Today we had the pleasure of hosting the S2 year group from Sir E Scott School in Tarbert. They have been working with resources developed by Community Land Scotland to understand more about Community Land Ownership and the role it can play in strengthening our communities. North Harris has examples of renewable generation, social housing and business space – all community-developed, within ten minutes drive of the school.
To start the day, a hike up the Monan track to understand what’s involved in building a windfarm. After this, a trip to Bunavoneader to see a hydro-electric generator in full flow, stopping on the way at Ceann an Ora housing development. Finally, a stop at Iomairt an Obain business Units in Tarbert to understand what’s involved in creating business space and securing tenants who will create new job opportunities.
From a Trust perspective, these events give us the chance to show pupils the type of work we are involved in. It will also hopefully spread the word that community-ownership can be a good thing.
With the sun shining, everyone is so much more motivated to get out around the estate doing stuff. Now we have the maintenance team in place, the list of jobs is slowly shrinking. One day there’s bench painting going on, the next footpath maintenance, but all interspersed by a bit of Visitor Management.
The volume of cars on the road has jumped, and this puts pressure on the limited carparking at the beach hotspots in Harris. We are routinely informing and educating visitors, especially those that think it OK to restrict access on our narrow roads, by parking half on the verge. Huisinis is one busy spot on a hot summer’s day! We recently added a few more parking places at Huisinis Gateway and spent some time marking them out to get best use of the space. The hydrant has also now been concreted in and since painted for visibility.
On the other side of the estate, work has been continuing on the new path at Lacasdail Lochs. We have been working for a while now on a path down the eastern side of the loch to link via the existing bridge to the Urgha to Maraig path. This will eventually complete a circular route around the loch. Progress ramped up this week with the hire of a Polaris 6×6 ATV. With its extra capacity, 40 ton of stone was shipped 800m down the path in a few days. The bridge is almost in touching distance!
Next week will be back to doing smaller jobs round the estate, whilst shoulders and backs recover!
Funders for this path include Paths for All, Crown Estate and Western Isles Development Trust.
The Isle of Harris, known for its rich traditions and stunning scenery, has seen a marked increase in the number of visitors in recent years. Data from Outer Hebrides Tourism suggests that the number of visitors to Lewis and Harris grew by 10% per annum between 2013 and 2017. In North Harris, our people counters have shown an increase of about 25% in visitor numbers over the past 5 years with significant pressure at certain sites, such as over 40,000 seasonal visitors to the Huisinis Gateway building.
Increased visitor numbers have placed significant pressures on already limited infrastructure and services, with the Coronavirus pandemic highlighting pressure points. Following the 2020 season, we started work with Outer Hebrides Tourism and our neighbours The West Harris Trust to develop a Visitor Management Strategy. With financial assistance from Nature.Scot we engaged a consultant to carry out the initial research both within the community and looking to other areas of Britain for inspiration. Over 130 Harris residents were invited to complete a survey, with a large portion meeting online for one-to-one consultations afterwards. Discussions were also held with key stakeholders like Calmac, Visit Scotland and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.
This extensive consultation and research has lead to a series of recommendations. It’s acknowledged that physical infrastructure takes time to organise, but there are a number of “quick wins” around messaging and education. The first deliverable is the “Harris is a special PLACE” campaign. This is all about reminding visitors what we, the community, expect of them.
The Harris Visitor Management Strategy will help us to maintain an enjoyable visitor experience, protect the unique Harris environment whilst reassuring the local community that tourism on the island can offer a sustainable future.
The tenancy of Croft 2 Ardhasaig has recently become vacant and as the Landlord it is our responsibility to recommend a new tenant to the Crofting Commission. If you are interested in applying for this Croft Tenancy, please compete the application form below and return to us before the closing date. The closing date for applications is 5pm Friday 22nd January 2021. After this date a sub-group of Trust Directors will meet to score the applications received against an agreed scoring system and make a recommendation to the Crofting Commission.
While keeping to current Covid regulations, the North Harris Trust has started our guided walks program for 2021. We have two weekly walks that you can take part in.
Tha sinn an dòchas gun tig thu còmhla rinn air ar cuairt. If you would like to join us, it is essential that you book a place to avoid disappointment, please contact the North Harris Ranger John Maclean at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We also require a contact phone number for track and trace.
The Ranger Service does not charge, however for each participant we suggest a £10 donation, which helps us to maintain the beautiful North Harris estate.
Make sure you bring suitable clothing and footwear for the conditions. Walking boots are ideal for the uneven terrain, and the winds can be a lot colder than you expect, so remember to bring a wind and waterproof jacket with you.
On a Monday morning we do a Whale and Dolphin walk to Scalpay Lighthouse, and on a Wednesday we do an Eagle walk out the Bogha Glas track.
For more information check out our event page on Facebook.
We are now accepting applications for the tenancy of Flat 2 Tigh An Urrais, a 2-bedroom property above our office in Tarbert. The monthly rental for the flat is £340.00 (exclusive of rates and utilities).
Application forms can be downloaded here or obtained by emailing email@example.com
Completed applications must be returned to the North Harris Trust or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 5pm on Friday 2nd October 2020
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The North Harris Trust Board have taken the decison to re-open the 5 electric hook up points at Husinis. Please note that we do not run a booking system for the site and so it opetates on a first “come first serve basis”.
The Huisinis Gateway Building remains closed although there is a 24h accesible toilet.
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Due to the unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in this summer, we have taken the decision to produce an online edition of our Caraidean Newsletter which is normally printed and posted out to all out Members & Friends. Despite all the restrictions and challenges these first 6 months of 2020 have been busy for us at NHT. Enjoy.
Although restrictions in Scotland have eased slightly, we still remain in lockdown. Phase 3 of the Scottish Government route map will allow for restrictions to be eased for travel and the preliminary date for this is 15th July, this date will be confirmed on 9th of July.
However, as we move into the “new normal” things will be different. From a North Harris Trust point of view much of the work we would normally be involved in has been suspended, this includes our guided walk programme and all volunteering work. Currently the Huisnis Gateway building and campervan hook ups remain closed for the foreseeable future. The commencement of some of our activities in the coming weeks and months will be carefully considered, in line with Scottish Govt guidance and widely advertised to keep the public informed.