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E-newsletter 20th December ‘06

After a short break since the summer, the NHFT newsletter returns!

As ever, NHFT continues to provide advice or support on wood or woodland related issues for community groups, crofters and individuals across Sutherland and Caithness

If you have any information you would like to promote in future e-newsletters, please send it to Sue at teaninich24@yahoo.com.au.

Thanks, Sue



1. NHFT Business Plan Tender: Latest

2. Aspen Event a success

3. Northern Aspen project gets go ahead

4. NHFT AGM and new Directors

5. Crofting inquiry chair appointed

6. Mull powers forward on woodchips

7. Scottish biomass support scheme registration and project survey

8. New SNH website launched

9. New newsletter editor

For Sale

10. Dornoch Christmas tree Sales


11. Rural Craft Apprenticeships Derbyshire

12. Local food apprenticeships


13. Wood Fuel

14. Straw Bales

15. Rope making and Basket Weaving 

16. Dry stone dyking

17. Sharing Good Practice

Help Wanted

18. NHFT Volunteers!


19. Conference at University of Stirling

20. Touchwood Festival 2007

21. Highland Environment Network Conference 07


22. Land fund money for all

23. Rural Development small award fund

24. BBC breathing spaces

25. Awards for al

Information Sources


1. NHFT Business Plan Tender: latest!

We are currently tendering for a consultant to help us develop a new Business Plan and to help us with future fundraising plans. We had hoped to have appointed a consultant by today, but this stage has had to be delayed until January. If you would like to tender for this work, or parts of it (Funding could easily be split from the Plan work) then do get in touch. Our current funding runs out in November 2007 so we are well ahead of ourselves but would like to see NHFT in a much stronger position by that stage and able to deliver even higher quality work, more effectively and efficiently. If you have views on what we do, could do, or otherwise, please do look out for our consultation on the above Plan early next year or contact this office at any time: steve@nhft.org.uk

2. Aspen Event a success

On Saturday 18th November, NHFT organised a morning event at the Aspen Woods, Ballachly Croft, Dunbeath Heritage Centre, Caithness. The theme was the ecology, distribution, history and management of the aspen. The event attracted a large number of people (40+) in spite of wild weather all week and a mild flu epidemic! The sun shone all day, a great time was had by all, and a lot of learning and networking took place in the lovely woods at Dunbeath and Ballachly. The excellent setting of the Dunbeath Preservation Trust headquarters also helped along with nice food: thanks to Meg, Nan and George for help with all of that. And thanks to the Scottish Agricultural College (and Siobhan Macdonald) and ESF for supporting that event. See our website for more details www.nhft.org.uk

3. Northern Aspen project gets go ahead

(and volunteer opportunity)

One further output from the above Aspen day was that it helped highlight the need to develop an aspen resource in the North using local provenance clones. Hot off the press (today) we now have the go ahead from Highland Council’s BAP implementation programme for a project to develop a small resource of aspen from root cuttings from suitable Caithness and Sutherland plants. This will allow us to buy a small poly tunnel and mist unit etc and to collect and grow these on, with most of the work being during the period Feb/March 2007. For further details of how you could contribute (e.g. you know of a good aspen site where we could get permission to remove roots; you would like to dig up roots!; or maybe to look after aspen plants!) contact steve@nhft.org.uk or this office.

4. NHFT AGM and new Directors

We had an exceptionally good agm this year, which followed on from the above Aspen day at Dunbeath. We now have two new directors to complement the existing team of five: David Glass from Dunnethead and Sasha Laing from Dingwall are already proving to be a great boost to the work of the Trust. On behalf of our existing Board, I take this opportunity to welcome them to the work of NHFT. And we also have the likelihood of at least one or possibly two further co-options at our next board meeting in January. More to follow and see our www.nhft.org.uk or our Word from the Wood newsletter for further details and developments.

5. Crofting inquiry chair appointed

Professor Mark Shucksmith has been appointed as the chair of a Committee of Inquiry on crofting. The Committee was established to examine how crofting can best contribute to improving the economy, social infrastructure and environment of rural Scotland. The committee will be looking to appoint members with knowledge of crofting conditions across all the main crofting areas of the Highlands and Islands.

Professor Shucksmith is Professor of Planning at Newcastle University, and was, until recently, Professor of Land Economy and Co-Director of the Arkleton Centre for Rural Development Research, University of Aberdeen, and Co-Director of the Scottish Centre for Research on Social Justice. He is also a member of SEERAD’s Strategic Science Advisory Panel and has been adviser to the Environment and Rural Development Committee of the Scottish Parliament.

6. Mull powers forward on woodchips

The Isle of Mull is getting greener, as the island now has its own woodchip fuel supply.

Robin and Sam Sedgwick have started Crannich Woodfuel, extending their existing farm and tourism business at Crannich in Glen Aros, near Salen. Along with a holiday letting business at Sealladh Carrachan, Tobermory, they are also the first on the island to have installed woodchip boilers.

