We have now completed the sale of the plot west of Westfield. This sale was lengthy and presented us with a number of hurdles. Congratulations to the new owners. Thanks to everyone who has helped to push this through.
Bunkhouse by Jenny Ruddle
We would like to say a big thank you to everyone for making us feel so welcome in Knoydart. Everyone we have meet so far has been so kind and helpful.
Also a huge thank you to John Murdo for painting the Flat. And another huge thank you to Liz and Rhona for stepping in and volunteering in the run up to us arriving and keeping everything going.
We have had a busy start to running the Bunkhouse and the Wee Hooses with so many guests to keep us on our toes. And what with the beautiful Scottish weather, the drying room has had lots of use! What a lot of rain we have had this May, the wettest in a decade. It wasn’t long before Ben and I regretted not bringing our wellies. Luckily we found the postal service is not only friendly but exceptional and we soon had wellies to splash among the puddles in.
The rain hasn’t been our only water issue. Unfortunately the water supply to the Wee Hooses decided to play up. But thanks to the help of Davie and Craig, along with Ben, they soon had the water running again. Ben very much enjoyed problem solving this issue. Any excuse to have a dip in the burn!
We’ve had a few new things in the Bunkhouse. A new set of wooden spoons, so all our guests can feed themselves, to a new booking system. After Craig and Ben’s hard work, the booking system is finally up and running. Walk-ins to the bunkhouse can now easily see what beds are available. Ben even wrote a wonderful explanation of how to book in which is clear and concise, another new skill for him. Along with the above, we also have a new iron press which is helping us plough through the laundry for the Wee Hooses and the beds are looking even more inviting to our guests.
So the month of May has flown by and we look forward to the challenges that June has for us, along with meeting some more residents of Knoydart.
And we have one final big thank you to Rob and Imola, Knoydart volunteers, who have been busy helping many of us out, including the up keep of the Bunkhouse.
Rural Housing Building Plots by Craig Dunn
We are pleased that we are now in the home stretch for two Rural Housing Building plot sales, one at Sawmill Wood and one on the Inverguiseran track. We expect to “hand over the keys” for both of these plots in June. Thanks to everyone who has helped to move these forwards.
Knoydart Wild Venisonby Kristy Brown
That’s all our planned products for sale in the SHOP now, although we might have a few new things up our sleeves for Christmas. The SHOP have some prepacked Grab & Go pouches, filled with 4 products wrapped in woolen insulation and ice packs that will keep contents frozen for up to 48 hours. This is perfect for those visitors who would like to take some venison products home with them.
Venison is selling well in the Harbour Shop in Mallaig and we have received our first order from the Isle of Eigg Shop who have just moved into their new premises. We are starting to see the bottom of freezers which is a good thing with stalking season not far around the corner (don’t worry, we have quite a few freezers!).
Thanks for all the support to those who are buying venison or pointing visitors in our direction – it’s very satisfying seeing folk walk out of the SHOP with our products.
Millburn Cottageby Craig Dunn
We have an update for the community. Our original plan for the cottage was going more or less to timescale. We were then advised at the turn of the year that we had to take the renovation to tender in order to satisfy funding requirements. This led to us putting the timescales back by a few months. Unfortunately, we have recently been informed that the funders now require us to have a completed design and planning permission. This has led to us questioning how this initial piece of work is to be funded. Initial enquiries have revealed that Highland Council will foot the bill for the design and planning work and reclaim it from the Rural Housing Fund. We are now in the position of having to put the project back again in order to satisfy funder requirements. We are still negotiating, through the Communities Housing Trust, with the Highland Council and the Scottish Government to ensure delays are kept to a minimum. Once we have a clearer picture of the new project timeline we’ll inform the community.
Knoydart Forest Trust by Lorna Schofield
May has been a relatively quiet month. Josh has been busy working on his final assignments for college and Lorna & Grant both had Covid so were out of action for a bit. Danny and Trisha have been off doing other things.
