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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

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Acheninver Path: It’s a brilliant walk!

On a gorgeous sunny September weekend, after 2 hours of cajoling, I was able to coax my 6-year-old daughter into the car and head for the beautiful landscape of Coigach.  Following a 45 minute drive to Acheninver, my grumpy daughter reluctantly set off with me to explore the path to the Acheninver Beach that has recently been upgraded from an informal track to more solid footing. The Acheninver Coastal Path is a project of Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership (CALLP) and is being implemented by Coigach Community Development Company (CCDC) in coordination with Scottish Wildlife Trust.  The path work on the coastal part of the Acheninver Path was finished in the early September 2019 by ACT Heritage Ltd., a contractor with local roots. Starting from East Acheninver the 150m of upgraded path to Acheninver Beach has resolved the wet, peaty slog.  The path builders have now placed steps that provide firmer footing to the beach.  Once on the beach we followed the coast west and crossed the Acheninver burn, Alt Ach’ a’ Bhraighe.  From the burn one can either

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Acheninver Coastal Path Moving Forward

Last Friday I met with the team who are coordinating the upgrade of Acheninver Coastal Path. The startup meeting was the first meeting of the Project Lead with the Contractor and would allow for final clarifications on route and questions on how to deal with challenges on the path. The morning har and rain were a blessing, highlighting trouble spots on the path, and with enough breeze to keep midges at bay. Acheninver Path is an iconic route that leads from the carpark near Achvraie, through Common Grazings to the shore at Acheninver.  The path has been accessed for at least 100 years and leads past several ruins including a post medieval corn mill with millstone.  The project will waymark a route along Acheninver Beach and extend the path to lead to the beach carpark.  The path is linked at Acheninver Beach on the west to the Badenscallie Coastal Path and on the East to the Culnacraig Circular Route Core Path. Coigach Community Development Company put forward the path as one of the Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership (CALLP)

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End of road for £200k Suilven path restoration work

On 21st June 2019 a small ceremony was held to mark the completion of the repairs on the Suilven Path. The ceremony was attended by directors of the Assynt Foundation, and representatives of the Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership and the John Muir Trust, and by the project’s coordinator Chris Goodman who is now concentrating on developing his local woodcraft business, having recently stepped down from his former role. To mark the handover, a framed print of one of Chris Puddephatt’s photos was presented to the Assynt Foundation by John Muir Trust. Chris had been commissioned to document the Suilven Path project through photography and blog posts, which can be found on the Suilven Path page. Read more on the John Muir Trust website (opens new window)

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May Monthly Volunteer Day

May’s volunteer day was held up at Glencanisp Lodge carrying out some path maintenance on the Glencanisp Nature Trail. It was a particularly wet day and the volunteers did a fantastic job despite this! The rain didn’t dampen spirits and singing songs kept us going! The aim of this session was to widen the path back to its original width where some of the plants have overgrown onto the gravel. Armed with a spade a rake and a pair of hands we managed to widen the path on the first straight by the Art Studio. We will organise some more volunteering events to continue this work further along the pathway. We were hoping to record some wildlife as we went but unfortunately the rain prevented this, although we did see three deer with their fresh antlers coming through. Thank you to our volunteers. Watch our Website and Facebook for the next time we venture to Glencanisp. The next scheduled monthly volunteer day is the 27th June where we will be returning to Raffin for a beach clean. Details to follow.

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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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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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Learning The Way!

By Katrina Martin, CALLP Education Manager (Job Share) Ever since I stepped into the role of Education Manager for the Outdoor & Woodland Learning Project I have been excited at the prospect of delivering an Outdoor Learning session themed around paths, especially given the variety of paths and access projects CALLP has. Like many of us, I enjoy going out for walks and accessing beautiful places. Yet until relatively recently I didn’t give a second thought to where I was placing my feet. A growing awareness has cultivated an appreciation for the impressively hard graft and the people involved in path work, which I feel is a valuable thing to share given that most of us find ourselves traversing footpaths at some point or another, and will be increasingly so in Coigach and Assynt! With the imminent completion of the Suilven path work, we were presented with a great opportunity to bring a path-themed Outdoor Learning day to fruition on a collaboration project with John Muir Trust Paths Project Officer, Chris Goodman, and the Assynt Foundation. For the past couple

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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

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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

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