Argyll and the Islands Enterprise, together with European funding, assisted the two local businesses through the Highlands and Islands Woodfuel Development Programme, administered by Forestry Commission Scotland.

James Hilder, Development Manager of the Mull & Iona Community Trust commented that until now people were reluctant to invest in woodchip boilers on the island, as there was not a guaranteed supply of fuel.

Forestry Commission Scotland Beat Forester Stuart Maidment said, “Mull is now at the forefront of Scotland’s wood fuel supply chain evolution and with 12,500 hectares of forests and woodlands on the island, the community is in a strong position to further develop this renewable resource, reducing reliance on expensive fossil fuels.”

7. Scottish biomass support scheme registration and project survey

The Scottish Executive is launching a £7.5 million support scheme for bioenergy projects in mid-December. In order to gauge the number and type of likely projects there is a questionnaire, downloadable from: www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=842572515475. All responses must be completed by November 22nd. (This still seems active early December). Potential candidates can register their interest from mid-November onwards. Maximum grant will be 400K. Visit www.scottishrenewables.com or contact Jenny Hogan on 0141 222 7920 and jenny@scottishrenewables.com to find out more .

8. New SNH website launched

A new website service reporting on the condition of important Scottish conservation sites: see www.snh.org.uk or call Fergus MacNeill, SNH Inverness on 01463 725021 for details.

9. New newsletter editor

Sue Brown has taken over putting together the newsletter. It will hopefully be produced every 4-6 weeks so that events don’t get missed. If you have any information that you would like to see included then please email Sue at teaninich24@yahoo.com.au or phone 01349 884588.

For Sale

10. Dornoch Christmas Tree Sales

You might just still make it!

Date: 02/12/2006 - 22/12/2006

(Open everyday except Sunday)

Time: 09:00 - 17:00 Weekdays 09:00 - 16:30 Saturday


Bring the family along to select a fresh christmas tree from our large selection of locally grown Pine and Norway Spruce. Friendly staff are on hand to help you choose the perfect tree. We also have good quality Christmas tree stands in stock. Make a day of it and visit our local forest walks at Skelbo or Camore Woods. Easy Access:

Meeting Place: Dornoch District Office

How to get there: From Dornoch, turn left at the square following signs to Embo for a mile and a half. Turn left at Embo Street, following Forestry Commission signs.


11. Rural craft apprenticeships in Derbyshire or Sutherland?

Derbyshire is a long way to go but the apprenticeships outlined below do not currently exist this far north. They could do. If you like to see this happen, an indication of your willingness to take part, or of schools, colleges or other organisations that might like to take part in setting up such work/training opportunities then do get in touch.

20 apprenticeship places available each of two months duration commencing February 07 and running until spring 08. Chainsaw qualifications included in some courses.

Courses cover green oak timber framing, hedgelaying, stone walling, woodland management and general countryside management skills. £125 per week paid towards living expenses. 
For more information visit

Alternatively, if you don’t fancy leaving the north for two months, short-term one day or wknd workshops on greenwood working are in the offing in the early part of the new year, run by Rogart man Mike Ellis. Contact mkellis7@aol.com or this office if you are interested.

12. Local food apprenticeships


13. Wood Fuel

Rural Development Initiatives are running woodfuel training throughout Scotland. The Ignite programme has been designed for those:

o wishing to expand their knowledge of woodfuel as a natural energy source

o considering setting up a woodfuel supply business

o who would like to find out more about woodfuel use

To find out more about events and locations and to book your place please contact Isla Thomson on 0845 226 2890 or by email, isla.thomson@ruraldevelopment.org.uk.  Or online at: www.ruraldevelopment.org.uk or go to http://www.northwoods.org.uk/c.php/home/training_&_skills/ignite_woodfuel_training

14. Straw Bales!

Sustainable Building Volunteering Weekends

Tombreck farm-based community project, Loch Tay, by Aberfeldy in association with SEDA (Scottish Ecological Design Association) are looking for volunteers/trainees in:

o Straw bale build, Summer 2007

Free training. Volunteers also get food, accommodation/camping space. Good chance to check this innovative community out.

To book a place: Suemanning@tombreck.co.uk or 01567 820 500

15. Rope-Making and basket-weaving workshops

19/04/2007 till 24/04/2007

Tim Johnson, from the Isle of Wight, artist and craftsman in rope and straw will hold creative workshops in collaboration with local artist Joanne Kaar who extends the range of media used in these interpretive workshops. Organised by Castletown Heritage.

castletown.heritage@talk21.com http://www.castletownheritage.co.uk

16. Dry-stone dyking course

Saturday, Sunday

19/05/2007 till 20/05/2007 10.00hrs to 16.00hrs

Starts: 10.00hrs to 16.00hrs

Description: Dave Goulder from Rosehall, master craftsman will hold a two day course on basic dry-stone walling, using the local Caithness stone and style. Organised by Castletown Heritage. Email: castletown.heritage@talk21.com (event)

Web: http://www.castletownheritage.co.uk (event)

