21 Sep 2021

Assynt Community Larder Open Day

50 gather to celebrate opening of new Assynt Community Larder at Glencanisp Lodge.

Maree Todd MSP cuts ribbon on new Assynt Community Larder - Chris Puddephatt

Caithness and Sutherland MSP Maree Todd joined 50 local people the grounds of Glencanisp Lodge in Assynt last Sunday to cut the ribbon of a new deer larder.

The day, hosted by the Assynt Foundation and the John Muir Trust, included: live music by local musicians Mark Saywell, Ann-Marie Firth Bernard, and Jorine Van Delft; an art exhibition by Clara Elliot weaving together the interconnection between deer and people; a barbecue courtesy of Lochinver Butchers; and tea and cakes served by Ann Macleod and Julia Campbell.

“I want to thank everyone who has helped make the day a resounding success,“ said the Trust's Quinag Conservation Officer Romany Garnett. “I also want to express our gratitude to our local MSP Maree Todd, who found time in her hectic schedule to spend the whole afternoon at Glencanisp talking to and listening to local people.”

The brand new, state-of-the art deer larder will be able to handle more carcasses than the old unit. It includes a small processing facility to allow some ‘home butchering’ by suitably accredited members of the local community. The new larder also has the option to be extended in the future to allow for commercial processing, which would help reduce food miles and contribute to carbon savings.

Meanwhile the adjacent old deer larder has been repurposed as an interpretation and educational centre, focusing on local deer rand land management.

“The old building is of great historical and cultural significance,” said Romany. “It was built around 100 years ago and is a fine example of the corrugated iron buildings that were once widespread across rural Scotland, but are now diminishing in numbers.

“We plan to turn it into an educational centre with artefacts depicting elements of the history of deer in this landscape.”

Maree Todd MSP at new Assynt Community Larder - Chris Puddephatt^ Pictured left to right by the old deer larder: Fiona Saywell, Romany Garnett, Maree Todd and Clare Belshaw.

The new deer larder cost £46,000 and has been funded by the John Muir Trust and the CALLP (Coigach-Assynt Living Landscape Partnership), with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

It will be managed by the John Muir Trust in cooperation with the Assynt Foundation. Both organisations wish to thank the following people for their support in bringing this project to fruition: Allan Graham (architect); Martin Urquhart (contractor); Fishers (supplier); Fiona Saywell; Joe Land; Stuart Belshaw; Rich Williams.

Photos courtesy of Chris Puddephatt

Wildflowers - David Lintern

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