes and a concert. We have a new e-mail address to book this- it is now; bookingthetreehouse@gmail.com.

IGallery
The igallery is now running on reduced hours to reflect the slowing down of visitors as the season gets past the busiest period. We are indebted to our volunteer staff who have kept it open and ensure that the visitor information point continues to give a friendly and efficient service to welcome people to our area. Sales in the shop were a welcome contribution to LCDC funds.  It is now Open Tuesday to Fridays, 11am – 3pm. It will close for the season on Friday 20th October.

Christmas Fair
We will be having our annual iGallery Christmas Fair from November 27th to December the 8th. If any local crafts makers, producers or artists would like to take part in this or have more information, please get in touch infosmithyhub@gmail.com. It will be closed at weekends as these are always very quiet, Opening times will be 11am- 3pm.

Market Days.
The Lochcarron Monthly market has continued to be an important fundraiser for us, thanks as ever must go out to all the volunteers who make this important local social event possible. The organisation of the kitchen, and the hard work of all the helpers both in and out of the kitchen is something everyone can be proud of. The October fair is Friday the 29th and the last one for the season, we look forward to seeing you there!

Would you like to get involved?
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 infosmithyhub@gmail.com.

Access to Kirkton woodland
Funding has been granted from the Scottish land Fund to purchase a housing plot at Kirkton Gardens to provide a secondary access to Kirkton woodland for potential housing and other development projects. This allows direct access to the woodlands from the Kirkton area. The existing access to the east of the village is the focus for recreational activity development and is also still being used for the Firewood business.

Woodland Classroom
A funding bid for a rustic woodland classroom and composting toilet has been applied for. Additional building materials are being sought by donations. This building will provide a base and shelter for many community and woodland activities within Kirkton Woodland.

Volunteer days in Kirkton Woodland
Our new volunteer activity coordinator Nic has got events off to a flying start with the first event on 11th October. Many thanks to the volunteers who braved the weather that day These will be regular sessions so follow us on Facebook, twitter or this site for times and dates.

Highlife funding-community engagement
Funding has been awarded from Highlife Highland towards a community engagement project. This will take place over this winter. There will be some days of tree planting, storytelling and bush craft with the local children. Trees have been donated by the Woodland trust, the children will create name plaques for the trees and produce a booklet based on traditional stories and wildlife photography.

Defibrillator at the Smithy Hub
The new defibrillator is now in position on the rear wall of the Smithy building at the Smithy Community Hub, this was purchased with generous local donations and is a welcome addition which could help save a life.

Smithy Hub
Though the iGallery and woodturning studio is closed during the winter months, Kiki’s craft corner and Vicky’s Pottery will be busy and open for business as usual. The treehouse is always available as a venue for hire, contact bookingthetreehouse@gmail.com for more information. 

http://www.lochcarroncommunity.com

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 infosmithyhub@gmail.com.

cof

LCDC/ KT NEWS October 2016

The July and August Market Days at Lochcarron Village Hall were exceptionally busy. We want to say a very big ‘Thank you!’ to all the volunteers for their hard work in running this monthly fund-raising event. The October Market Day will be the last one for this year, on Friday 28 October. Next year’s dates are already organised. Come along for a tasty homemade lunch, and browse the stalls selling local art & crafts and produce.

The iGallery at the Smithy Hub will shut for the season on Friday 29th October, giving us time to organise the Christmas Fair in there, running from Monday 21st November to Friday 2nd December, Mon – Fri 11am – 3pm. Anyone who would like to showcase their talents – crafts, baking, produce, etc., will be very welcome. To book a place call us on 01520 722 952, or email infosmithyhub@gmail.com, or pop into the iGallery to discuss your requirements (the sooner the better, as space is at a premium as usual).

The monthly Volunteer Workparty in October will be on Sunday 9th, from 11am – 3pm. Meet up at the Smithy Hub. Wear warm outdoor clothing. Lunch provided. All welcome!

