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New nature trail unveiled in Assynt

A new nature trail has been opened at Glencanisp Lodge in Assynt to formally launch one of Europe’s largest landscape scale conservation projects. The trail is part of the Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership Scheme and has been created by the Assynt Foundation with funding from players of the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the Scottish Rural Development Programme. The short trail passes through mixed woodland that surrounds Glencanisp Lodge and provides stunning elevated views of Suilven. It also links with the longer walks through the surrounding estate. It was officially opened on Saturday 3 June by Bella MacAskill, the youngest school pupil in the parish, and Jonny Hughes, Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust. Jonny Hughes, Chief Executive, Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “This new nature trail is just part of a huge range of projects that are benefiting people and wildlife in Coigach and Assynt with the support of players of the National Lottery and many other funders. By working together the partners in this Living Landscape project are showing how to deliver conservation

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The Long and Winding Path to Suilven

Guest blog by Chris Goodman, Path Project Officer for the John Muir Trust After a 2½ hour walk carrying tools, Wednesday saw work start on repairing the path to Suilven. Contract team Arran Footpaths stuck the first spade in the ground as they began efforts to consolidate the steep path on the North side of the iconic community owned mountain.                                   Next week will see a second contract team, A.C.T Heritage, start work on the approach path to Suilven from Glencanisp which crosses some very wet and boggy ground. Over the next 3 months they will work to create 800m of narrow, meandering hill path where currently a vague and ever widening peaty trod exists. The path repair project is a culmination of 5 years of development work through the Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership (CALLP) which brings together 14 partners to deliver a range of environmental and cultural projects. “It’s been a long journey developing the project from observations I first made

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From Hill to Grill: Ullapool High School pupils meet their meat

Second year pupils from Ullapool High School spent two days on the hill with professional deer stalkers to learn about wild venison as part of the Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership scheme’s (CALLP) Outdoor and Woodland Learning Project. Rangers and stalkers from the Assynt Foundation, John Muir Trust and Highland Council Ranger Service taught the pupils tracking techniques to allow them to get up close to red deer – the UK’s largest land mammal. They learned how to navigate across rough and uneven terrain, identify tracks, and how to avoid being sensed. They were also shown recently culled deer and given a lesson on butchering methods out on the hill. The deer were then transported to Glencanisp Lodge where the pupils learned more about butchery and got a taste of barbequed venison, ahead of a focused cooking session at Ullapool High School where the pupils made a selection of dishes including meatballs, chilli and cottage pie. CALLP Education Manager Fiona Saywell said: “Many people’s only experience of meat is plastic wrapped products that are indistinguishable from the animal they

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