Below is the first of a series of proposed updates from the Applecross Trust, with the aim of providing insight into some of the activity that has been taking place.
Planning Aid Scotland - Plan-It Applecross
The Trust has shared with the Community Company its response to the consultation on the draft Community Land Use Plan which was issued on 3rd May. All responses are to be considered in detail at a meeting with Higland Council on 17th June.
There is a plan to develop allotments on a patch of ground close to the hydro. The Allotment Group is community run, and the allotments would be for the benefit of the community. The Trust has provided outline terms to Kirsten Mackie and Lynn Turner for consideration.
The Sports Group has presented initial ideas to the Applecross Forum for various leisure facilities. Although very broad, the proposal shows a staged approach of long and short-term possibilities, which may include a natural pool, gym and sports pitch. The Trust has indicated its agreement in principle to these initial proposals.
Hartfield Applecross Ltd
The Venture Trust vacated Hartfield on 31st March. The hostel is now being run by the Trust through a newly formed subsidiary, Hartfield Applecross Limited. All staff have been retained, and the plan is to maintain the current mix of businesses on site, and to expand the hostel enterprise over the coming year.
New Members of the team
The Trust is delighted that Jess Whistance has joined the team to provide marketing and book keeping services for Hartfield, as well as a wider communications role for the Trust..
Isabelle Kerjose is now working to maintain the network of paths and to assist with general estate work.
The Trust apologises for the short notice of the commencement of operations. The date was brought forward from September on the advice of Scottish Woodlands in the light of rapidly changing market conditions.
The stacking area and access road are now complete. Material for constructing the 85 metre-long road was secured from Gateway Woodland, and the sides of the stacking area are being sloped to blend with the landscape.
The harvester is now on site, with timber harvesting commencing on the upper section, furthest from the main road. This will be stacked and collected by lorry.
Initial discussions have taken place with the Community Company and the woodlands group to identify the potential for the establishment of a community woodland, and the practical issues involved.
Uags Atlantic Oakwood
A woodland creation scheme between the Trust and Jimmy Fraser, the crofter at Uags, was developed on 8.2 hectares (20 acres) within the remnant woodland.
The site is considered of national importance, and Atlantic Oakwood expansion in the northern areas of the country are encouraged by national policy. A new deer fence to protect the existing woodland, the natural regeneration and the newly planted trees has been completed. Materials were lifted to the site by helicopter, the only feasible way of getting them to Uags.
3,200 trees have been planted. The species are Sessile Oak, Downy Birch, Aspen, Rowan and Willow – the same as those which are to be found within the existing woodland remnant (see below)
The Roes’ Walk
Fencing is complete, and 26,000 trees were planted in May - a mixture of oak, birch, alder, aspen, rowan and willow.
Beating-up planting took place at four other sites – Gateway, Hartfield, Keppoch and Allt Mor. Oak, birch, rowan, holly and hawthorn regeneration is evident in these areas.
Kenny MacBeath is carrying out groundworks at the Old Sawmill in preparation for the new Estate shed.
With calving almost complete, the bulk of the cattle have been moved from the in-bye land around Applecross House to the Glen, where they will spend the Summer.
Spring field works are expected to get underway in early June, with fertiliser spreading on grassland and ploughing. A forage crop, for winter feeding of deer, will be planted on the Keppoch field as last year, and nearly 3 hectares (7.5 acres) of species rich grassland will be sown in the Old Sawmill Field, above the Arboretum path, to sustain a variety of wildlife.
Deer and Hill
Problems with estate radios has prevented the normal Spring Deer Count from taking place so far this year. Instead, a recruitment count – which estimates the ratio of hinds to calves – is underway on groups of deer, and the whole herd count should now take place in late July.
Habitat Impact Assessment work is being carried out on defined plots across the estate. This is undertaken by Trust staff on the same plots each year, and builds a picture of the effects of deer and land use on habitats.
The Trust is in discussion with Scottish Natural Heritage over management measures for a Sea Eagle which is located on the peninsula. The bird is protected, and an expansion in numbers has been evident over the past couple of decades.
The Trust is in the process of updating its Wildfire Planning with other neighbouring estates. Details will be provided to the Community Councils when complete.
Phase 1 of the work on Smiddy is underway to convert the building to a single bedroom property to be made available as long-term accommodation.
Allt na Moine Hydro
Agreements are in place between the Trust and Innogy and between Innogy and the crofting townships affected by the proposed hydro development on Common Grazing land at Lonbain and Callakille.
Judith Fish MBE
The Trust wishes to congratulate Judith Fish who recently received her MBE at Buckingham Palace in recognition of her services to Tourism and the Community. A well deserved honour.
30th May 2019