As part of this year’s Highland Archaeology Festival we are holding an exhibition of The History of Kirkton Settlement. A visual timeline from 1583 to 2016. Maps, documents, photographs, text relating to Kirkton . In the Smithy Hub Treehouse, Mon 3rd to Thurs 6th October, 10am to 4pm. Free.

kirkton poster 1 copy barn-door-1

You can download the HAF Events Guide from www.highlandarchaeologyfestival.org 

The Railway Exhibition in the Treehouse throughout September had many visitors. Thank you! to all the folk who have given or lent us historical photos to add to our archive. We still have some photographs to scan and add to the archive and will be working throughout the winter to do this. If you have any historical photos of this locality we would be very grateful to borrow them so we can scan them and add them in. See some of our Heritage Photographs on this website www.lochcarroncommunity.com

We are holding a fund raising event for the Treehouse at Halloween. Spooky Stories by Lynda Beveridge and a Sweetie Hunt on Sunday 30th Oct. 4 – 5.30pm. £3.

haloween-poster

We are currently organising our Autumn/Winter programme of Adult Education classes and courses. What would you like to have on the programme? What classes would you like to attend? Could you run some classes to teach people some skills you have? Please get in touch by email on infosmithyhub@gmail.com

 Micro Dairy and Artisan Kitchen update:

With planning approval granted the next phase of the project engages the services of a professional team, tasked to deliver Stage 2 – 4 drawings and submit for Building Warrant purposes. LCDC is working closely with Just Enterprise, HIE and the Lottery Assets team to deliver this exciting project.

KIRKTON WOODLAND UPDATE;

As you know, this is a long term project, with many different strands.  Our Access and Recreation Plan gives a flavour of our project timelines together with an indication of costs. It is worth noting, that the early stages of development will be heavily reliant on grant funding and therefore subject to amendment

Priorities – Immediate Short Term

Years 2016-2018 – Capital Costs;

  • Construct 1st leg of new forest roading including new woodfuel hardstanding, relocate woodfuel operations Circa £25k
  • General purpose shed to be erected within close proximity to wood yard Circa £40k
  • Reinstate drainage network across entire harvested site. Construct ATV trackway through lower forest area
  • Fund raise and build new all abilities trail around old  settlement  £15k
  • Purchase Woodfuel equipment, forest tractor, processor, log trailer with crane, quad with heavy duty trailer, generator £72k
  • Establish memorial “quiet” zone £25k
  • Clear brash from settlement zone. Re-purpose threshold hard standing for car parking zone
  • Investigate social housing proposals – self build and affordable. Housing Needs Survey carried out Summer 2016
  • Source agreement with private landowner for acquisition to allow new threshold access for woodland trails  Circa £80k including District Valuer and other professional fees
  • Explore options for fencing – neighbouring land ownership boundaries
  • Investigate collaboration with neighbouring landowners to achieve broader, cross-boundary objectives
  • Negotiate standing sale, road building for 2nd tranche clearfell
  • Engage with a broader network of stakeholders
  • Implement lower slope restocking with commercial broadleaf and conifers
  • Continue to clear brash from social zones
dog walking

dog walking

Revenue Costs;

  • Forest Officer – 50%fte Circa  £30k
  • 2 Forest Workers – 50% fte Circa £29k
  • Memorial/Quiet Zone – path, pond, amenity planting Circa £3.5k
  • All abilities heritage trail – circular trail to Kirkton settlement ruins Circa £15k
  • Walk to village trail – paths, hard and soft landscaping Circa £10k
  • Drove Road trail – renovation and drainage Circa £10k
  • Cnoc na Staing Viewpoint – access and furniture upgrade Circa £500
  • Event site – hard and soft landscaping Circa £5k
  • Quad Training £900

Funding applications in support of the above are at various stages of development, some approved, some awaiting a response, some yet to be submitted.

vision statement2

 

 

Latest News Jan/ Feb 2016

NEWS UPDATE

At the Smithy Community Hub plans are underway to get ready for the reopening of the iGallery once again towards the end of March.

