Local MSP Maree Todd opens the new deer larder. c. Chris Puddephatt

MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Maree Todd, officially opened the new community deer larder on the Glencanisp Estate on 19 September as part of an afternoon of family activities and a barbeque to celebrate the new facility.

The new deer larder was funded by the wild places charity the John Muir Trust, and CALLP through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and built in partnership with the Assynt Foundation.
It replaces an existing larder that is no longer fit for purpose, and will be available for use by the wider community.

Users of the larder will be required to undertake an induction process and pay a per carcass fee to cover the unit’s running and management costs. It’s anticipated there will be demand from other estates close to the area as well.

An improved larder with a modern chiller unit to process the venison and support local food production will also help support work to improve the area’s woodlands.

“One of the greatest barriers to achieving healthy living landscapes – capable of removing carbon and supporting a diversity of wildlife species – is the destructive impact of intensive deer grazing pressure, which prevents the natural regeneration and expansion of native woodlands,” said Mike Daniels, the John Muir Trust’s Head of Policy and Land Management. “Reducing deer numbers will protect existing woodlands and peatlands and allow expanding woodland to absorb more carbon.”

The original corrugated iron larder it is replacing is thought to have been installed in 1910, and is typical of Scottish rural buildings at the time. It is of historical significance to the local area, and is being refurbished, with the new larder built next to it. Once completed the old larder will be repurposed as a cultural and educational information facility.

Sue Walker

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