The Former Hydroponicum and other news

Spring cleaning!

Following a meeting (open to all those on Coigach’s electoral roll) on Thursday 14th May in Achiltibuie, and extensive community consultation the directors of CCDC have agreed not to pursue re-registration of Community Interest in the former hydroponicum site. Whatever happens to the land now, we hope it will will bring some benefit to the community in another way – and CCDC has several other projects on the go which are keeping us busy.

Achiltibuie Schoolhouse: we we will soon be taking over ownership from The Highland Council adn will then lease the property to Highland Small Communities Housing Trust (HSCHT) who  will refurbish the building and convert it into two rentable flats.

Former Achiltibuie Smokehouse: since Summer Isles Foods packed up and moved to Alness, the empty building is now in community ownership. We have appointed Alison SInclair as the new Development Officer who will take this project further towards refurbishment and a new lease of life.

Community wind turbine and hydro scheme: we now have Locogen (a multi-disciplinary energy company) on the case so we’re making progress on these all-important projects that will in turn help fund all the other things we have to do.

Old Dornie Harbour: needs extensive improvements to make it fit for purpose as it is essential to our local fishing, fish-farming and leisure industries and we need to find funding to do this. Eventually the income from the renewables projects will help.

Broadband: connectivity is as important in Coigach as it is anywhere – perhaps more so given our remote location so we want to make sure our community doesn’t get left behind.

Paths: in partnership with Coigach Assynt Living Landscape we are working on improvements and developments to the local paths network to improve infrastructure for visitors and locals alike.

Acheninver Youth Hostel: this is SYHA’s last year of leasing the building however we hope to help owners Scottish Wildlife Trust find new tenants as we don’t want to lose this iconic facility that has been bringing visitors to Coigach for about 70 years or more.

And we have the office to tidy up….

And perhaps also  time for a little reminder that CCDC’s directors are hard-working volunteers who put in many hours of their valuable time for the benefit of the wider community.  We’d all like to wish Peter Muir all the best on his retirement and thank him for the many years of work he has contributed – both as employee and the countless extra time he has put in particularly in regards to our renewables projects. And thanks too to Ben Walton, who has been our treasurer for the past four years and has now stepped down as a volunteer director.

Here’s who we are:

Volunteer Directors:
Chair – Iain Muir

Vice Chair – Iain Scott

Phil Shaughnessy

Ann Macleod

Steve Husband


Anne Campbell, Local Development Officer

Linda Macleod currently standing in for Anne Campbell as Local Development Officer who is on sick leave

Alison Sinclair, Smokehouse Development Officer

Julia Campbell, Local Development Officer

And we have over 100 members – that’s over half the community!

Can you help Coigach buy the Smokehouse?

Altandhu - where the Smokehouse sits looking out over the Summer Isles

Achiltibuie Smokehouse Fundraising

Coigach Community Development Company has successfully secured £104,500 towards the £110,000 asking price for the vacant Achiltibuie smokehouse property. We now need to raise the remaining £5,500.

If CCDC succeed in completing the purchase, the award from the Scottish Land Fund will include funding for a project officer to drive forward the developments for the first two years, including help towards refurbishment and development of the building, and support with the establishment of one or more businesses in the premises.

Over many years the smokehouse was a central pillar of our local economy, and now following the departure of Summer Isles Foods it can regain that important role with the help of the community. There have been lots of ideas coming for the development of new and existing businesses in the building, bringing the prospect of steady local employment once more – we just need to complete the purchase!

We have already had some generous people come forward with spontaneous donations towards the funds we need.  CCDC would now like to extend an opportunity to everyone who would like to make a contribution to this new, challenging and exciting chapter in the life of the Coigach community by making a small (or large of course…!) financial contribution to it. We need to complete the purchase by mid-March, so unfortunately we don’t have time to organise any big fund-raising events.

Enquiries regarding a contribution can be directed to Julia Campbell (622379 / Cheques should be made out to : Coigach Community Development Company and can be posted to CCDC, FAO J. Campbell, Coigach Community Hall, Achiltibuie, IV26 2YG.

Details of our new fundraising account will be here very soon but we will of course welcome any contributions in the meantime!

Many thanks in advance for every contribution that helps us complete the purchase of the Achiltibuie Smokehouse. We plan to devise a creative way to acknowledge donors when the building is refurbished and welcome ideas for that too, but we will also respect the privacy of those who prefer to remain anonymous.

Thanks to all in Coigach and beyond who have supported us in spirit so far and of course the Big Lottery Fund, HIE and the Scottish Government for the funding award.

Julia Campbell

Local Development Officer

Coigach Community Development Company

Big Fund_E_Logo_P021

Happy New Year!

And thanks to these hairy locals - owned by CCDC director Ben Walton.
And thanks to these hairy locals – owned by CCDC director Ben Walton.


