Crofting is a unique social system which stems from the Highland Clearances of the nineteenth century, and has played a crucial role in shaping the landscape, natural environment, cultural heritage and social economy of all the crofting counties. In the project area there are three main areas under crofting tenure: the Coigach Peninsula, the Assynt Coast from Lochinver north to Stoer and then east to Kylesku, and the townships of Elphin and Knockan on the eastern edge of the project area.

Crofting is the primary form of small scale land tenure in the project area and a key part of the social and economic fabric. In addition crofting land management can have considerable environmental benefits, and perhaps most importantly provides a vital link between the local community and the land.

The aims of the project were to:

  • Provide support and practical assistance to crofters throughout the local area to allow them to realise their ambitions, make the most of the land under their custody and to encourage new entrants.
  • Employ a Sustainable Crofting & Rural Projects Coordinator, Anne Campbell, aacampbell@coigach-assynt.org who oversees and manages the project.

Since the project started in 2018 two demonstration crofts have been set up, crofts have been mapped and prepared for registration, and over 20 training workshops have taken place.  A pilot scheme to improve grass and pasture was implemented in Achiltibuie.

Although the Covid 19 crisis had an impact on plans, it didn’t stop some of the training going ahead, with innovative ideas for delivery including Zoom-based sheepdog handler training, and a series of short videos showing some of the classic cultivation techniques needed in crofting (see below). Work on the demonstration crofts went ahead – the farming calendar stops for no-one. So the land was prepared, seeds were sown, fences built, and advice on best management of the land for wildlife as well as crops sought and given.

Project funding ended in September 2021, so for the final year the project looked at what the future holds for crofting in this area. Anne gathered as much information on the state of crofting in the CALL area as possible. She distributed a questionnaire, and welcomed as many people as possible  completing and returning it.

As part of the project these videos have been filmed and edited for us by Will Irvine, showing some of the classic crofting activities. We hope you enjoy them.

Although the CALLP Crofting Project has come to an end Anne Campbell is now the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s CALL Project Officer (Crofting), and can be contacted at

acampbell@scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Project timeline

Related category

 

Demonstration crofts in Coigach & Assynt

We will be looking for enthusiastic and forward-looking crofters to take up the demonstration croft opportunity. The croft selection will be done in a competitive and transparent way. Croft development

 

Project partners