The new residents at the Guardian Croft have launched a web page inviting people to come and stay “off-grid”.
Get away from it all (literally!)
A warm welcome will be waiting from ourselves and Bruce! Coming to stay at Guardian Croft, on Scoraig will be an experience that few people get to try nowadays.
When you hear the phrase “getting away from it all”, it doesn’t usually mean ALL. You still have access to your car and shops and other 21st century ‘luxuries’.
Coming to see us will allow you to let all that fall away, along with all your stresses and strains. Life will slow right down and all those niggly little things, that seem so important in the everyday, will have no significance.
That’s not to say we expect you to revert to a caveman existence! We plan to have toilets – environmentally-friendly and clean composting ones; showers – powered mostly by the sun; a boat – to get you back and forth across the Loch, to explore the wonders of Wester Ross (if you haven’t walked in from Badralloch); and plenty of home-grown food. There’s even good mobile phone signal (dependant on network), but then, you’ll want to turn it off anyway, right?
We will have our version of ‘Glamping’ available. A nice big Yurt – set in beautiful Broadleaf Woodland, with stunning Loch views – insulated, with a wood-burner, furniture and easy access to the toilet and shower.
Ullapool Community Trust is delighted to announce that lots of local voters took part in the recent Lael Forest Community Hydro ballot and that a huge proportion of people voted in favour of the proposal. All of the Trust’s directors and staff would like to thank everyone for their interest, question, involvement and votes!
The ballot was sent to the 1738 voters living between Gruinard and Elphin and was returned by 1010 people which equates to a response rate of 58.11%. Of the returns 96.53% voted in favour of the proposals from UCT for hydro schemes at Lael Forest.
As the ballot has shown strong local support for the Lael Forest Community Hydro project UCT will now work on a National Forest Land Scheme application to lodge with the Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS). Since the burns are on FCS land the application is required and must be approved before more feasibility work can be carried out. A successful application will also allow the community to develop the projects if local people continue to support the proposal once more investigation work is completed. The National Forest Land Scheme application will be lodged with the FCS this autumn and UCT will keep the community updated on progress over the coming weeks and months.
At this stage UCT are keen to establish a team to help progress the project. If you would be interested in being part of the team or want to find out more about what would be involved please contact the Trust’s Local Development Officer Ewan Young or a UCT directors. Contact details available here.
More info on the Lael Forest Community Hydro project is also available.
I heard on the wireless that there was a meeting in Lochinver about the benefits to the ecosystem we can gain by reintroducing some of the species which naughty humans have wiped off the landscape in the last several hundred years.
I believe Wolves and Bears were mentioned and advocated by some speakers.
What fun, well, fun if you are safely housed in your nice city and can then swoop off to the countryside now and then. No harm can come to you as long as you stay in or near your car. And keep the windows shut.
Not so good if you are a sheep or new born calf on the hill in winter weather I imagine, or it could be rough times if you are a small child walking to school, or even perhaps in the playground. Probably a bit shaky if you are a shepherd checking your sheep on the hill.
Now I’m all for restoring the ecosystem to the way it was but I suggest that we should work back through the things that have most recently been wiped out.
I think we should start off with a bit of a major gesture and get smallpox going again. That would be a start and might reduce the population a bit. All those mumps and measles which we had when I was a child weren’t very effective but TB (Or Consumption as our great grandmothers called it) could help a bit. Nothing else comes to mind at the moment, so when the above scourges have got properly established maybe we should get the wolves and bears cranked up.
In this way there would be a MORE LEVEL PLAYING FIELD and city dwellers would cop it as much as those who live in the country and have spent the last 1000 or so years making it a reasonably habitable place.
Oh, I forgot sabre tooth tigers but I fear those are rather hard to come by.
Scoraig Community Association
Members meeting 20.1.10
Present: Laurence Glass (Chair) Cathy Dagg (secretary) Hugh Piggott, Jytte Piggott, Malcolm Alston, Aggie Brudenell, Jill Beavitt, Bill Burstall, Nick Lancaster, Andy Cox, Jessie Millard, Pat Sherrington, Susan MacSweeney, Joany MacGuire
There is not much to report. About £1000 has been spent on the road job over the past 2 months, and it should be possible to get another £1000 before the end of the financial year, so we are on track to spend the full road budget with the assumption that we will get the same amount again in the next financial year, but not an increase. There should be enough money in the account, together with funds raised at the forthcoming Burns Night, to pay for work on Badluarach pier shed.
