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Creagan Grabhalta Clach Tuill – Engraved Stones of Clachtoll

One of our Community Grants Scheme recipients this year was Griogair MacAllein who led story walks across the area throughout last year. Through these walks, Griogair shared his wealth of knowledge of local folklore and history. Here he shares some thoughts on the Creagan Grabhalta Clach Tuill –  the Engraved Stones of Clachtoll:   Although an ‘Aiberdeenshire’ loon born an’ brocht up I now live in Assynt, North West Sutherland.   Diverse landscapes, from the mountainous to the low agricultural fields, yet both have the smell of salt air in the wind. The preference for seeking a new life in North America and the Antipodes witnessed individuals and families from both geographical areas escaping the potato famines and the post political changes of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion.   The clearances from the Highlands were often callus and brutal but although possibly under duress some were voluntary. In the North East the evidence seems to be the lucrative offers of affordable land which tempted the mostly rural population to emigrate. Near the coastal communities of Clachtoll and Stoer,  in NW Assynt there is

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Monthly Volunteer Day Update

This year CALL have been running a monthly volunteer day. Each month we get together and spend a few hours helping one of The CALL projects. Our first in January unfortunately was called off due to snow and ice. The plan was to start the year with a litter pick in Culag Wood and enjoy a gentle walk. Not quite to plan but there were some beautiful views with the snow. It was a fantastic day for our second event. Again, in Culag Wood (after a slight change of plan from being at Little Assynt), we were clearing some of the Sitka Spruce saplings to use for wildlife platforms. Thank you to the volunteers that came and joined me, we managed to get enough wood in record speed! Unfortunately, March’s event was cancelled due to myself, being ill and unable to run the event! Apologies from me. So, let’s look forward to April where we will have two volunteer days. 11th April 2-4pm Beach Cleaning in Culag Woods down the Higgledy Piggledy Path. 25th April 10am – 1pm Monthly Volunteer

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Happy Heritage Treasures Day!

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 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. 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. 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

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Ullapool High School Students Survive The Iron Age!

Ullapool High School S2s stepped back in time on a windy, autumnal day at Clachtoll Broch earlier this month. Three main tasks had been prepared for the pupils, enabling them to delve further into their exploration of the local history as they work towards their Archaeology Scotland Heritage Hero Awards. The tepee was set up as a “Mock Broch” for an iron-age re-enactment activity, creating a feast to celebrate the life of their deceased clan chieftain. Various representations of food items were hidden around the area, and in small “family” groups, the S2s selected the required tools to assist them in obtaining the ingredients for their recipes. Delicacies ranged from roast venison with wild mushrooms and rowan jelly through to sea urchin with bread fingers. At the actual Broch, many different daily life chores and activities were set up for the S2s to get stuck into, from de-husking the wheat in the original knocking stone and milking a goat, to making clay pots and spinning wool using spindle whorls. As everyone got stuck into their task, there was a shout

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A walk on the wild side at Clachtoll

Another rough week of weather but the sun tried to shine for us and people came out to join myself, Andy, David and Avril on a walk around Clachtoll, learning about wildlife recording and its importance. So fully waterproofed up (just in case!), we headed out! Assynt Field Club, of which Andy, David and Avril are members, are corelating wildlife sightings across Assynt. The importance of this is to see how species distributions and populations change over time as well as if there are new species entering Assynt due to changes in climate or habitat. Such a species is the Vulgar or Spanish Slug (Arion vulgaris) which we spotted on a rocky outcrop near the beach. It was one of the first sightings of the day and although some may think it not be the most exciting species we could have seen, it is only the second ever record for Assynt (first recording earlier this year). A last-minute fly over by a White-tailed eagle soaring above Clachtoll led to another first sighting for one of our couples. After our walk

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Clachtoll Seashore Day

Tuesday saw the return of the annual Clachtoll Sand Sculpture Contest and Seashore Day and CALL headed down to join the festivities. Contestants had the morning to design and create their sculptures for judging at 1pm. There were some amazing efforts and great fun was had by all. The afternoon bought many seashore activities such as Dolphin watching, Clachtoll Broch activities, rock pool exploring and storytelling. Our activities were sand casting and clay sea creatures for our very own rock pool. The weather may not have been perfect but that didn’t stop the fun! By the end of the day our rockpool was overflowing with all sorts of creatures! This Friday CALL will be at the Assynt Games in Lochinver. We will see you there!

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CALL for artists!

Invitation for application for an artist residency linked to the Clachtoll Broch project. The Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership (CALLP), in association with the Assynt Foundation, is issuing this open invitation for expressions of interest to apply for an Art Residency to focus on the current archaeological excavation, consolidation and interpretation of the Clachtoll Broch. The opening up of the broch to professional archaeologists, engaged volunteers and the wider community raises many questions and issues of significance for artistic exploration and creative expression across a broad spectrum of perspectives and disciplines. This residency opportunity is open to all forms of creative endeavour and is made possible thanks to players of the National Lottery through funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Introduction The major task of removing the rubble from the collapse of the Broch circa 2,000 years ago and subsequent excavation, was undertaken in 2017 as part of the Clachtoll Broch Project, and further exploration and excavation work will occur this summer (from July).  A significant range of finds have been removed from the Broch and are now subject

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Strained Wire Fencing Course

6 local people braved the wind at Clachtoll to complete a fencing course last month. It was organised by CALL and Assynt Learning with funding from the Coastal Communities Fund and Caplich Community Benefit Fund. The participants learned all aspects of strained wire fencing and successfully erected a 50m fence.    

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Juniper Walk

Little Assynt Tree Nursery are planning a walk to collect Juniper berries on Wednesday 27th January at Loch an Aon Aite. It is a lovely walk along the Clachtoll peat road. It will take about an hour to get to our picking site, so there’s plenty time to soak up the views and spot wildlife. Come prepared with suitable boots and clothing, packed lunch and a hot drink! If you would like to join us we’ll be meeting up at Clachtoll beach car park at 10 am. We aim to be back at 2pm. For more information contact Susan at spease@coigach-assynt.org

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