News & Events

Isle of Harris Mountain Festival website launched!

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We are pleased to announce that the new Isle of Harris Mountain Festival website has just been launched. Please visit http://www.iohmf.co.uk to view the complete 2017 programme, book events and keep up to date with the latest news.

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Student Survey

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We have been contacted recently by a student carrying out some research on the economic impacts of buyouts on residents. As part of his research he is carrying out a short online survey so if you have a spare 5 mins follow the link below and give yourself a chance to win a £20 voucher.

“I am a final year student studying Rural Land Management at University. As part of my degree I am required to complete a dissertation for which I am studying the impact of community buyouts and conducting a survey of buyout residents. This survey is focusing on the social and economic impacts of buyouts on the local residents and should take approximately five minutes to complete. Respondents can (if they wish) be entered into a competition for a £20 Amazon voucher. All survey data will of course be anonymised and then destroyed once I have completed my dissertation.”

https://rau.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/community-buyout-university-dissertation-research-survey-2

 

 

 

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Huisinis Gateway gets underway

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We have finally secured all the funding required to get the construction project under way. With Highlands and Islands Enterprise confirming their award alongside CnES and LEADER, we can now start looking for someone to build the new facilities. The opportunity is now live on the Public Contracts Scotland web portal so we have a month of waiting to see who’s interested in building in one of the remotest corners of the remotest corner of the country!

We hope to be awarding a contract in January and breaking ground in the spring. See plans of the proposed development HERE.

HuisinisFundersLogo

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Isle of Harris Mountain Festival 2017

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The Dates for the 2017 Isle Of Harris Mountain Festival have just been confirmed as 9th – 16th of September. We already have some events and guest speakers booked. We will publish the programme when it is complete.
If you would like to get involved in anyway please contact ranger@north-harris.org or 01859 5022222017 mountain festival  Banner

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National Golden Eagle Survey result

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At last some good news! We have just had the results for the National Golden Eagle Survey 2015 from the RSPB and it is good news. Analyses of the survey results indicates that the population has increased by 15%, to 508 territorial pairs, Up from 442 in 2003.
 
All areas known to have held golden eagle “home ranges” in 2003 and also historical “home ranges”, where there is evidence that golden eagles have been present in the past, were surveyed. The sites were visited three time between January and July 2015 to establish if eagles were present and to see if there was any breeding success.
 
The largest increase in occupied home ranges was recorded was from west Perthshire to west Inverness-shire and also in Caithness and east Sutherland. Modest increases were recorded in Wester Ross and the Southern Uplands. There are some concerns over low levels of home range occupancy in Angus and the Eastern Cairngorms.
 
Lets hope that this increase will continue and eagles will spread back across the whole of the UK. New projects like the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project should go a long way to achieving this.
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Another 100 homes with green energy

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Bunavoneader hydro-electric scheme is finally operational!

Back in July, Ross-shire Engineering handed the scheme over to River Generation Limited (RGL). RGL is the developer and the joint venture company formed by the Trust and Sustainable Technology Investors Limited. The main works were complete and the scheme entered a phase of close monitoring. Despite three weeks in October with no rain, we have now emerged from this phase, and all systems are go, as we enter the rainy season.

shed

Nestling amongst the houses in Bunavoneader, you’ll see a new building , the size of a double garage, with a red roof. This is the turbine house located at the bottom of 250m of 630mm pipe. The pipe brings water form a new intake up the river behind the old dam. The turbine is located inside, along with the electricity grid connection point. Water is returned to the river at the side of the building.

turbineInside the building is a 100kW Francis turbine. You’ll just see in the picture above, the intake pipe entering the buiding, under all the dials on the wall. The pipe or penstock feeds water around the outside of the turbine, through the blades and out from the middle of the casing, down into the ground. The big blue box with the black wires is the generator which is attached to the spinning blades to make electricity.

The scheme is now exporting electricity to the Harris grid. It is forecast to generate  371,000 units of electricity each year -enough to power over 100 homes. The crofter and the Bunavoneader-Meavaig North grazings committee will benefit directly from a share of the rent paid by RGL. The wider North Harris & Scalpay residents will benefit indirectly through the Trust’s share. The scheme is a good example of how the Trust aims to make best use of the 25,000ha North Harris estate for the benefit of the whole community.

 

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Autumn migrant birds returning.