2.0 Road Job
It was noted that resurfacing the 3m stretch below Nigel’s gate cost £150 for chippings. A discussion on the optimum depth of chippings ensued, with 3 inches being preferred. Work is still held back by Chris’s speed of producing chippings, but it is hoped he’ll speed up now that he has been blasting again. More chippings have been ordered but Chris probably needs reminding. (Bill will do so) It was noted that the correct cost of chippings is £86 +VAT per load. Laurence suggested a new technique of pre-mixing sand and gravel in a mixer, and a discussion ensued on the most efficient way of doing this. It was noted that nothing has been done yet about the bottom corner at Chris’ although Kevin had expressed an interest in doing the work.
There has been some response to the note put out about unwanted trailers at Badluarach jetty. Some may be suitable to provide parts for a cobbled together road menders trailer. A second reminder will be sent out before trailers are brought over, and there will be a pause for owners to reclaim them if they wish. This will be done when the days get longer and probably in conjunction with work on the Badluarach pier shed. The aim of the exercise is also to get rid of scrap from Badluarach side, so Karl will be approached about this.
4.0 Mooring Boat
The Serena has a split in the transom that could do with repairing. The wooden boat will be tarred by Aggie when the weather gets warm enough. Laurence will take the pump to Caley Marina to get the new diaphragm.
5.0 Lock-up Garages
Dougie and Gail wonder if there would be interest in lock-up garages at the bottom of their croft. They would build them and rent them out. We will get more information and prices before advertising further.
6.0 Solar panels for Topher’s shed
Djinni may be upgrading and replacing her present panels which would be suitable
7.0 Boat Parking
The shifting of boats to west of the pier is successful in creating plenty of room to the east, and the SCA thanks everyone who has done so.
8.0 Attracting new residents
Apologies for referring to young families in the note, as it should be made clear people of all ages will be welcomed.
Cathy suggested that the people who are trying to sell property are having no luck, and that a trial period of Scoraig life for a few weeks or months would enable people to make an informed decision about moving here before having to make the large financial commitment of buying, and that it would be in the long term interest of the sellers to allow their properties to be rented. SCA could act as agents,
Reservations about the proposal included:
- That the owners haven’t up to now been keen to rent
- That newcomers may turn out to be ‘undesirables’ who the refuse to leave
- That it’s too much responsibility or risk for the SCA to take on
- Owners of houses want to continue to be able to come and stay
Suggested alternatives included:
- Build new housing stock or create new crofts
- Build a house for the SCA to manage and let to prospective newcomers
- Contact the Highland Community Housing Trust
- Advertising campaign
Major problems for newcomers perceived as lack of work opportunities
The following actions were agreed:
Letter to house-owners suggesting letting scheme (Lathams, Paul and Sheila, Kathryn Cooper)
Targeted advertising in publications like Practical Self Sufficiency
Produce fact sheet including accounts of personal experiences of recent newcomers.
Next meeting March 24th.
Just a little update on events.
This Wednesday 5th 3.30-4.45pm- Cinema Club for Primary pupils- Happy Feet 2
Friday 14th, 7.30 pm – Film Night for all ‘Hugo’
Monday 17th 12 noon-1pm– Songs, mince pies and coffee at the Primary school building. All welcome .Please spread the word.
Wednesday 19th– 12.30 lunch provided by the STG, Santa visit, games.
Thursday 20th –School closes at 12.40. School opens Monday 7th January 2013.
Have a lovely holiday from all at Scoraig School. Many thanks for your continued support.
Scoraig Community Association
Members Meeting 25.11.12
Present: Directors: Laurence Glass, Cathy Dagg, Hugh Piggott, Jytte Piggott, Aggie Brudenell, Nigel Rushforth, Malcolm Alston Members: Estha Cutler, Bill Burstall
Apologies: Susan McSweeney
1. SCA Finances
The SCA has £600 in the bank and is owed £900 by HC. There is still £2000 to be spent on roadwork this financial year. Hugh has been adding the 10% administrative surcharge to HC invoices.
2. Fireworks for Bonfire Night
The STG approached Laurence to ask if the SCA would share the costs. Laurence then paid the 50% himself. It was agreed to reimburse Laurence and that it was good to support this community event
The question was raised as to whether we need to carry out a fundraising event. The ideas of a summer agricultural show or vintage tractor show were raised. It was agreed to organise the usual Burns Supper in January.
4. Pier Shed: Badluarach
The question of who actually owns the pier shed has not yet been answered. It does not belong to Highland Council and is probably on Estate land. This may be investigated further but it is more likely we will just go ahead with repairs. Bill has costed as follows: top rail for the sliding door £160, the door itself can be patched up, runner at the bottom of the door would be £100 or it could be given a groove during raising of the floor. It seems it will be a relatively easy job to cut a space for a cheap window, using the existing lintel. The birds nests and lime deposits will be pressure washed out and the leak on the back wall fixed. Total costs of materials and work £300.
