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Meet your feathered neighbours…

While we collectively remain tucked up safely in our homes, spring is bursting into life all around us. These past couple of weeks, Fiona, Vickii and I would ordinarily have been bursting into a flurry of activity ourselves; through organising, overseeing and delivering aspects of the Ullapool High School S1 Isle Martin residential with various partner groups and individuals. The amended gap in our calendar is another reminder of how we are thoroughly missing exploring the great outdoors with the young residents of the Coigach & Assynt community.   So, as we cannot currently connect directly, I am here typing away from my kitchen table to share one of my favourite subjects of the season; that of birds and their singing antics. I hope you enjoy.   At this time of year, one of nature’s wonders is the abrupt increase in vocal activity from the resident birds, particularly through their joint orchestration of the dawn chorus as the sun rises on a new day. This music signals the rapid increase of activity in nature’s suddenly busy schedule, and – throughout

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Volunteering Programme 2019!

As the new year is approaching, I am excited to tell you about the new monthly volunteer programme that will launch in January 2019! The fourth Thursday of each month we will have a volunteer event running, rotating about the projects. Other volunteer events may be arranged as extras to this program. Examples of activities we may carry out include tree planting, beach cleaning, natural heritage data collection, path building and helping at the Little Assynt Tree Nursery. Levels of fitness vary between types of activities; I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have, please contact me at the email below. If you have an interest in being outside, improving your fitness, learning a new skill, looking after your local environment or would just like to meet likeminded people; why not join us? The first volunteer day will be on the 24th January 2019 with details of where released nearer to the time. Anyone is more than welcome to join for half an hour or the day! We encourage everyone to try something new and be

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CALL Workshop 6th November 18

On Tuesday, CALL hosted an open workshop in Lochinver to look at the partnership’s achievements so far and the future possibilities. After a talk from our Scheme Manager Boyd, the group split into 4 groups to discuss the question we posed to them: “In light of the 2050 vision, what themes, projects and partnership development needs to be planned for 2022-26?” Attendees included representatives from many local organisations as well as funders, project staff, volunteers and the general public. This led to a large range of ideas being brought forward and discussed in several feedback sessions over the afternoon. Notes made by all groups will now be made into one concise list and analysed by the CALL team for future feasibility within the partnership.

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Visitors! We need your help!

We would love to know how we can improve the information available to visitors to the North West Highlands. Our short survey will help us understand how we can make it easier for you to know what to do, visit, see, try, stay…… Please help us by completing the survey by clicking the link to our SurveyMonkey page below (opens in new tab) Click here to fill out our survey Paper copies are also available at various businesses across Coigach and Assynt. At the end of the survey you can also enter the free prize draw to win a piece of Highland Stoneware pottery. The email will only be used for the prize draw and will not be linked to any of the responses in the questionnaire. Your email will not be held after 14 October 2018 or shared with any other parties. Only the winning entry will receive a confirmation email. Thank you for your help!  

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CALL at the Assynt Games

After a pretty grey start, what a fantastic day we had for the games! The organisers did an amazing job of putting on a wide range of entertainment alongside the more traditional highland game events such as the hammer throw and caber toss. We had a great time meeting so many people from the local community and far beyond. Alongside our information on the area and projects we are currently running, we set up an activities corner for kids. This included animal origami, the return of the fish shoal tree and creating our own woodland throughout the day. Many wonderful creatures were created! We also had local native trees and beautiful Honeysuckle from the Little Assynt Tree Nursery for sale. We had a great time at the games and hope to see you all again next year!

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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 at the Coigach Gathering

On Saturday the annual Coigach Gathering kicked off with a performance from the Achiltibuie and Ullapool Pipers and were followed by many other events throughout the day such as the kids and adult hill races, welly wanging and guess the weight of the salmon. Another scorcher of a day brought crowds of locals and tourists to come and enjoy the sunshine, stalls and BBQ. It was great to speak to so many of you about the area and send some more of the Little Assynt Tree Nursery’s trees and wild flowers to new homes. Alongside our project information and advice we had some activities for kids including origami animals and creating a shoal of hanging fish over the day. A bare branch at the start turned into a colourful rainbow of hanging fish throughout the event. Don’t they look amazing! Thank you to all the kids who did an amazing job of colouring and covering the branch. The next event CALL will have a stall at will be the Assynt Games held in Lochinver on the 10th August. Hope to

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Tree Planting on Isle martin

Last week we held a tree planting session on Isle Martin. 1000 trees were taken by boat to our beautiful community island and planted by volunteers from John Muir Trust and the local community. It was a fantastic day with brilliant weather, all be it too hot! A mixture of native trees from locally sourced seed at Little Assynt Tree Nursery including Eared Willow, Hazel, Birch, Scot’s pine, Dog Rose, Oak, Juniper and Aspen were planted to create a new woodland. the terrain was hard work and the weather didn’t make it any easier, but all the trees were planted at their new home and the experience was enjoyed by all. Especially when ice creams were bought out at lunchtime by an Isle Martin volunteer to cool everyone off! A big thank you goes out to all those who helped on the day, the John Muir Trust volunteers and the Isle Martin Trust and volunteers. Trees were provided through the Woodland Project managed by the Woodland Trust Scotland.   Don’t worry if you couldn’t make it this time, there will

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Calling for Fruity Information!

As part of the Woodland Expansion project, CALL are hoping to develop a couple of community orchards. We are looking for information from anyone who grows fruit in Coigach, Assynt and the surrounding area about what varieties grow well, where you grow it, what you use the fruit for, what tastes good and what problems you have encountered! We are also looking for suggestions for where we could potentially plant orchards in Coigach and Assynt and who would like to be involved in the orchard project. A massive thank you to those who have already been in touch with knowledge and ideas. Please contact Susan at spease@coigach-assynt.org or 01571 844638 with your fruity news!  

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Open Invitation to Community for CALL Steering Meetings

All meetings of the CALL steering group are open to interested members of the public, the next meeting is on 27th June at Glencanisp.  Come along and find out what’s going on! In the past the Coigach – Assynt Living Landscape Steering Group has been open to the public.  However it was agreed last March 2016 that this invitation will be broadcast more widely.  The steering group approved a protocol to institutionalise broader community participation. OPEN MEETING PROTOCOL

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