Our Gathering in 2015 was in the dramatic north west area of Assynt at Glencanisp Lodge near Lochinver.
The area has more forestry and community projects than you can shake a stick at and we joined with the key players to hear about the issues around the sites. This included a visit to the John Muir Trust’s Quinag property to hear about the high profile and difficult situation of deer grazing on a designated woodland – very topical due to the Land Reform debate that seeks to address the problem of controlling Scotland’s deer population. To provide practical evidence Helen Armstrong and Kate Holl ran a workshop to demonstrate a new and useful method of assessing herbivore impacts in woodlands.
We heard how the Assynt Foundation are managing their land after the historic community buy-out and we visited a tree nursery run as one of many projects by the by the Coigach Assynt Living Landscape Partnership (CALL) – Europe’s largest landscape scale community conservation project working on woodland creation, expansion and connection. Charcoal making demonstrations, fire gremlin making, a lively ceilidh at Lochinver village hall on Saturday and delicious catering by Tiril Planterose added to the weekend. There were other inspiring talks and updates on the work of Reforesting Scotland at our AGM on Sunday morning.
The buildings tour on Friday afternoon was hosted by RS founders Bernard and Emma Planterose at Leckmelm Wood near Ullapool where the innovative eco-houses and workshop provided inspiration on the possibilities of low impact living in the woods.