The Visitor Information Desk will be open as before, as several thousand visitors came through our doors last year. This service is run on a voluntary basis and we are looking for volunteers to help man the desk. Please get in touch if you could spare a couple of hours a week or so.

Anyone running a B&B, a holiday cottage or any services or events for tourists should let us know the details and we will pass these on to the visitors.

The iGallery will also be stocked up with locally made arts and crafts, and farm food produce. Do get in touch if you are an artist/maker/food producer and wish to use the iGallery as an outlet to sell, or simply to showcase, your stuff.

The Smithy Hub did not entirely shut down over the winter as Kiki’s Craft Corner and Vicky Stonebridge’s Pop-Up Pottery continued to stay open throughout the whole year. The ever-popular patchwork and handicraft workshops at Kiki’s are regularly full to capacity, and Vicky’s Pop-Up Pottery has quickly become very busy.

Terry Hitchin’s Woodturning Studio/shop will reopen at the same time as the iGallery, selling his own wide range of stock and for woodturning tuition.

The Treehouse situated on the riverbank in the woods behind the iGallery will be used as an exhibition space this year, as well as being a venue for craftwork activities, and meetings of all kinds. More about this in next month’s issue.

For any information about The Smithy Community Hub, contact Lynne Roberts               on 01520 722 952 or lynnesmithyhub@gmail.com

Lochcarron Community Development Company Website                     

This website  www.lochcarroncommunity.com and our Facebook and Twitter are kept up to date with information and photos about LCDC, the Smithy Community Hub, the monthly Produce Market Days at Lochcarron Village Hall, Adult Education Classes, Training Courses, and developments in Kirkton Woodland.

Down the road at Kirkton Woodland there has been much activity over the winter with the establishment of the woodfuel business run by Kirkton Trading. The relatively dry September/October allowed us to cut a substantial amount of logs.  To date, we have been able to supply over 70 households in and around Lochcarron with woodfuel. The woodsmen Brian and Ewan are setting up the woodfuel processing yard in Kirkton Woodland in readiness to do a second chopping blitz in April to provide enough stock for next autumn and winter.

For woodfuel enquiries please call 01520 722 952 or kirktonfirewood@gmail.com

2016 will mark the start of recreational events in Kirkton Woodland including classes, workshops and volunteer days organised by LCDC and Kirkton Trading.

LCDC and KT  Public Meeting
Coming up shortly there will be a Public Meeting held locally, where members of the community will be invited to attend to get an update on LCDC and KT, and to have their say and have any questions answered. More details of this in the next issue of An Carrannach.

HIGHLIFE ADULT EDUCATION   Our programme gets into full swing this spring, details will be on local notice boards, our website and social media. We are also holding a range of Events where the community can come along and get involved, and gather themselves some firewood into the bargain!

Dates for your Diary in February;
Ongoing Pottery course, new participants welcome. 4th feb, 11th, 18th . 10.30am to 12
at the Pop Up Pottery.  £6 per session.

Pottery – Raku/Sawdust Firing day. 27th Feb
12 to 5 at the Pop Up Pottery. £3 per person.

Woodwork – Design & Build Log Tables & Benches,
Fri 5th  & Sat 6th Feb. 11am – 4pm. The smithy. £3 per session.

Design & Build a Woodland Shelter. Weds 10th,  Sat 20th, Weds 24th Feb. 1030 – 1530. At Kirkton Woodland, £3 per session.

Firewood scavenging and clearing archaeological features- Sat 30th Jan & 13th Feb. 1030 – 1530. At kirkton woodland. FREE.

all classes need booking;             on  075 63 90 93 56  or lochcarronkwhg@gmail.com

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.
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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.
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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; lochcarronkwhg@gmail.com