Despite the weather we had a good turnout for the coppice and hurdle making day on the 28TH Feb. Nick Clooney went through the various benefits of coppicing at a croft in Achiltibuie. These included: encouraging regeneration and multiple shoots, increasing ground flora and encouraging vigorous growth. Then we set to work coppicing a few select trees and cutting the straightest rods that could be useful for hurdle making. We then moved on to the comfort and warmth of Coigach Community Hall with the newly cut wood and set to work making hurdles. 

Chris Goodman ably guided us through using a saw horse and bill hook, riving zales, splitting the rods, weaving cleft rods into the frame and weaving round end zales to make the frame hold together.  Everyone got set to splitting and weaving and by the end of the day we had two very respectable hurdles. One of which is being used in a croft in Achiltibuie and the other went to Strathpeffer where it has been greatly admired.

Hurdles have been made for thousands of years and were the mediaeval solution to livestock fencing. They offer protection from the elements whilst being transportable and have contained millions of sheep in the past. Nowadays they are used as attractive, sustainable garden screens and are an alternative to small scale fencing. The day was organised by Coigach-Assynt Living Landscape to promote traditional skills using locally sourced materials. Many thanks go to Keith Dunbar and Chris Goodman for making this day possible.

Romany Garnett – CALL outreach officer

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Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape

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