5. Pier Shed: Scoraig
The broken windows have been fixed and some painting done. Bill may finish the painting soon if the weather is good. The 30m of replacement cladding will be bought next week. Topher is pleased with the work so far. There is an issue with the guttering on the east side, which drips onto the notice board, but this is because the corrugated roofing is too short. The guttering could be taken off altogether, but the water barrel on the downpipe is useful. There is now no electricity in the shed after the wind turbine fell down and it was agreed a minimum 12v supply would be good. Some of the batteries may be good enough and it may be possible to install a cheap solar panel. It was suggested lights be put on a timer.
6. Trailers in the Badluarach car park.
There are several boat trailers and a couple of ordinary trailers, some of unknown ownership, many probably redundant and taking up space. It was suggested it may be possible to convert some of these to a road menders trailer. It was agreed to put a note out to find owners and set a deadline for claiming ownership. Bill is prepared to try a conversion.
7. Road Job
This is being held back by the lack of a suitable trailer. Stock trailers aren’t up to the job. It was agreed to investigate cost and availability of tougher trailers
Aggregate from Chris Latham. This has worked well on its trial section, compacting well. The SCA is willing to order more, maybe 5 trailer loads before the end of the financial year, but this is held back by how quickly Chris can produce the material.
There was a discussion on at what stage potholes should be filled. If they are left until they are deep enough, they can be filled with large stones which will last longer.
Cathy requested that cleaning out the ditches along the Badrallach footpath be prioritised, as the recent wet weather has demonstrated the damage being done by running water on the path. It was agreed that this was valid work for the road menders, although our remit is only as far as the Cathair gate. Agreed after a vote that payment should cover time spent walking from the Ruigh’riabhach gate. Cathy will monitor work and sign off time sheets.
8. Pier improvements
No developments. The Nitrox is due to come soon with primary school fuel, which may be an opportunity for dredging.
9. Boats at Scoraig Pier Area
The foreshore east of the pier is crowded, but not all boats there are in frequent use. It was suggested some infrequently used boats could be moved to the west side of the pier. Bill agreed the Dolly Parton, which is due to go into the shed for repairs in January, can go west afterwards. The Paint Tray can also go west after the big animal feed ferry. The Serena can go up to the bracken when the mooring boat goes back in the water. The Red Rose is left by Malcolm at Scoraig so that other people can use it as required through the winter and he expressed concern it would be harder to launch from the west side, also more vulnerable to storms. It was agreed to leave it to the east at present. Hugh made the suggestion a clear route be left from the shore, through the parked boats to the bracken.
Jytte mentioned that boats pulled up to the west during the last pier tidy up now obscure Alan and Kath’s view of the pier. It was agreed it would be good to move these.
10. Role of the SCA
Cathy suggested one of the most pressing issues on Scoraig was the declining population and falling school roll, together with the increasing number of empty houses and the failure of houses put on the market to sell. There are at present fewer opportunities for interested people to have a trial period at little cost and commitment. The SCA could play an important role in arranging and managing short term stays, if the various house owners were agreeable and contactable. The internet could be used to advertise availability.
Next meeting 20.1.13 at 2.30 in SSS Cathy
Reach page under the lighthouse photo above, and click SCA> Document Downloads.
Scoraig Community now has 14 fully trained volunteer First Responders ready to give support in medical emergencies 24 hrs a day where possible.
Thank you sincerely to all the very dedicated volunteers for supporting their community in this way, this now allows skills and equipment to be available to help someone who really does need assistance due to an acute medical condition.
We will be supported by the Scottish Ambulance Service with additional ongoing training skills. We may review the future possibility of gaining landing lights on the peninsula. We appreciate the support from the Scottish Ambulance Service, who assist us with the training and equipment.
What to do in an emergency?
- In a medical emergency dial 999 and ask for the ambulance service and they will deploy the Scoraig First Responders to appropriate calls.
- An ambulance/ helicopter maybe be dispatched immediately which will be clinically driven by the patients condition.
- The caller will be asked some further questions to help the emergency services this will not delay the response by the ambulance service.
- Two first responders will be dispatched as soon as possible and provide medical care until the emergency services reach the scene.
Helicopter landing areas (Provisional)
These grid references may assist the helicopter reaching you promptly and safely.
The Coran – (the field between The White House and the Dome)
NG 99703 96229
There are 3 wind turbines to be mindful of: NG 00601 96262
NG 99626 96146
NG 99710 96139
Rireavach _ (the flat field near Nuala’s house)
NH 02709 95296
Turbine to be mindful of: NH 02732 95239
Achmore _(west of Debbie’s house)
NH 02133 96867
Turbine to be mindful of: NH 02140 96812
(Thank you to Nick for the grid references)
Thanks to Miriam Darlington for this video showing some otters lurking along the shores.