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Hall plan will bring new life to Culrain


By Caroline McMorran

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A LONG-standing proposal to modernise a community hall in Sutherland has evolved into a wider vision which it is hoped will help revitalise the area.

A development plan has now been produced that maps out ambitious and exciting plans for the dilapidated Culrain Hall.

A drawing of the planned new-look Culrain Hall which will include a self-contained bunkhouse. Also planned is a commercial cafe. The scheme is now at the fundraising stage.
A drawing of the planned new-look Culrain Hall which will include a self-contained bunkhouse. Also planned is a commercial cafe. The scheme is now at the fundraising stage.

The Community Hearth project aims not just to convert the hall into a modern meeting point for local residents, but also a visitor facility with a self-contained bunkhouse, small commercial café and bike rental.

Behind the scheme is the hard-working, 12-strong Culrain and District Hall Committee, supported by the Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise supported the development plan.

The committee said it wished to bring new life to Culrain by providing opportunities to enhance the lives of current residents and attract new residents and visitors.

The local population numbers just 70 but the community has a railway station and is on a national cycle route as well as being surrounded by forest walks. Nearby Carbisdale Castle closed as a youth hostel in 2011, leaving an accommodation void.

The project document reads: “A successful Community Hearth project will allow Culrain to properly tap into the tourism market as well as having a bustling village focal point for locals.”

Erected in 1956, the existing, much-loved hall is a former RAF building used during World War II and relocated from Durness. In the ensuing years it has been used for all types of community activities.

Planning consent for the new hall was granted in June 2020. The project is still in the early stages but a list of potential funders has been drawn up along with a four-year timeline with the scheme to be completed in phases.


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