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Today is #HeritageTreasures day so we’re sharing some of the heritage treasures being conserved and enhanced through our partnership scheme, made possible thanks to players of the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Lets start big with the iconic mountain Suilven, where the path has been mightily improved by John Muir Trust over the last two years under the Suilven Path project.

Suilven from Glencanisp, about 2hrs walk away. Photo © Chris Puddephatt.
Suilven from Glencanisp, about 2hrs walk away. Photo © Chris Puddephatt.

Suilven also holds a Heritage Treasure of its own: the mysterious wall that runs across its ridge, shown here while a helicopter delivers bags of stone for the higher up path repairs. No one quite knows why it’s there. Old boundary? Destitution relief work? Who knows.

A helicopter delivers bags of stone to the ridge of Suilven © Chris Puddephatt
A helicopter delivers bags of stone to the ridge of Suilven © Chris Puddephatt

One of the reasons for repairing the Suilven path is to protect the Heritage Treasures at risk from walkers’ footfall such internationally significant bryophytes (mosses and liverworts), peat beds (important for carbon storage), and plantlife like this orchid next to the new path.

An orchid growing next to the repaired path. Photo © Chris Puddephatt.
An orchid growing next to the repaired path. Photo © Chris Puddephatt.

If the 19km trek up Suilven and back is a bit much, the Assynt Foundation is also home to the Glencanisp Nature Trail. Built in 2017 the trail is a great place to see examples of local flora, fauna and geology, including wildflowers, woodpeckers, and Lewisian Gneiss.

Enjoying the Glencanisp Nature Trail © Chris Puddephatt

Clachtoll Broch is another one of our area’s Heritage Treasures, shown here before the excavation work carried out over the last two years as part of our Clachtoll Broch Project. Find out more over at the Clachtoll Broch Website.

Clachtoll Broch before excavations began © AOC Archaeology
Clachtoll Broch before excavations began © AOC Archaeology

The area with the orange ground is the hearth, orange from the peat ash. In the bottom right is the knocking stone, where grain was prepared, and the souterrain area.

Archaeologists and volunteers excavate Clachtoll Broch in Summer 2017 © AOC Archaeology
Archaeologists and volunteers excavate Clachtoll Broch in Summer 2017 © AOC Archaeology

Clachtoll Broch unearthed some Heritage Treasures of its own. Here are a stone lamp, metal pin, knocking stone and comb found during the excavations. The knocking stone was found with charred grain in it, confirming that the broch collapsed in a fire.

A selection of finds from Clachtoll (clockwise, l to r): the knocking stone with charred grain, a metal pin, a stone lamp, and a comb possibly used for weaving made from bone or antler © AOC Archaeology
A selection of finds from Clachtoll (clockwise, l to r): the knocking stone with charred grain, a metal pin, a stone lamp, and a comb possibly used for weaving made from bone or antler © AOC Archaeology

There is a wealth of geology Heritage Treasures found in our area, and under our Community Grants Scheme we supported the production of the Coigach Geotrail map. Physical copies available to buy locally or download for free at the Achiltibuie Tourist Association website.

Coigach Geotrail map © Achiltibuie Tourism Association
Coigach Geotrail map © Achiltibuie Tourism Association

These are just a small selection of the natural, cultural and built heritage that we are working to conserve and enhance. We’re currently in Year 3 of the scheme and have another 2 and a half years to go. Watch this space!


Laura Traynor

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