The Assynt Foundation
In June 2005, the community of Assynt bought these estates, 44,400 acres of stunningly beautiful natural land, from the Vestey family, under provisions of the 2003 Scottish Land Reform Act.
Aims and Objectives
- To manage community land and associated assets for the benefit of the community and the public in general, as an important part of the protection and sustainable development of Scotland’s natural environment.
- To advance the education of the community and the public in general about the environment, culture and/or history of the land.
- To ensure the sustainability of our community, which is under threat from serious socio-economic problems.
- To safeguard the natural and cultural heritage of the land for future generations.
The Way Forward
The responsibility that goes with the ownership of such a special area of land is enormous. The Board of Assynt Foundation and the staff who work for them are totally committed to ensuring a long term management solution that will secure financial stability, enabling all the primary objectives to be met.
The new Business Plan includes imaginative plans to welcome visitors to the Estates. Glencanisp Lodge will be adapted to be much more flexible in occupancy, welcoming small and large parties to stay. In addition, opportunities to enjoy camping, gypsy caravans, shepherd’s huts and other outdoor accommodation are being taken forward.
Special events, the development of the Artist’s Studio and the creation of an Artist in Residence Programme are all part of our long term vision. Deer stalking has been the major part of past management practices. Whilst we have a duty to continue to manage the deer population within our local Deer Management Group, we are also keen to take interested visitors on guided trips into the wilderness to truly appreciate this unique environment. Furthermore, we have constructed a number of specially sited bird hides which will allow the enjoyment and photography of rare bird species in a manner that will not disturb the wildlife. The Welcome sign is there for all to see.
From modest beginnings, our Honesty Shop at Glencanisp Lodge is there to provide refreshments 24 hours of the day to the many visitors passing through on their way to Suilven, Canisp and the remainder of the estate. Locals who enjoy a shorter walk or bike ride will also be able to pop in for a hot or cold drink, ice creams, chocolates and freshly made local cakes and frozen food. We want to trust our visitors, and believe that this trust will be repaid.
There are so many other exciting opportunities to pursue. All of the above ideas require the finance to enable them to be done well. Opportunities to develop hydro schemes on the Foundation’s land are being actively taken forward, with great care to ensure that the environment is respected and preserved. As well as providing essential annual income, the principle of producing renewable energy for use locally is one we are committed to.
The Foundation is also looking to create crofts and if possible provide opportunities for affordable housing for local people. The creation of new jobs and the restoration of native woodland, access paths and derelict buildings are all high on the agenda. These are serious aspirations linked closely to the reality that we must generate the funds in order to deliver them.
We will keep you
all informed as progress is made and thank all those who have supported us
along the way. If you would like to see a copy of our 5 year business plan please follow this link