The annual browsing impact monitoring was carried out at the start of the month. The general picture is the same as previous years with lots of trees getting away but palatable species, especially oak, getting heavily browsed and also heavy browsing in the most recent restock above the pink borrow pit. This highlights the need for continued efforts by the deer management team.
The Munro Society kindly made a donation to support 914 trees being planted at Ben’s Wood to mark their 20th anniversary which they celebrated on Knoydart. A trip to Ben’s was not feasible during their visit but we were happy to show Alf and Ann from the Society a similar new woodland site and they planted a few trees to mark the occasion.
The Wood Knoydart team hosted 2 groups of students from George Watson’s college for stool making workshops with a total of 29 stools being made…a bit of a shock to our systems after nearly 3 years with no workshops but good to get back to it. Big thanks to Kristy and Johann for holding the fort when I was out of action. We have another stool workshop planned for Sunday 10 July – please get in touch if you’re interested.
Unfortunately, the new Woodmizer is having a few teething issues and is not functioning at full capacity yet. We hope to have this resolved very soon so we can fulfil all the orders and start milling the various hardwood logs that are waiting in the wings.
Bracken weeding season is on us so the team will be heading up to Braomisaig and out to the Shelterbelt this month to weed the new planting areas. In areas of thick bracken it is really important to weed around the wee trees for the first 2-3 years so that the trees can establish and thrive – this means knowing where the trees are and cutting the bracken by hand with a sickle…back breaking work!
Project Manager by Craig Dunn
We are currently advertising for a Project Officer. This post need not necessarily be based on Knoydart. If folks could circulate to your networks that would be fantastic. This is an exciting post that means the successful candidate will involved and some of the most transformation projects for the Foundation and community.
We’ve started the work on clearing this area of debris with three trailer loads of material being removed already plus a couple of pallets of stuff. Thanks to everyone who volunteered to help. There is still work to be done and we’ve scheduled some more time in the week of 13th June.
Knoydart Community Garden by Sam Gardener
Do Not Disturb!
Plants working hard to maximise growth!
We don’t need reminding of recent changing weather patterns – a miserable winter, followed by over 2 months of unseasonably fine, dry and sunny spring days, helping most plants to make a good start. But more recently it has been as if a switch was flicked, and we’ve been sent back to the dreich, miserable weather from much earlier in the year. Established plants have enjoyed all the moisture of the last few weeks, and the soft fruit especially, is already showing signs of a bumper crop in a month or so. But tender plants, fragile transplants, and delicate new shoots are easily damaged by the current rough weather, and will keep their heads down until warmer weather encourages them to get going. As so often, patience will bring reward.
Knoydart Bean Festival
Be a part of the first Knoydart Bean Festival!
Beans encompass a huge range of species and varieties! So much so that almost anywhere on the planet some sort of bean can be grown successfully, and almost every culture has bean dishes in it’s cuisine. We are going to celebrate this extraordinary diversity of beans over the next 8 or 9 months by way of the first Knoydart Bean Festival.
We would like you to be a part of the Festival by –
NOW – Grow beans.
SEPTEMBER (approx.)– Harvest, cook, eat and enjoy fresh beans.
JANUARY – Cook, eat and enjoy dried beans.
If you have beans to sow and grow, please do so.
If not, we have seed! If you would like some to sow, we have maybe 10 or 15 different varieties for you! This includes Runner beans, Pole, French, Lazy Housewife, Wax, Climbing, Broad, Yin Yang, Borlotto, Yard Long, Painted Lady, Gout de Chetaigne and others. Please CONTACT…..
How will you grow yours? I am going to sow Broad Beans, Aquadulce, way out of season, hoping to harvest the black and white flowering tops. Then, either chopping them into a salad, or cooked gently in butter, with black pepper and lemon juice. And the plants… sown now, they will not have time for the beans to swell and ripen, so I anticipate cutting them to the ground in the autumn, helping them through winter, hoping they will still be strong enough and young enough next spring to get going with vigor to an early ripening and a decent crop. If not at least their worth will be fully returned to the soil, by way of the nitrogen fixing nodules on the roots.