17. Sharing Good Practice

Scottish Natural Heritage are organising a series of seminars throughout 2006 - 2007 from habitat impact assessment training to Land Management Contracts and biodiversity. For more information about the events contact Karen Smith on 01738 458555/  Lorna Brown on 01738 458559/ Tess Darwin on 01738 458561 or email sgp@snh.gov.uk

Help Wanted

18. NHFT Volunteers!

We are always looking for volunteers to help us organise events, organize mailings, or work on small projects, either at the NHFT office, at home, or in the field (you do not need to be Golspie based). Please do get in contact if you are interested in spending a few hours per week/month helping out. Contact Steve at:  Alba, Main Street, Golspie, KW10 6TG or tel 01408 633 986 mob 07840 260 834 steve@nhft.org.uk


19. Conference at University of Stirling June 2007 “Tools & Techniques for Pastoralism and Wildlands”

The conference aims to broaden our thinking and challenge our dogma over land
management practices which meet nature conservation objectives for individual
nature reserves, farms and woods as well as for whole landscapes.  The
conference is being held at the University of Stirling on 12-14 June 2007.
Highlights of the conference will include: a keynote address from

Dick Balharry (John Muir Trust), presentations by over a dozen leading practitioners from the UK and Europe and field visits to some wild and inspirational sites.at lunch time Thursday 14th June.
The cost will be confirmed by the end of December but will be around
£250 and provisional bookings (names and contact details) are being taken now. If you have any questions please contact Adam Cormack on 01636
670095 or adam.cormack@grazinganimalsproject.info

20. Touchwood Festival 2007

Friday, Saturday 01/06/2007 till 02/06/2007

A new two-day festival showcasing all that's good in terms of the Highland's trees, woods, forests and environment. It will highlight the social, environmental and economic elements of our natural environment and provide a fresh platform to showcase new and existing products and services thus enhancing the public's awareness of their existence. As well as featuring timber and its many better known uses the Festival will also highlight alternative energy potential and a wide range of other non timber forest products. Also held at Jubilee Park in Dingwall.

Contact: Lara McDonald (event)

Phone: +44 (0)1463 811606 (event)

Web: http://www.highlandbirchwoods.co.uk  (event)

Venue: Highland Football Academy

Address: Ross County Football Club

Victoria Park Stadium Dingwall Ross-shire IV15 9QZ

21. Highland Environment Network Conference 07



22. Land Fund money for all

The Scottish Land Fund still has approximately £1 million to allocate. The money must be spent by February 2007, so if your community group have a project especially those of acquisition or technical assistance that can be fully spent by this date apply now. Telephone 01520 722988 for further information. 

23. Rural Development Small Award Fund

£500 - £5000 for rural settlements of under 3000 population. Funding to assess feasibility of new ideas .

o 100% funding

o Capacity building

o Supporting group activities

o Small capital items

o Assisting with community needs

Processed to approval stage within 2 months of receipt. Tel: 0131 244 3885. E-Mail RDSAF@scotland.gsi.gov.uk or visit the website www.scottishexecutive.gov.uk/Topics/Rural/Funding

24. BBC Breathing Places

4.5 million of BIG Lottery Fund money is up for grabs through the BBC Breathing Places campaign which is led by the BBC in partnership with the Scottish Wildlife Trust and BTCV Scotland. Together with local community groups, we aim to transform places into people and wildlife havens.
£300 to £10,000 is available to create, maintain or improve local breathing places

25. Awards for All

Awards for All Scotland is supported by the Scottish Arts Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund, sportscotland and the Big Lottery Fund.

We award grants of between £500 and £10,000 for people to take part in art, sport, heritage and community activities, and projects that promote education, the environment and health in the local community. www.awardsforall.org.uk

Information Sources


A great help in compiling information for these bulletins come from the excellent e-letters produced by Reforesting Scotland, Community Woodland Association, Rural Gateway, Highland Environment Network and many others… thanks for all that work…. Further info from:

Kristin Olsen
Development Officer Reforesting Scotland 62-66 Newhaven Road, Edinburgh, EH6 5QB
Tel: 0131 554 4321 Fax: 0131 554 0088


Diane Campbell Development Officer Community Woodlands Association

17 St Valery Place, Ullapool, IV26 2TD Tel/Fax 01854 613737



Norette Ferns

Rural Community Gateway



NHFT e-letter ends Thanks

Providing advice and support on woodland related issues for community groups, crofters and individuals across Sutherland and Caithness

North Highland Forest Trust is a Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee, Registered in Scotland No. SC029559 – Registered Office: Alba, Main Street, Golspie, KW10 6TG

tel 01408 633 986 fax 01408 634 342 mob 07840 260 834

steve@nhft.org.uk www.nhft.org.uk

NHFT is supported by:

o Scottish Natural Heritage

o Forestry Commission Scotland

o Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise

o The North Highland Leader+ 2000-2006 Programme

o The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

o Highland Council

o The Crofters’ Commission