Another busy year for CCDC beckons! With fresh new diaries on their desks, the staff and directors are looking at their To Do lists and bashing on with implementing the community development plan and working towards Coigach’s future sustainability.

Tanera: We will shortly select a consultant to carry out a quick appraisal of options to look at the pros and cons of possible purchase of the island for the community. This will enable us to make an informed decision regarding purchase  and it will be helpful to all to look at the possibilities from a different viewpoint.

The Smokehouse: Having cleared many of the hurdles of the community right to buy process, we are nearing a crucial point in the proceedings. If funding is firmly secured, we should be in a position to purchase soon – but there’s still a bit of work to do so watch this space and see what the Spring brings!

Housing & Workshop Units – still on the agenda, still working towards achieving these essentials on the community wish list!

Badentarbet Pier & Old Dornie Harbour: the feasibility study is still ongoing. Wallace Stone have carried out extensive surveying and consultation work and now Steve Westbrook is looking at the economics. Hopefully we’ll soon have a draft report of their findings which will give us further information to look at the scope for community ownership and/or developments and improvements.

Renewable Energy: work continues through our subsiduary companies Coigach Wind Power Ltd (community wind turbine) and Ben Mor Hydro (joint hydro power venture with Scottish Wildlife Trust) to drive these projects forward and closer to our goal of a sustainable income – to help with all the projects above and more.

CCDC and Citizens Online will shortly be embarking on informal training sessions for local people who would like to use the internet and who might be missing out if they don’t know how. Sessions will be kicking off soon so if you know someone that could benefit from accessing services, shopping, travel (and fun!) online please contact . Training will be free, friendly and local – in the hall with a cup of tea.

And we (LDOs)  are particularly pleased to report that funding and contracts for the Local Development Officer (LDO)  post has been extended to include 2013 so that’s a good start!   Peter Muir and Julia Campbell will continue to share the post and are can be contacted by email by phone: Peter 01854 622 444, Julia 01854 622 379, visited in the hall most Wednesday mornings from 10am – or stopped in the road, post office or shops if you have any queries, comments, suggestions or ideas.




Summer Isles Smokehouse Ballot

Summer Isles Foods Smokehouse

Community Right to Buy: The former Smokehouse building, Altandhu, Coigach.

Coigach Community Development Company will be holding a postal ballot to ascertain the view of all those on Coigach’s electoral roll on the following question:
“Do you support the Coigach Community Development Company’s aim to buy the Smokehouse building and associated land at Altandhu, Coigach IV26 2YR (subject to funding) for community benefit?”
Ballot papers will be sent out by Highland Council on 21st September 2012, for return by 4pm on Thursday 4th October 2012 at the latest. If you have any queries regarding voting please contact Cheryl Thomson at Highland Council on 01463 702 945. Ballot papers will be counted by Highland Council and the Scottish Government will be notified of the results

Hydroponicum Latest

The Achiltibuie Hydroponicum - an opportunity denied to us.

We’d hoped to be celebrating today as 20th November was the official deadline and date for completion of the sale and transfer of the old hydroponicum to Coigach community ownership. Sadly, the current owners, Moultan Ltd, a company registered in the Isle of Man,  exercised their right to withdraw the property from sale  so the champagne will have to wait. It’s not all doom and gloom though: our interest will remain on the Land Register so there may still be an opportunity to buy in the future, and it has been a useful experience for us.

Working through the Community Right to Buy process proved that we can work together effectively and with a 93% vote for the proposal to buy in the first place, showed that we have broad community support.

So, we’re disappointed but not defeated – and there are plenty of other things to keep us busy: feasibility studies are now underway for the wind turbine and micro-hydro scheme and we hope to have another underway to look at Badentarbet Pier and Old Dornie Harbour early in 2012

SOUP AND SANDWICHES Saturday 24th September!

Beautiful soup, so rich and green,

Waiting in a hot tureen!

Who for such dainties would not stoop?

Soup, Soup, Beautiful Soup!


All welcome!  12.30pm – 3pm, Coigach Community Hall
£5 per adult, £2.50 per child 

in aid of the proposed Hydroponicum site purchase and other CCDC community projects.

Brave New Future for Old Hydroponicum?

Business /workshop units AT LAST for Coigach? … and affordable housing possibilities? … and MORE?

The Coigach community now has the chance to buy the old Achiltibuie Hydroponicum building together with the surrounding three acres of land (from road to shore) to use for community benefit.

This is as a result of the CCDC registering an interest in the site under the Land Reform Act on behalf of the community.

To proceed with the purchase, the CCDC must produce a feasibility study and business plan and undertake a community ballot soon (watch this space!), but before embarking on these steps we want to show residents of Coigach what currently happens in the building and hear views and ideas about what you’d like to see happening there in the future.

Please come along to the Hydroponicum on  Tuesday 28th June at either 4pm or 7pm to inspire or be inspired.

Click on ‘Old Hydroponicum’ tab above for latest news and background.