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Coigach and Assynt Heritage Trail due to be launched

By John Davidson

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The monolith at Clachtoll.
The monolith at Clachtoll.

Local people and visitors are being encouraged to slow down and take their time to explore the history of Coigach and Assynt on a new trail.

The Coigach and Assynt Heritage Trail will be officially launched next Saturday, May 21, with an event that begins at Clachtoll.

The new heritage trail begins at Culnacraig at the base of Ben Mor Coigach, near Achiltibuie, and takes in a number of locations between there and Kylesku.

A leaflet and map will be available locally and there are striking monolith information panels dotted along the way. These are made of Corten steel, rusted naturally by coastal salt-laden air to create a beautiful patina which fits seamlessly into the landscape. There are also sturdy oak waymarker posts displaying the trail’s QR code, which leads people to the new website, www.candatrail.com

The project, part of the Coigach and Assynt Living Landscape partnership scheme, has been a collaborative community project which gathered information from the folk who know the most about the area's heritage and have helped to preserve those stories.

An information panel on the trail at Badenscallie.
An information panel on the trail at Badenscallie.

Working with the Coigach Community Development Company and Historic Assynt, Seoras Burnett, who compiled the information for the trail, spoke to local people to get authentic and original accounts, as well as delving deep into academic papers. He hopes that “the trail will allow people to stop and reflect on a rich and complex history which runs through this amazing landscape from the end of the last Ice Age to the present day”.

From rebellions during the Highland Clearances to World War II submarine missions, seismic geological discoveries to hazardous mountain walks to school, the area is alive with stories from the past.

Project coordinator Ann Marie Firth-Bernard said: “This has been an enjoyable and rewarding project to work on and we’re looking forward to sharing our local history with a wide audience.”

People are encouraged to explore sections of the trail on foot, by bike or even in a kayak.

The launch event on May 21 begins at the new ranger hut at Clachtoll at 2pm, when the hut will be officially opened. There will then be a guided walk to celebrate the new heritage trail, led by history and geology experts.

The walk will take people past the excavated Iron Age Clachtoll Broch to Stoer Village Hall, where there will be refreshments. The community-run Connect Assynt minibus will be made available to run people who cannot join the walk from Clachtoll to the Stoer hall.

One of the monoliths is placed at Kylesku.
One of the monoliths is placed at Kylesku.

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