This week we ran a 2-day course for the Achlochan Project volunteers to get trained in using brush-cutters and strimmers. This course was LANTRA accredited and covered maintaining the machines…
Achlochan Coastal Heritage
The natural shelter of the Achlochan peninsula, its coastal location, the presence of inland fresh-water and readily available construction materials have sustained settlers since the Iron Age. Geologists believe the reed bed in Achlochan loch – the largest in Wester Ross, and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) – was once a sea loch and in more recent times sheltered boats.
The peninsula’s historic broch ruin is one of the few in North-West Scotland and the nearby World War One rifle range and drill hall are similarly rare. Remains of 19th century kelp kilns and boat nausts (or shelters) point to the 19th century. The geological SSSI is of national importance as rocks of two different ages lie adjacent to one another.
The aims of the project are to:
- Safeguard and restore the peninsula’s natural, built and cultural heritage with managed and responsible access.
- Provide improved access for visitors and locals to heritage features and more information about them to help the public interpret and explore these heritage assets.
- Undertake the first comprehensive archaeological survey of the broch and its surrounds before undertaking essential repairs to the surrounding buildings and consolidating the firing range.
- Reclaim an area of open water on Loch Poll an Dunan.
- An area of open water has been restored in Achlochan loch through the combine efforts of dredging to remove silt and an annual programme of reed clearance by the Achlochan crofters, Scottish Wildlife Trust and community volunteers. This area of open water now attracts a diverse range of water birds.
- A gauge board has been installed to monitor water levels in the loch.
- New interpretation panels have been designed and installed to provide information to visitors on the rich natural and cultural heritage of the area.
- Waymarkers have been installed to guide visitors around the scenic coastal path route and a footfall counter has been installed to monitor visitor numbers.
- Benches have been installed to provide resting places at beautiful viewpoints.
- Health and safety signage and infrastructure has been installed at key locations to ensure visitor safety and help minimise disturbance to wildlife, livestock and historic features.
- Essential repairs to the old firing range and buildings have been completed.
- an extensive archaeological survey of the broch and peninsula was completed involving local volunteers and schoolchildren. This identified previously unknown structural remains along the shoreline and on the headland.