Now that the pendemic movement restrictions are being eased, we are once again able to welcome visitors into the Community Garden! Knoydart residents and visitors are welcome to walk through the garden. Please do not pick produce. It is private or community designated. STRICTLY NO DOGS!
The Old Forge by Stephanie Harris
We now have a regular schedule of music sessions arranged over the summer, with locals Lachie, Terra and Wallace hosting these on a fortnightly basis. The dates for June are Sunday 5th and Sunday 19th from 6pm onward. It’s been great to hear the pub filled with tunes again so please come along and join in – as a musician or a listener!
Will is working on a ‘Quiz and Cocktails night’ which we hope to implement soon, so keep an eye out for more info on that.
We’ve also been chatting about ways the pub could support other events on the community calendar, including the Knoydart Games. If Games Day is to return after the covid-absence (which we hope it will!), we would be up for discussing the possibility of providing a small bar on Long Beach during the day. We’d need a good amount of notice to apply for the relevant licenses and work out logistics, so if anyone is putting their name forward to organise a Games meeting please let us know and we’d be happy to have a blether about possibilities.
Project & Business Development updates
We are consulting with Stephen Fair (architect) and Toby Robinson (Knoydart Construction) to finalise the new design/layout of the building. Once we have tied down a few things we will have a better idea of scheduling over the rest of this year. Planning permission will be required for some aspects (namely the kitchen roof and tidying up all the previous building extensions at the back) so this also has to be factored in to the overall work timeline.
We are exploring the possibility of introducing hydrogen-powered equipment in to the kitchen refurb, and also replacing the existing windows with vacuum glazing – this would tie in to the CBS’s climate/energy goals, and could also attract funding from HIE who are eager to support net-zero-based projects at the moment.
We have a few jobs needing done (ie. tidying out the back/continuing to dismantle the caravan) that we just don’t have time for at the moment, so if anyone is interested in some paid work please get in touch with Davie.
Steph has been working away on the business development side of things, including putting together new marketing materials to promote the pub. We have posters, flyers and business cards available, so if any accommodation providers would like to display some for their guests please get in touch.
Steph has also been reaching out to various businesses/groups who used to frequent the pub to let them know about the change in ownership, and we are already seeing a marked increase in the sailing community returning to Loch Nevis – in particular the Hebridean Island Cruises vessels are now making regular visits, and the Waverley paddle steamer is looking at putting Inverie back on their tour schedule from 2023.
Other things in the pipeline: a new merchandise range and online shop; discussions ongoing with a production company who would like to create a short documentary film; and we have been asked to take part in two case study webinars in June to present our story.
Official reopening event
We will be hosting an official reopening event at the pub on Saturday 20th August. Invites will shortly be sent out all local residents, CBS shareholders, funders, government officials and lots of people who helped the CBS with support and guidance. There will likely be a few speeches and a presentation on the project works, and then we can enjoy the rest of the day celebrating community-pub-ownership with food, drinks and music. More info will follow soon, but for now mark the date in your diary!
The biggest question we’ve had from customers since we opened is if we are able to offer any kind of food. After a call-out to local food providers to see if anyone was interested in collaborating, we are now working with the Tearoom to trial a range of sandwiches which will be available to pub customers over the weekends. We’re sure this will be a big hit, and would like to thank Rhona and Isla for working with us on this to provide visitors with some more weekend sustenance!
New contact details
We have new contact details for the pub: telephone number is 01687 462 358 and general enquiries can be directed to [email protected]. The committee are still using our CBS email ([email protected]) as well.
Knoydart Farm by Craig Dunn
Sam Gardener and Craig Dunn have been researching the possibility of running an organic farm here on Knoydart.
A facility that integrates regenerative agriculture (food production, including fruit and veg, eggs and dairy and more) with participation, learning and well being.
We’ve like to hear what other people think. Come and join us on June 12th at the hall for a chat about the important challenges a community farm addresses and some that it could face.