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July 25, 2018

Community ownership now mainstream

With the recent tranche of Scottish Land Fund awards spread across Scotland’s central belt, it was another sign that community landownership has become an increasingly mainstream feature of Scotland’s civic landscape – no longer confined to the north and west of the country. Community landownership is also no longer new – many young people have lived all their lives on community owned land. It is however still a fragile movement – many community landowners struggle to achieve financial stability and cite a lack of affordable working capital as a major barrier. Next month sees a weeklong programme of events showcasing their achievements.


Community Land Scotland

Scotland’s first Community Land Week will be held from Saturday 11th August – Sunday 19th August 2018.

Community landowners from all over Scotland will be hosting events which will allow people to see more of what happens on community owned land. Community Land Week is organised by Community Land Scotland in partnership with the Scottish Government

As part of Community Land Week 2018, the following events will be taking place around Scotland. Details of times, exact locations and if booking is required will be published over the coming weeks.

Saturday 11th August @ 10.00

Cuairt Oighreachd Charlabhaigh – join Urras Oighreachd Charlabhaigh for a group walk to help test the Bonnet Laird Walk route.

The guided walk will start from Callanish (Isle of Lewis) and attendees are welcome to join at any of the four points listed below.

If you are planning to attend, please wear suitable footwear and clothing for a moorland walk. Anyone under 16 should be accompanied by an adult. There will be soup and tea / coffee provided at Carloway School afterwards.

There is no need to book but if you are thinking of attending and / or would like more information please contact Sally on 01851 643 481 or

Website – https//

Monday 13th August @ 11.30

The Knoydart Foundation will be hosting a guided walk and talk on ‘Community Renewables in Action‘. The walk and talk will look at the practicalities of running your own community energy power company! It is a general interest event – not technical. There is also the possibility of a trip to the turbine house but this will require booking (details to be confirmed).

The event will be open to the general public and anyone interested in renewable energy, housing and community land ownership. Attendees are asked to meet at Inverie village hall at 11.30.

Main contact –

Website –

Monday 13th August @ 19.30

Action Porty will be hosting two talks, and a very brief film, on community empowerment and community lands, ‘Global Resurgence of Community Lands – Examples from Kenya and Scotland: What has the law ever done for us?

Milka Chepkorir, a Sengwer community activist, will talk about her community’s attempts to secure a win-win for the community and conservation, and to halt the burning of their homes and evictions from their lands in the name of forest conservation. This will include the opportunities and challenges of trying to use Kenya’s 2016 Community Land Act.

Justin Kenrick, Chair of Action Porty, will talk about the campaign to secure Bellfield for the community, and Portobello’s ongoing attempt to secure a win-win for the community and Edinburgh Council at the Pitz / Westbank site, including the use of the 2016 Land Reform Act and the 2015 Community Empowerment Act.

The event will take place at Portobello’s Old Parish Church, Bellfield and will be open to members of the community and general public. Booking is not necessary but if you are thinking of attending please e-mail

Tuesday 14th August

Sleat Community Trust will be hosting the following two events:

Come and discover Sleat Community Trust, a community group awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service @ 09.30 – 12.00. Hosted by Sleat Community Trust at their offices, this is an opportunity to meet the Trust and discover the activities and range of projects they have been involved with. Areas of interest will involve the Trust’s structure, community broadband, the subsidised taxi services, tourism group, trading and renewable projects, funding, the planned Armadale trading site redevelopment and essential joined up working.

This event is open to other community trusts, the local community and general public.

Armadale Trading Site Redevelopment @ 13.00 – 14.30 – hosted by Sleat Community Trading Company Limited at Sleat Community Trust offices. This will be a specific opportunity to find out about the planned development of the Sleat Community Trust’s trading site at Armadale. Topics will include challenges, funding and plans.

This event is open to other community trusts.

If you would like to attend any of the Sleat events please e-mail

Website –

The Trust will also be hosting an event on August 17th (please see below for details).

Tuesday 14th August @ 11.00

West Harris Trust will be hosting a guided visit to their renewables projects including a visit to the 100kW hydro scheme, 100kW Xant wind turbine and 53kW Harbon wind turbine. After the tour attendees will return to Talla na Mara for a tour of the building, a brief talk on the aims, objectives and achievements of the Trust and tea / coffee.

The event is open to the whole community and other community land owners. Booking is not required but if you are interested in attending please e-mail

Please meet at Gleann Dudhlinn, Seilebost @ 11.00. The event will finish at 12.30.

Website –

Thursday 16th August @ 14.00

Garbh Allt is on the Map – celebrating this newly owned community land in Sutherland.

Garbh Allt Community Initiative will be hosting an event to celebrate their newly purchased community owned land, focusing around a flag-waving walk to the Land League Memorial and followed by a ceilidh on the Highland Games field.

The event will be open to the whole community and visitors.

