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ASSYNT FOUNDATION UPDATE

Posted on 20 March, 2019 at 5:50

 

It’s been a busy few months for the Foundation since our last update in December, both in the office and out on the ground. Here is a brief summary of our activities and outputs.

LEDBEG NEW NATIVE WOODLAND

Work has continued right through the winter,a new deer fence has been erected around the area to be planted. Also ongoing is the mechanised ground preparation operation, using 3 tracked excavators, specially adapted for working on the hill. This work will be completed in a couple of weeks and then the tree planting operation itself will commence – approximately xxxx native species will be planted between March and June, creating 160 hectares of new native woodland habitat.

LODGE WALLED GARDEN PROJECT

Work has been continuing in the garden at a more steady pace during the winter months, however things are now picking up speed again. The Climate Change Challenge Fund has assisted in the purchase of a wide range of items which will facilitate the growing of fruit and vegetables within the walled garden at Glencanisp Lodge. The large new polytunnel is to be erected within the next few weeks, as will new storage facilities and the completion of the other infrastructure preparation works. Repairs and improvements to the existing wall are to be implemented once the threat of frost has passed, and there will be new bespoke gates erected to maintain the garden secure. In addition a wide range of new tools and equipment have been purchased to further aid the process. The new orchard, to be located outside, but immediately adjacent to the walled garden, is to be planted towards the end of March, weather dependent.

Children from the Lochinver Wildlife Watch visited Glencansip on Friday 15th March to learn about the orchard and to assist marking out where the 45 new fruit trees will be located. Each child now has their own fruit tree spot and hopefully they will be able to help with the planting and future establishment of their trees.

HILL TO GRILL DAY

The Foundation was delighted to play its part in the recent Hill to Grill event, led by CALLP and supported by its members. This is the second year that S2 pupils from Ullapool High School have undertaken a 5 day programme designed to show where Wild Venison comes from. This covers an introduction into upland management of deer and their habitats, stalking with cameras, an examination of culled deer and other locally produced food, to the production, packaging and marketing of their own home made venison burgers. Due to the success of the programme, CALL and its partners are considering whether a similar event for adults might be a worthwhile project.

DEER MANAGEMENT

The Foundation, along with all the members of the West Sutherland Deer Management Group, have successfully carried out their agreed deer cull for the 2018/19 season. Targets are set within the Group at the beginning of each season and are based on recent helicopter counts of the overall deer population, and the habitats they live within.

Supervised by our deer management team, a combined total of 61 stags and 58 hinds have been shot/culled

LODGE

The Lodge reopened for business last weekend, with the annual Gaelic Weekend.25 students,4 tutors (including our own James Graham) plus partners from all over Scotland all enjoyed a great weekend of Gaelic language,music and Assynt hospitality.

The Lodge is already well booked for the season and so we are looking forward to another very busy summer,as the NC500 continues to bring increasing numbers.We are very sorry to be losing Sam and Rachael Hawkins,who are leaving us at the end of April – a huge thank you from all at the Foundation to them both for their efforts and unfailing enthusiasm over the past two years ,and we wish them all the very best in their future ventures.

WILDLAND BUSINESS LOAN

Some of you may have seen the recent press article relating to this development –while the Foundation have developed a detailed Business Growth Plan , and are currently applying for a working capital loan in order to support it, day to day cashflow has been a continuing struggle. Following discussion with Wildland Limited, they offered the Foundation a temporary loan in order to allow us to continue to operate until we receive working capital. This has been a lifeline for the Foundation and this clear demonstration of support and faith in what we are trying to achieve has been much appreciated by the Board and staff.

AGM

Our next AGM will be on March 28th at 6pm in the Hall Community Room; we would like to welcome all Foundation Members to the meeting, when we will be presenting a detailed update on the above activities and more. We look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible!

 

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