,

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

,

October Monthly Volunteer Day

Autumn seems to of come around so fast this year! A beautiful crisp day with on off showers meant we had a rainbow for most of the session! As our penultimate volunteer day this year we went for an autumnal stroll with a purpose: to collect Rose hips for the Little Assynt Tree Nursery in order to grow more. We were joined by Nick and Susan from the tree nursery to show us the best place for collecting, leaving behind enough for reproduction and wildlife. Fortunately, the walking was easy as we ended up searching along roadsides, but the real challenge was getting to the bush and then getting the hips without being spiked! We all had a great day, despite the spikes, and collected plenty for Nick and Susan to use. The next step is for the seeds to be extracted from the red, fleshy hips and sit in a cool, dark, dry place for about 18 months before planting. If planted any sooner they will simply not grow yet, they need a little time to be dormant. Thank

,

Going Wild in the Woods

Last week our 7 day Woodland Activity Leader Training came to an end. This is a little sum up of the week! What are the benefits of outdoor education?: exercise, resilience, learning coping strategies, risk awareness, sustainability, build immune system, develop skills such as problem solving, confidence, suits different learning styles, love and respect for natural world, knowledge, personal development, social, motor skills, coordination, stress reduction, balance, wonder and imagination, awaken the senses, wider context understanding, fresh air, muscle development, help sleep, reduce depression, reduce anxiety, economic benefits (free learning, reduce pollution and better education) and most importantly its FUN!!! What are the worlds needs for it: biodiversity loss, pollution, climate change, loss of natural spaces, fragmentation of habitats, natural resource depletions, increase in loneliness, depression, anxiety, stress – ‘epidemic’, disconnection to environment, diabetes, obesity and an increase in health issues. And there are many more for both! Outdoor learning’s value is constantly growing and is supported by many government bodies, charities and legislation, giving children every chance to experience their environment and love it while learning. Many have heard

,

Scottish Wildlife Trust Staff Conference 2019

This month we went to join colleagues at the Scottish Wildlife Trust Staff conference in Seamill, Ayrshire. It was a great two days where we got to catch up with other Living Landscape teams, head office staff and learn about other projects going on at the Trust. On day 1 Fiona and Laura held a workshop, a chance to slow down and show us your favourite wild space and experiment with artist supplies. Alongside the CALL workshop other colleagues had organised a range of other activities, allowing us to be a little childlike and learn tips and skills to take back to Coigach and Assynt. I myself joined the Wild Ways Well Team from Cumbernauld Living Landscape, enjoying a walk in nature and learning how to experience woodland and beaches in a more sensory way than just our eyes. For more information on Cumbernauld Living Landscape click here. Day 1 finished off with a quiz. Not to say we are competitive, but we came second! A great quiz set up by Cumbernauld and Trust Staff where each category was related

,

What to Spot – August Edition

Wow, August already and our fourth joint wildlife blog with Coigach and Assynt Living Landscape Partnership (CALLP). Lots of human visitors are just arriving on their summer holidays this month but, for many birds, plants and animals this is autumn and the start of preparations for winter! Many of the birds that passed through, and over, Coigach and Assynt in the spring on migration to their northern breeding grounds in Iceland and Greenland are now doing the reverse journey after, hopefully, a successful breeding season. One bird species that maybe we don’t always think of as a migrant is the Oystercatcher, Haematopus ostralegus. These unmistakable black and white waders with their long, stout orange bill do breed locally but many migrate to Iceland to do so. One great example of this was a colour-ringed Oystercatcher first spotted at Bay of Culkein on 18 September 2018. The details of this bird were sent to the British Trust for Ornithology and a few days later it’s history was received from the Iceland based International Wader Study Group. This male bird was previously

,

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

,

Orographic outdoor performance comes to CALL

Heard about our exciting performance coming up? Intrigued by the man on the banner on Culag Playing Field in his fantastic costume and face paint? Wondered what it’s all about? Wonder no more! Find out more about Orographic below, a wonderful performance being brought to Little Assynt All Abilities Path on July 23rd, 2pm. Not to be missed!   Oceanallover in association with Feral presents Orographic Spectacular outdoor performance fusing street theatre, live music and sculptural costume design inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s landscape paintings and humankind’s relationship to mountains. Orographic is a new outdoor performance by leading physical theatre performance troupe Oceanallover inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s landscape paintings and humankind’s relationship to mountains. During July the company will be thrilling audiences across Scotland with FREE performances at unique outdoor locations showcasing their unique brand of street theatre combing carnival costume design and live music. Oceanallover’s Artistic Director, Alex Rigg, has a long time interest in the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and in particular his lesser known landscape paintings.  By the early 1920s, Mackintosh had abandoned his architectural practice entirely

,

Wildlife to spot in June

In this, our second joint blog with Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape, we hope to give you an idea of some of our amazing wildlife to look out for in June. June can be a ‘quiet’ month for birds, from a human perspective at least, as the singing often stops for a while this month but does pick up again later on. Most of our birds will have had at least their first brood by now and so will be busy feeding their youngsters and, in some species, these will be from their second brood! One bird you will probably notice having gone quiet is the Cuckoo, Cuculus canorus, as it will not be long until the adults start their autumn migration back to Africa. Of course, their youngsters are now being looked after by the adults of another species which, in Assynt, is generally the Meadow Pipit, Anthus pratensis! Look out for female Eider, Somateria mollissima with ducklings This large duck will often form crèches so you can see two or three females with a large number of youngsters.

,

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.

,

What to Spot: May Edition

In partnership with Assynt Field Club, we are adding a new regular blog to our website where we hope to be able to give you an idea of the wildlife that you can look out for over the next month. This could be migratory species, insects, etc. They may have hibernated over winter or species that can be seen all year round. We would love to know if you see any of the species listed or have any photos of your encounters. Assynt Field Club’s website is a great resource to help you understand and identify species seen within Assynt and the general CALL area. There is a photo library as well as current and historical sightings by members of the club, local residents and visitors to the area. Please visit their website for more information, events coming up and to add your sightings to their database. http://www.assyntwildlife.org.uk/ This blog will look at some May species and possible places to see them. There is so much more to see than we can cover, and you don’t need to go far

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