Archive for the ‘General’ Category

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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Toilets no more

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The building that provided relief to so many, is no more. Huisinis public toilets were leveled today to make way for the new Huisinis Gateway development.

Excavators will be hard at work over the next four weeks preparing the site for foundations and a new carpark. They will then move up the road to the quarry that will be turned into a licenced camping area for campervans.

The construction project will run until August, so the Trust has installed temporary toilet facilities opposite the development for the duration. The existing carpark has been taken out of use as it now forms part of the construction site. Temporary parking space is available over at the Scarp jetty.

The recent decision by Scottish Water to suspend the new water main to Huisinis will hopefully only have a minor impact upon the project. We had planned to install a water supply at the campervan site. This will no longer be possible. The existing supplies down at the Huisinis Gateway will be made available for campers, alongside the new chemical disposal point. A decision on how we will operate the showers will be made once we know the outcome of the Scottish Water review.

The funding search is still on for the finishing details. Our application to the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund was successful. £4500 has been received to provide waste recycling bins. This will cut the volume of waste heading to the landfill site from Huisinis. Bord na Gaidhlig has also awarded us £1500 towards the cost of bilingual signage.

For more details of the project, click HERE

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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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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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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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