Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES)
Caroline Pringle, WES Project Officer, visited Applecross recently and met with some of the staff. The various modules involved in the accreditation application are now being populated and a follow up meeting with Caroline is planned for the week before Christmas in order to further develop a Habitat Management Plan.
A fish farm production site operated by Mowi near Sconser is being assessed for sea lice and the Applecross river could be affected.
Mike and Flo had commendable results from their efforts at the Highland Cattle Society’s Autumn Show and Sale in Oban where one of the Trust’s entries, secured fourth prize in the weaned calf section and sold for 6,700 gns.
Other points of note are:
Seven heifer calves were sold to a producer in South Wales.
Eleven steers and one bull calf were sold to returning customer in Cumbria.
Seven cows were sold through Dingwall Mart, mostly through the Over Thirty Months Scheme. The other 29 cows are back in the Glen, with silage starting to be fed.
The tractor has been away for repair, meaning that some silage bales had to be broken up by hand.
Twin calves were taken to the Inn for the switching on of the Christmas lights.
The restructuring and new planting scheme is approved and the site is in the process of being fenced.
An excavator is expected on site shortly for a tidy up of brash and mounding for new planting.
The natural regeneration and new planting scheme for the Allt Mor has been approved. Works will start on perimeter fencing and cultivations soon, once a contract is expected has been signed.
Amy Clarkson, tenant at Airigh Drishaig, aims to secure a suitable site for the planting out of young oak trees which were grown from acorns collected from the woodland there. Spring planting may take place at different sites across the estate with the school children being involved in the process. Securing sites which are near at hand and which can then viewed regularly by those who plant the trees is expected to encourage further interest in woodland and nature conservation.
Control of regenerating lodgepole pine within the Gateway woodland is to be carried out over winter through a programme of hand cutting.
A survey of trees on the estate was carried out during October. The resulting report covered around 400 trees, of which over 300 did not require any work. The study area centred around the Applecross policies, the bay area, Milton and the campsite. Work is being mobilised on those trees which were considered to need work done within a 6-month period.
Andrew Peters is set to assist with design works to the Walled Garden which will help all those involved in the garden create a sustainable model for the future.
Andrew has over 35 years of experience in horticulture and garden design and, amongst other things, is involved as a garden consultant at Armadale Castle Gardens.
A Planning application involving Listed Building consent and Building Warrant has been prepared and is being submitted for the proposed retail and workshop facility to be operated by Tery McCowan.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)
A Consultant has been chosen to carry out EPC work across the Trust’s domestic properties. Contact is being made with tenants with a view to visits and inspections being undertaken in two tranches; the first of which is hoped to be before the end of this year.
Robert, Marion and family have now moved to their new croft house at Milton and the vacated 8 Milton is now to be renovated through the winter and early Spring.
The main structural works to the bothy at Sand are complete.
Greg Watson wishes to explore the possibility of developing it as a Coastal and Marine Wildlife Lookout Station.
Dry stone dykes
Geoff Walker has completed repair work at the top corner of the hydro field.
Garage and woodshed
Ian MacFadyen is working alongside George Graham in reroofing the old garage next to the Baker
Street houses. Work was halted when it was thought that asbestos had been found in a layer under the roof. However it was found not to be the case.
The existing septic tank and soakaway was installed around 50 years ago and is no longer fit for purpose.
Field percolation testing was undertaken to determine the appropriate type of replacement system, and it is hoped that it will be operational in time for Spring 2022.
The path between Kenmore and Applecross Bay is becoming increasingly popular with mountain bikers. Although not used to anywhere near the same extent as Torridon paths, the Kenmore track offers riders a low-level route which is classified by Highland Council as a Core Path.
Some of this use is by guides who charge clients. They argue that such usage can be more responsible than unsupervised cyclists and is respectable to other types of path users. For Applecross, around 6-8 of the guides who work across the Highlands are offering to spend half a dozen volunteer days each in path maintenance on the route.
The starting point would be to establish a survey. Work is underway to engage organisations which may have funding available for this work.
The Trust’s crofting register has been reviewed to provide a greater range of information relating to each unit.
Hartfield main house
Hartfield House Hostel was fully booked from end of April through to end of September. The autumn remained busy and has only really quietened down in November.
Hartfield will be open to 20 December and will then close for maintenance until 1 March 2022. A significant schedule of works is planned over the winter to improve the function of the building but also to develop the business.
There will be full drainage works, the connection of additional electric power, upgrading of rooms, preparation for new businesses in the form of a laundry and a bakery, and development of a tuck shop. Staff accommodation will be progressed, and the Bunkhouse will be made available for booking, as well as looking into the potential for utilizing the outside space.
Hartfield will be focusing very much on green issues in the coming year, building on the progress made in 2021 to become a more environmental business. It has signed up to a climate charter and is working towards its GTBS award. It has also been made aware of support for development of biking facilities and will look to create something really valuable for its customers.
2022 season is shaping up to be another busy one. With a good team and a clear plan for the future, Hartfield is a positive place to be.