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A Spring Clean for Culag Wood’s Beaches

This week we held a beach clean at Culag Woods, concentrating on the two beaches north of the White Shore. Although it had been beautiful sunshine all week, the grey skies didn’t stop our volunteers from doing a wonderful job. In just 2 hours we managed to clean two beaches of 10kilos of small pieces of fishing rope, twine and fishing line. Good eyes where a must on these beaches. Unlike previous beach cleans there where hardly any large items to clean. Residents and visitors of Lochinver do a brilliant job at removing larger items when they wash in. There are also boxes located at the two northern beaches that marine waste can be put in to be collected at a later date. So, on Thursday, we concentrated on smaller items tangled in the seaweed, searching through the layers to find the brightly coloured plastic lines. A massive thank you to those who came along to help me and to those who regularly remove litter from Culag Woods or any beach. The next volunteer event will be held on the

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Postponement of Festival

Due to unforeseen circumstances we have had to unexpectantly postpone our Food of the Sea Festival, scheduled to be held at Culag Park, Lochinver on the 14th April until further notice. The organisers apologise for any inconvenience and following coordination with our partner organisations we will announce a new date. Vickii and the CALL team would like to thank those who were joining us on the day, volunteering or hoping to visit and hope we can arrange this new date soon. In the meantime, please look out for upcoming announcements on our Community Grant Scheme recipients, our Suilven Path Management Handover Celebration and April Volunteer Beach Clean events. If you would like to be kept up to date with what’s going on at CALL please join our mailing list by emailing Vickii vcampen@coigach-assynt.org

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Update on our Fin-tastic Food of the Sea Festival

Just over 5 weeks to go to our Food of the Sea Festival here in Lochinver and we are busy making sure there are plenty of activities and seafood for the event. There are still opportunities for anyone to be involved: we are looking for seafood producers who would be interested in selling produce to or at the festival, volunteers for helping set up/ take down of the event and First Aiders for the day. For those that haven’t visited, Lochinver is a fishing village on the west coast, central for Coigach and Assynt. Many boats come in and out of the busy harbour bringing in fish and shellfish from the Minch and beyond. It’s a beautiful spot to relax and watch seabirds or enjoy a day exploring the surrounding area including the famous mountain Suilven which was featured in the film Edie last year. So, what should you expect from the festival? Well, Culag park will be transformed into our sea themed festival with marquees of goodies and opportunities to learn about the local area’s marine life. Scottish Wildlife

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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.

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Community Grants Scheme now open!

The third year of our Community Grants Scheme is now open for applications! The Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Community Grants Scheme could offer you or your organisation financial assistance to conserve and enhance the natural, cultural or built heritage of the Coigach and Assynt regions. Grants available up to £1,000 for individuals or £5,000 for organisations. The Community Grants Scheme encourages and supports projects where: Heritage is better managed, in better condition, and/or identified / recorded People have developed skills, learnt about heritage, and/or volunteered time Communities have reduced environmental impacts, more engagement with heritage, and/or the area will be a better place to work, live and visit. Full grant criteria and terms and conditions can be found on the application form. See the Community Grants Scheme project page for details and to download the application form. Deadline for submissions is 12 noon on Monday 4th March! The Community Grants Scheme is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Scottish Natural Heritage.

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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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Lochinver: the Plaice to be this April!

Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership are delighted to announce this year we will be holding a ‘Food of the Sea Festival’ on Sunday the 14th April 2019 at Culag Park, Lochinver. It will be a one-day event showcasing local producers, suppliers and businesses from the Coigach and Assynt area to celebrate the fin-tastic seafood we have available here. Alongside produce stalls we hope to have some live cooking sessions where you can try some different ways of preparing and using local ingredients. Live music and family activities will also be scheduled over the day. If you would be interested in having a stall, showing us your cooking skills or supplying the event please get in touch! We would love to have as many local businesses and charities as possible join us for the celebration. Keep your eyes peeled for the logo reveal and more information of the event! Contact: Vickii Campen email: vcampen@coigach-assynt.org Office: 01571 844638

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Warmer, warmer, colder… GPS training for habitat condition monitoring

On a soggy and breezy Thursday and Friday in December we ran GPS training workshops for people involved with deer management who need to undertake habitat condition monitoring as part of the area’s deer management plans. Data will be gathered over a number of years, on two habitat types: blanket bog and dwarf shrub heath, to assess the impact deer browsing is having. This data can then be used in conjunction with count data and other factors to help set population targets for the areas. All this has the ultimate aim of creating a healthy habitat that supports all species living within it. GPS trackers are used for setting up the monitoring plots and to find the same plot in following years to measure the change in condition. GPS is used to give a grid reference for mapping where the monitor plots are and this grid reference is what guides the person doing the monitoring back to the same spot. A marker stake is left in the ground at the site of the monitor plot but as the stake shouldn’t

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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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