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It’s always a sure sign that Autumn is here when you start to see winter migrants coming back. There are flocks of Redwings and a few Fieldfare’s flying about Tarbert at the moment. Their numbers will increase as the months progress as will the amount of species returning.

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Science Club at Monan

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The Tarbert Primary School Science Club members visited the Monan Windfarm last week. On a still day, they took in the views and got up close to a 500kW Windflow wind turbine.

pupils

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2016 Mountain Festival review

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2016 Mountain festival review

 

This year’s mountain festival was dominated by one thing, the weather!

It was always going to be a hard one to follow the success of last year’s festival but this year the weather finally got the better of us. Many of the events in the programme were cancelled due to gale force winds and heavy rain.

For those did come, the festival was a lot of fun! As in previous years, people came over to Harris specifically for the festival. As well as local people, there were visitors from as far afield as Sweden and Brazil.

This year’s programme introduced mountain biking to the festival with two events offered; a guided ride and a cross country race. The guided ride was well attended with a high number of local people attending, many of which were women.

P1020740                                                                          A happy looking bunch!

 

The mountain bike race had nine hardy people enter the gruelling 32km race. The eventual winner, Gavin Earons completed the course in 2h41mins and was rewarded with a bottle of Harris Gin! I hope that this will be the start of an annual race at the festival and next year I hope to have more prizes to give out and be a bit more organised with lifts to and from the finish. Well done and thanks for all the competitors. A special mention should go out to 13 year old Anish Toor who completed the course in less than favourable conditions.

P1020737                                                                                 Racers ready to go!

Sea Kayaking is growing in popularity around the UK and unsurprisingly both the beginner and intermediate sessions were popular. Next year we hope to expand the sea kayaking and offer an advanced level trip with a possible overnight camp on a deserted island! Please keep an eye on the website and social media.

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We again teamed up with local businesses and organisation to deliver a wider range of activities. Segway Hebrides ran the popular trips up Glen Meavaig but unfortunately the weather cancelled one day’s trips.  The same was true of the powerboat trips provided by the Scaladale Centre. Out of a possible ten trips only one went ahead!

The guided walks were badly affected by the weather with it not being possible to reach the summits of any of the hills and the Clisham walk being cancelled all together. The eagle walk was however a great success with plenty of good sightings. This year the Islands book Trust provided a guided walk along the Coffin route. The walk went ahead despite there not being any visibility!

In the evenings we offered a series of talks. The two most popular talks were by Sean Ziehm Stephen and Robin Reid. Sean’s talk was the best attended event of the whole festival. He talked about his kayaking adventures around the world which had the audience enthralled , just don’t go down a river in a kayak with him! James Ogilvie also returned to talk about summiting Everest.

Darren Cole and Harris 365 Photography ran photography workshops. These events are always popular with visitors and locals alike. The weather was surprisingly good for photography!

Budding fisher folk were catered for with taster sessions in both fresh and salt water. The catches weren’t brilliant but it was a good introduction to the reality of fishing.

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Want chips with that?

The raft race has been a firm fixture since the festival began in 2011. This year saw five teams take up the challenge. The spectators were treated to some quality rafting (and cheating) with the eventual winners on a craft called Rafty McRaft Face! They won some Amazon vouchers.

P1020692                                                                                                   Athletes!

 

P1020720                                                                                                      Paddle!

Over the next few weeks we will have a firm dates for next year’s festival. During the autumn and winter we will be devising a programme full of new and old events to make 2017 the best festival ever! Please feel free to contact us on ranger@north-harris.org if you have any ideas, things you would like to see at the festival or comments on this year’s event.  We can also add you to our mailing list so that we keep you up to date with the plans as they happen.

The North Harris Trust would like to say a huge thank you to our sponsors, Marine Harvest and Calmac for funding the festival. We greatly appreciate the support from all of the businesses, organisations and individuals involved.

Also a big thank you to everyone who braved the weather to attend this year’s events.

We look forward to welcoming you all next year!

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Autumn Beach Clean Series

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After the success of Julys beach cleans, we are asking for volunteers to help out with two more beach cleans before the winter kicks in. This time we have paired up with Surfers Against Sewage to run our beach cleans alongside their nationwide Autumn Beach Clean Series.
We are hoping to clean Hushinish on Friday 28th and Mheilen on Saturday 29th. 11am-3pm. Any time spared would be greatly appreciated.
For more information please contact ranger@north-harris.org, 01859 502222. For more information on beach cleans, marine litter and the Autumn Beach clean Series then have a look at www.sas.org.uk

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