Work Experience Opportunity – Conversion of Achiltibuie Schoolhouse
The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust who are a trusted and respected organisation are managing the above project and would like to offer work experience to a young person in the local area. This is a real chance for a young person to achieve a work based learning experience which could enhance their future prospects.
Are you aged between 16 and 24? Do you have a specific interest in construction or joinery? Would you like to gain some meaningful work experience and earn a training allowance along the way for approximately 20 weeks ? If you have answered YES to all of these questions then this opportunity could be for you. If you would like to find out more then please contact Julia Campbell your local Development Officer on 01854 622379 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or download the Application Form – Work Exp Placement 2016 and return it to:
Julia Campbell, LDO CCDC, Coigach Community Hall, Achiltibuie IV26 2YL (or drop in to my house) or email it to email@example.com by Friday 19th August.
Digging and Delving
If you’re in the eastern end of Coigach you will see that RJ Mcleod have started work on the construction of Ben Mor Hydro (BMH) in and around the Acheninver Burn. Back in the autumn it looked like it was the end of the line for BMH as a community project as with limited time to complete the project and the associated financial risks, it was unlikely it could be constructed and operational in time to take advantage of the current FITs (Feed In Tarrifs). (BMH was then a joint (50/50) venture between Coigach Community Development Company and landowner Scottish Wildlife Trust.) However, salvation arrived in the shape of Locogen, a specialist renewables company, who had been managing the project. Locogen have agreed to take on the project and all the related risk in its entirety and BMH has now been transferred to them. The really good news is that Coigach will still benefit as 25% of the profits will come to the community, but with none of the risk or work previously involved.
During the construction period there may also be opportunities for people in Coigach to benefit from the project as the contractors may require casual labour, trades, cleaners and accommodation providers. If you are interested in registering your details or offering your skills and services please contact Craig Donn at RJ Macleod tel 07765402947 or email Craig firstname.lastname@example.org
Eating and Drinking
Another new enterprise in Coigach is Wez Macleod’s snack van “Top Bun”. Currently situated at the County Shed, Badentarbet, Wez is open early in the morning for hot food and drinks – and is proving a popular spot for the BMH work force and local fisherman who like an early breakfast.
And congratulations to Am Fuaran Bar in Altandhu who are celebrating 40 years of business – serving delicious bar meals to visitors and locals alike. This popular watering hold (which translates as “the well”) was started by Shona and Andy Wilson and is now in the capable hands of their daughter Catriona and her husband David. The couple have since added Port A Bhaigh Campsite – with hook-ups for campers and caravans and space for camping (and it’s just across the road from the pub!).
The Piping School Cafe is open daily next to Coigach Community Hall with a splendid array of homemade cakes, lunches and good things to eat. And there’s a water bowl for your dog! Evening meals too.
Fancy a night out on the Isle of Tanera? Coigach Community Rowing are holding a fund-raising dinner hosted by Lizzie and Rich Williams. You can row yourself over to work up an appetite – or if you’re not that energetic there is a ferry. Places are limited so booking is essential so please contact Lizzie@summer-isles.com 01854 622 797 or 07824 828 858 Further details on Facebook: Tanera Nights
A warm welcome to Salt Seafood Kitchen, Coigach’s newest eatery as it opens its doors for business. Young entrepreneur Suzie MacGregor is running her restaurant in what used to be the family’s holiday chalet, close to her parent’s B&B in Badenscallie, near Achiltibuie and is offering the best of local produce.
Diners can look forward to experiencing delicious fresh seafood with a view of its source: Loch Broom, the Summer Isles and the waters towards the Western Isles. Salt opened on May 3rd to an eager bunch of hungry customers – who by all accounts were highly delighted with the experience. Reviews so far are five star so don’t hang about if you’re planning a visit.
To find out more and make a booking have a look at Suzie’s saltseafood.com
Other new business activity in the area including Summer Isles Steamie, Rachel Macleod’s laundry service which we reported on previously, Top Bun – Rachel’s husband Wez is launching his gourmet burger van business soon, so look out for that. Hamlet Mountaineering is up and running, led by Tim Hamlet who offers guided climbing trips and training, kayaking and all things outdoor, and Acheninver Hostel will be open for the summer with its new tenants Ruth Bradley and Iain Simpson. Good news all round and good luck to all.
Information about accommodation in Coigach, places to eat, things to do and what to see is available on Achiltibuie Tourist Association’s website coigach.com
This year’s Coigach Gathering takes place on Saturday 9th July on the Achiltibuie Playing Field. This is a change from the usual venue Badentarbet Green. Like most activities, the Gathering is organised by volunteers and its principal purpose is for the community and visitors to enjoy themselves while raising money for the community hall. The playing field is high above the school and has spectacular views over the Summer Isles, it also has the added advantage of being close to the hall itself – with tea-making facilities, toilets, running water and electricity a lot more accessible there. The day will consist of the usual favourites such as the Ullapool and District Pipe Band, music, local food stalls, games and a dance in the evening with The Incredible Fling Band and local stars The Rogues. Save that date!
The Ground Force!
Work will be starting soon on Achiltibuie Schoolhouse so we held a clear-out day to cut back some of the undergrowth that was beginning to take over the garden. Local volunteers armed with a various bits of gardening paraphernalia gathered on Saturday 19th March and were soon chopping and lopping to tackle the jungle. A couple of hours later and there was something of a transformation – it may not be a contender for garden of of the year yet, but there is space now, allowing access for the construction team who will be working on the building (soon we hope). Many thanks to all our volunteers for their time and effored – and missing from the picture Bill and Iain who removed several trailer-loads of branches and greenery – and especially to Lesley and Rose at the Piping School Cafe who generously sponsored the day by providing lunch for the garden army.
Where there was smoke now there is steam! Summer Isles Steamie is now open for business in the former smokehouse building. Local entrepreneur Rachel Macleod has established her laundry business and now the pleasant aroma of freshly laundered sheets is wafting through the building.
Come to the launch! Rachel invites you to the launch on Friday 19th February, so come along between 5pm and 7pm for drinks and nibbles to celebrate the beginning of this new enterprise. You can find out more about how the Summer Isles Steamie can help your business or relieve you of your own domestic chores. If you have a self-catering holiday business, or run a B&B Rachel will be delighted to tell you more, offer you a price list and discuss your requirements.
Bring along your mountains of laundry and Rachel will transform them into freshly pressed linen to welcome your guests and save you time.
In need of some clean clothes? Rachel can help with that too. You too can achieve that freshly laundered look like this smart pair – thanks to Mairead for this lovely picture.
Summer Isles Steamie
Altandhu – next door but one from Am Fuaran Bar and Campsite.
(We’ll post up the price list and opening times soon)
In the light of a revised method of connecting our turbine to the grid which will cost us less than original estimates, and with further analysis of wind recordings, the value of our project to the community of Coigach has been further refined – and it’s tremendous news! After all finance costs we are on track to deliver 2.2 million pounds over the twenty year lifetime of the project to Coigach Community Development Company for spending in our community – for wide-ranging community projects, business developments, bursaries for young folk, etc.
With this to look forward to it’s a great time to be in Coigach!
Horshader, Isle of Lewis – a small crofting community investing in the future and funding projects thanks to the village turbine.