Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Beach business

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Last week saw the S3 year group from Sir E Scott School head out for the annual Enterprise Day run by The North Harris Trust.

This year pupils headed for Huisinis Gateway, stopping off at various local businesses on the way. The aim of the day is to show the pupils the opportunities that Harris offers. They talked to a number of businesses to find out what Harris has that makes them successful. A theme of water and rain emerged during the day, despite us basking in sunshine for the event. Pupils saw how rain was used in the production of whisky, electricity and salmon. They finally saw John Muir Trust volunteers repairing footpaths that were suffering from rain damage. After lunch at the Huisinis Gateway, teams presented their findings from the morning to teachers and NHT staff.

Thanks must go to Isle of Harris Distillers, River Generation Ltd, The Scottish Salmon Co and The John Muir Trust for their participation in the event.

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What to do with an old slipway?

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At the start of the year, the lease of the slipway at Maraig, to Scottish Salmon Co. expired. The site has been cleared, the derelict shed removed and the fences replaced. The Trust now has full control over it’s use.

The site includes quite a large area of hard standing. Water, electricity and sewerage are still available. The slipway itself is in good condition, but the depth of water doesn’t lend itself to launching much more than kayaks, except at high water.


Informal use of the slip has been granted in the past for local boat owners and the Scaladale Centre. They have run sailing, kayaking and gorge scrambling activities from the site. The challenge now is to determine the best use for the site, and how it can make some money to cover ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs.

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Maraig Slipway Consultation

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There will be a public meeting next week to discuss future uses of the slipway at Maraig. The Scottish Salmon Co. has recently handed the site back to the Trust. We are now looking for ideas for how the site can be developed in a sustainable manner.

Date: Tuesday 23rd January

Time 19:00

Venue: Scaladale Centre

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Refurbishment of the former Scalpay Care Unit

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In October 2016 we approached CNES with a view to purchasing the former Care Unit in Scalpay having leased it from them for a few years as accommodation. With funding assistance from the Scottish Land Fund the purchase was completed in spring 2017. When Scalpay first came into community ownership in 2013 the community were consulted as to what projects they would like to see NHT take forward in Scalpay and the repurpose of the former Care Unit was highlighted as a priority. In the short term it was agreed to lease the building to see what interest there was and for the 3 years we leased the building it was fully occupied. This lead to the decision to purchase and refurbish the building into two semi-detached houses. Funding was secured from LEADER and the Rural Housing Fund and contractors Neil MacKay and Co began work in June this year. The refurbishment is progressing well as you can see from the images below. Once the project is complete we will have a 2 and a 3 bedroom home available for affordable rental. The properties will benefit from underfloor heating, solar panels and a wood burning stove which will significantly reduce heating costs. The houses are due to be complete in January and we will then advertise for tenants. If you would like further information contact Karen on


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Water worlds: top 10 marine adventure holidays worldwide

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Lanzarote, Belize, Mexico and Harris -all mentioned in the Guardian’s article on underwater adventures.

Following BBC’s Planet Blue series, there has been an increase in interest in what goes on under the surface of our oceans. The Guardian has picked 10 trips that explore the oceans, from reef conservation in Belize to snorkel trails in Scotland.

See the article HERE

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North Harris welcomes campervans

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The subject of campervans in the islands is making front-page news and trending on social media. We’ve compiled a list of campervan-specific information for visitors to North Harris to help improve “the North Harris experience” for our visitors.

Advice for Campervans

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Lets get snorkelling

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Following the launch last month of the North Harris Snorkel Trail, a leaflet has been produced to give more information on the six specially-selected sites in North Harris.


Download the leaflet HERE or read up on the Scottish Wildlife Trust and their crusade to get people to experience life below the waves.

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Huisinis Gateway opens for business

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On Friday 8th September, the John Muir Trust work party was present for the opening of North Harris Trust’s new Huisinis Gateway building. Five months in construction, the new facilities replace the run-down toilet building that has served the area for the last 17 years. Huisinis Gateway incorporates three toilets, two showers and an interpretation area that includes information on the local area and wildlife. Additional parking has also been created next to the building.

With Huisinis proving increasingly popular with campervans, a dedicated site with five electric hook-up points has been built as part of the project. A Chemical Disposal Point with fresh water standpipe is located in the main carpark.

The John Muir Trust regularly brings work parties to Harris. On this occasion, they helped with fencing and landscaping at Huisinis. The picture shows NHT staff, the JMT team and the chair of the Trust, Calum MacKay. All enjoyed a celebratory BBQ to mark the opening.




The Huisinis panorama, showing the Gateway building, new car-park in the foreground, with campervan dump point and recycling bins. This £270,000 project, designed by architects Rural Design, was completed on schedule by O’Mac Construction. Funding for the project was provided by Outer Hebrides Leader, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Bord na Gaidhlig, Scottish Landfill Communities Trust as well as The North Harris Trust.


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The Urgha “thunderbox”

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This week we commissioned the first chemical disposal point for campervans in North Harris. The dump point or “elsan” point as they are also known, is installed at the North Harris Recycling site at Urgha (HS3 3BW).

The point, which is now affectionately called “the thunderbox”, is accessible during depot opening hours -currently TUES-SAT 10:00-17:30. Replacement chemicals will also be stocked.

For opening hours, click HERE

We will also be opening a further disposal point at the new Huisinis Gateway site (HS3 3AY). This will hopefully be open in the next 10 days – once Building Control has signed off the development.

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Harris’ young scientists investigate

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Earlier this month, we hosted a visit to the Bunavoneader Hydro-electric scheme. The Science Club at Sir E Scott primary school has been working on a hydro-electric project and wanted to see a full-sized scheme in operation. The pupils hiked up to the intake and then back down to look around the turbine house. The visit took place in an unusually dry spell, so the turbine was not working on the day, however everyone did go home clean and dry!

The Trust is part owner of a windfarm and a hydro-electric scheme. These are proving to be great educational resources for the local school.

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