,

Taking the Posties Path – Gabhail a’Chreig

In the 1860’s postman Kenneth McLennan carried the mail twice a week from Ullapool to Achiltibuie, a distance of 23km. Today’s Posties Path is still challenging but runs for a shorter distance, covering the 11km between Achduart in Coigach, and Blughasary at Strathcanaird. Although both ends of the path are incorporated into core paths (Culnacraig Circular and Dun Canna Core Paths), the central section of the route is still a serious undertaking with treacherous sections. Improvement to the Posties Path are being implemented by the Scottish Wildlife Trust (in coordination with Keanchulish Estate) as a project within the Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership (CALLP) Scheme. The aim of the project is not to provide an aggregate-topped path, similar to other CALLP projects such as Acheninver Path or sections of the Suilven Path, but rather to improve access over the most awkward sections and obstacles. Early one sunny morning in March I walked the path with the Scottish Wildlife Trust North Reserves Team to review the work so far. Starting from Achduart on the Ben Mòr Coigach Estate we walked

,

The Big Climate Fightback: Tree Planting at Little Assynt

Guest Blog by Alison Roe   Saturday 30th November Quinag looms high on the horizon, glowing gently in the afternoon sun as I pull into the car park by the tree nursery at Little Assynt. I’m here for the tree planting event, organised by CALLP in partnership with The Woodland Trust, and we’re definitely lucky with the weather. Rain and high winds are forecast for the coming week but today it’s beautiful – cold and clear – a great day to be outside and good conditions for planting trees. The area to be planted is just a few minutes walk along the path from the car park: a little hollow open to the east with views over to Quinag. Even though I’ve arrived quite early, there are already quite a few folk busy with spades, with Elaine on hand to explain what to do. I comment on the beauty of the location. Elaine explains that they chose this particular spot for its easy access and for its suitability for planting: it’s not too steep and is mostly grass and bracken

,

A Beautiful Day for a Beach Clean!

A big thank you to those that turned out for our Badentarbert Beach clean on the 20th with High Life Highland Ranger Jenny. We couldn’t of asked for a better day! The sun was shining, and we had beautiful views across to Tanera Mor. Achiltiebuie Primary School even joined us in the morning and picked 2 bags full of rubbish to start off the beach clean and learnt about marine waste and its consequences. This was a different challenge for us as the beach was mostly tiny bits of rope, string and plastic amongst the washed in kelp and seaweed. A lot of hard work and patience was needed to remove this type of litter. One day is not enough to finish the beach but we made a good start and removed 154kg of marine litter. Thank you again for coming along and helping as well as a big thank you to those who clean up the beaches when they visit.

,

Orographic Performance comes to Little Assynt All Abilities Path

Last Tuesday we had some visitors to Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape by the name of Oceanallover. Currently they are on a tour of Scotland, performing their amazing Orographic piece. When we were first contacted about hosting a performance, we were intrigued and a look at their website and past events just made us want them to perform in the amazing landscape Coigach and Assynt have to offer event more! Myself and Laura spent days brainstorming on a place that would be perfect for their performance which is inspired by mountains, emotion and ecology. One site visit to Little Assynt and we knew it had to be there. We sent pictures of our walk and the views over to Oceanallover and Feral Arts, who are the producers for the show, and they all agreed this would be the place! After months of planning, the time came for us to meet Oceanallover on the Monday before the performance and show them around the site. The weather had other ideas and thick cloud and heavy drizzle obscured the mountains and most of

,

A Return to Raffin

June’s monthly volunteer day was held at Raffin Beach, caring out a second beach clean on the first strip of the beach and moving onto the second. The John Muir Trust run working holidays, and this was the week they were up in Coigach and Assynt, all 10 of them joining the CALL volunteers to help clean the beach. It was an absolutely beautiful day. When we stopped for lunch it was hard to get going again and not just bathe in the sunshine! Despite the temptation, the volunteers carried on all day, collecting 250kg of bagged rubbish plus a lot of large plastic items and even a tyre. An amazing effort and so happy that we managed to get to the next stretch of beach. Our previous clean was 8 months ago and thankfully the rubbish had not returned to the state of before. Alongside collecting marine litter, we were also keeping our eyes open for any birds or creatures that had been washed in or any mermaid’s purses, the capsules made by Skates and Catfish for their young.

,

A hill walk celebration

The P7 John Muir Award finale involved a hill walk up Quinag today. We were guided safely up the mountain by several mountain leaders, including the head teacher of Ullapool High School, Robbie McFedries who joined us to spend some quality time with next academic year’s S1s. It was wonderful seeing how the P7s from the area’s primary schools have gelled; getting to know each other over the duration of the year with this high school transition programme as we have met up to discover, explore, conserve and share a special place from the locale of each school. Our day together today provided the opportunity to get up high and look over the landscape that incorporates all these locations. We managed to get brief glimpses as clouds shifted and cleared intermittently. There was support all round as we faced the challenges ahead of us. For many it was a first time up a hill, and everybody did extraordinarily well. We are so proud of each and every P7 for going for it and embracing the walk, which wasn’t always easy.

,

Volunteer Training at Achlochan

This week we ran a 2-day course for the Achlochan Project volunteers to get trained in using brush-cutters and strimmers. This course was LANTRA accredited and covered maintaining the machines as well as safe usage. All the trainees passed and now are qualified to use strimmers and brush-cutters to help maintain the Achlochan site. Although the weather was brisk, we had a great time and managed to clear a whole field of reeds between us! It was amazing how much ground we could cover in the time. Photos of progress and after below! This training was funded through the Achlochan Project. This project is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, EB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Historic Environment Scotland, Pilgrim Trust, Robert Kiln Charitable Trust plus individual and community donors.

,

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

,

We’ve ‘Done’ Suilven

Guest blog by Chris Goodman, Path Project Officer for the John Muir Trust I look at my watch, it’s 5.30pm and it’s still a long walk back to Glencanisp from the steep slope on the north side of Suilven. It’s the last day on site of the path repair project and it’s been all hands on deck getting everything finished off. The last bit of pitching has turned into an epic with the steep ground above collapsing, water gushing out of a spring and an ever spreading mess of peat. Xabi, Luke and Alec have been toiling away with it all day and it’s finally done. We set off from Glencanisp just after 8am and it’ll be 7pm before we get back down, but the job’s done. In fact that’s pretty much the whole Suilven path project done (bar the final paper work). Three years of project development and fund-raising and two summers of hands-on construction and it’s done. But as with a hill walker celebrating they’ve ‘done’ Suilven, a path repair project is never done, because a hill can

,

The Final Push

Guest blog by commissioned photographer, Chris Puddephatt Only a few days left now; the whole project is nearing completion. Time has flown. Scary. At the beginning of this season I met Chris Goodman to identify a few sites as likely candidates for “before and after” shots and got the first set in the bag. Now I’m back with him trying to identify the same sections of muddy or stony eroded path for the follow-up. Some are really easy, but others prove a challenge as they’ve changed so much. As I start shooting, I realise that the first set were on a different camera/ lens combination, and it’s not making it easier….. My fault; I should’ve checked before I left home. Anyway, the pictures speak for themselves. Job done! The lower path workers are long gone, but the Arran boys are still here. Today I meet up with Alec and Xabi again, and also Johny and Rab who I’ve not seen since 2017. I have to admit that I’ve missed these folks, and I hardly know them really. And this is

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter to keep informed about the latest news from our projects and upcoming events, training and volunteer opportunities.

Get involved

Find out how you can get involved with the project through events, training and volunteering opportunities