Main contact – Carolyn Smith,

Website –

Thursday 16th August @ 13.00

South West Mull and Iona Development Trust will be hosting a community event, ‘Tiroran Community Forest – Then and Now‘ which will focus on People, Forestry and Biodiversity & Nature. There will be three stations in the forest each with a local expert who will talk about their subject in relation to what the forest was like post buy-out and what it is like now.

The People station will cover the areas that were cleared in the forest in the late 1800s and the sites for the new woodland crofts and what it could be like again with people living in the forest. This station will be covered by a local historian and one of the potential crofters.

The Forestry station will look at the way the forest was planted in the 1970s and the changes that Forestry Commission Scotland now look for in terms of forest planning and the reasoning behind this. It will also give the Trust a chance to talk about their aspirations in terms of forestry and what their plans are.

The Biodiversity and Nature station will consider the species in the forest and the impact of both the previous and future forest management on this aspect.

The event is open to everyone. There is no need to book but if you are thinking of attending and / or would like more information, please contact Morven – or 01681 700 021.

Website –

Thursday 16th August @ 14.00

Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn will be hosting a talk of the history of the estate and the run up to the buyout. Followed by a walk @ 15.15 to explore key sites of interest relating to the buyout celebration and the history of Galson.

Please meet at the UOG Business Centre, Tom na Ba, South Galson, Isle of Lewis, HS2 0SH – time to be confirmed.

The event is open to everyone and booking is not required.

Main contact –

Website –

Friday 17th August @ 13.00

A Millennial’s look at Abriachan’s piece of the Millennium Forest for Scotland

Abriachan Forest Trustees, including our millennial Sam Hesling, (Katharine Stewart’s grandson), will lead an interactive walk on Friday 17th August , 13.00-16.00, to the top of Carn na Leitir and, along the way, will highlight some of the biodiversity, social, economic and creative developments which have taken place in the woodland over the past twenty years of community stewardship.

The event is open to everyone who is interested in what community management of land can mean.

Refreshments will be available at the forest classroom before and after the walk, so an intimation of attendees would be helpful for cake production! Please e-mail if you are thinking of attending and / or for further details.

Website –

Friday 17th August @ 10.00

Kilfinan Community Forest, Tighnabruaich, Argyll, PA21 2BD will be hosting an open day for people interested in developing community land; and sharing their experiences of what can be achieved. Friends of Glenan Wood, a neighbouring community, will also be taking part.

How to create and manage Community Woodland

The event is open to the public but especially aimed at those involved with community acquisitions and development. There is no need to book but if you are thinking of attending please e-mail


Website –


Friday 17th August @ 10.00

Sleat Community Trust will be hosting a visit to Tormore Forest, a community owned working forest. This event will offer the chance to visit Tormore Forest and discover the work the community has been undertaking – how it was funded, how a working forest works, why diversification is essential, use of timber, renewable projects, current plans and developments.

Attendees are asked to meet at Sleat Community Trust offices at 10.00, moving on to Tormore Forest at 11.00 with the event concluding at 13.00.

The event is open to other community trusts, the local community, general public and visitors.

If you would like to attend any of the Sleat events please e-mail

Website –

Saturday 18th August @ 15.00, Achmore Bridge

Fernaig Community Trust will be hosting an afternoon opening of a new 1.7km footpath on Fernaig land, completed in 2017 – 2018 and funded by SRDP Agri-Environment Climate Scheme, Improving Public Access. After a ‘ribbon cutting’ there will be a guided walk along the path through Trust land followed by a BBQ. There are plans for various fun events e.g. duck (plastic) racing on the burn. All welcome and no booking required.

The date also coincides with the 20th Birthday of Fernaig Community Trust, established in August 1998.

Main contact – Colin McAndrew,

Website –

Saturday 18th August @ 18.00

Findhorn Village Conservation Society will be hosting a Celebration at the Armstrong Garage Site, Linksview, Findhorn, IV36 3YW.

The Society will be hosting a BBQ / BYOB and holding the draw for the raffle that has been running for three months. Prizes include superb malt whiskies, holidays in Findhorn and Ferness, trips to see the dolphins and more. The raffle is to raise funding for the all access David Urquhart memorial pathway along Findhorn Bay.

The event will be open to the Society’s members and associate members, all residents and visitors.

Main contact – Jo Harris,

Website –

Sunday 19th August @ 13.00

Mull of Galloway Trust will be hosting an International Lighthouse Heritage Garden Party from 13.00 – 17.00 which will showcase the history of the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse and explain the role of the foghorn and engines which have just been restored. Attendees will witness the foghorn being blasted – this is the only working foghorn on the Scottish mainland. The Trust will work in partnership with the Kirkmaiden Church who will provide refreshments and home baking, the RSPB and a local Scottish band, Cliff Topp and the Foghorns who will provide the music.

The event will be open to members of the local community, general public, visitors, holiday makers and lighthouse enthusiasts!

Main contact –

More to follow over the coming weeks.