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Footprints

Guest blog by Mandy Haggith, Director of Assynt Foundation. As I climb up into the hills, along paths like the one up Suilven, I’m sure I’m not the only one to reflect not only on my literal footprints, but also on my wider impacts on the world. There’s something about getting out into nature that helps us ponder the big questions.  As I look down across the splendid Assynt landscape – a cnocan-lochan tapestry studded with jewels – I feel closer to the earth and don’t want anything to damage it. A big walk gives us time to think things through, to shape directions we will pursue when we return to normal life, to clarify our aspirations and work out our next steps. Ideally we have time in the day to achieve a state of animal simplicity, simply moving our bodies and using all our senses to observe what we encounter – the texture of lichens, the sound of a ptarmigan, the pineapple (or is it coconut?) fragrance of gorse wafting up from Glencanisp on a warm breeze, and the

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What’s different about Suilven?

Guest blog by Mandy Haggith, a director of the Assynt Foundation. Suilven is often described as an ‘iconic’ mountain, and it is certainly distinctive, with its long side-profile and sugar-loaf mounded summit. From different angles it looks like an elephant, or a camel, or a whale.  From the sea it is an unmistakable marker post for finding your way into the safe harbour of Lochinver, and its name may result from this, translating from the Gaelic as ‘Eye Mountain’ (suil is eye, ven a corruption of bhein, from ben)  suggesting that it’s the mountain to navigate by. But Suilven is not just an intriguing-looking hill, it is politically iconic as well. What’s different about Suilven is that it is one of just a few of Scotland’s mountains that belong to the local people. In 2005, Assynt Foundation bought it, along with Canisp, Cul Mòr and Cul Beag, as part of a community-buyout of two large (44,000 acre) hunting estates and the ‘big house’, Glencanisp Lodge. This was the first substantial purchase under the terms of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act, which

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