Crofters, ceilidhs and cabins!

Henry-at-the-studioThis past weekend we were up at the Assynt Foundation’s Glencanisp Lodge for the Reforesting Scotland gathering. If you’ve never been to an RS Gathering, do think about coming next year. It brings together a feisty collection of like-minded folk in a beautiful part of Scotland for enlightening conversations, study trips and a good bit of ceilidh-ing – what more could you ask? Find out about next year’s gathering by becoming a member of RS.

Reforesting Scotland’s Thousand Huts campaign hosted a session at the gathering which included a walk round a selection of buildings by Henry Fosbrooke around Glencanisp Lodge, and a look with Assynt Foundation deputy chairman Nigel Goldie at a possible hut site on the hillside behind the lodge. Glencanisp is the proposed location for the Bothy Project’s latest building, the Pig Rock Bothy, currently installed at the Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. The idea would be to create a range of small, simple huts which could help accommodate people visiting the area. There was also a proposal that huts could provide a way for the many young people who have moved out of the area for work and education to have an affordable base to return to in Assynt to spend summers near their families.

Donald McPhillimy gave an update on the progress of the huts pilot on Forestry Commission land. A proposed site has been found at Carnock Woods in Fife and initial community consultation has proved very encouraging. The idea is that a pilot site of 10-12 huts, possibly including a school/community hut would be built in an appropriate small corner of the 100-acre woodland. Planning consultant Richard Heggie, who has been part of the voluntary advisory group to Reforesting Scotland’s Thousand Huts campaign, has now been appointed to bring forward the planning application to Fife Council together with Donald. We also heard from Ninian Stuart of A Thousand Huts and Falkland Centre for Stewardship about the proposed hut site at Falkland Estate. So between Nigel, Donald and Ninian, we were able to discuss proposed sites on publicly-owned, community-owned and privately-owned land.

Karen Grant presented the latest news from the Thousand Huts campaign- a major part of which has been working to ensure that the best possible hut developments are initiated following the publication of the Scottish Planning Policy last year. An extensive guidance paper on planning new hut developments is due to be launched in the next 2 months. It has been drawn together with the involvement of many top planning professionals, architects and green builders to embody the best practice in low impact, sustainable hut planning, in keeping with the ethos of traditional hutting in Scotland. Thousand Huts has just been granted funding to run sessions with planners and promote the Guidance widely. In addition to this, Bernard Planterose and Peter Caunt are writing a Good Practice Guide to Hut Building from the technical and building standards perspective, which is sure to become a very important document for all would-be hutters.

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