Part of this project is going to be the development of five new heritage trails in Assynt, drawing together knowledge and information from a huge range of different sources to interpret five fascinating routes through the landscape. To help us to do this, we are running a programme of training for a group of trail guides, and we will pilot the trails as part of the Assynt Festival (see www.assyntfestival.org.uk) during the next two weeks. After that we will put together interpretation material initially here on this website and later, well, we’ll see how it develops.
Today we began the guide training programme with brilliant guidance from Highland Council Senior Ranger Andy Summers, AOC archaeologist John Barber, local Gaelic teacher Claire Belshaw, and former ranger and geology buff Bill Ritchie, as well as our Historic Assynt project leader Gordon Sleight. We have a fantastic team of 9 trainees, who between them also have a huge range of knowledge and experience, so the training is really a rich process of knowledge sharing.
After an introduction at Stoer Hall, we set out into the rain and spent the morning walking around Clachtoll. The afternoon was spent at Cnoc nan Each. In between, we had lunch while Bill gave us 3 billion years of geology in 5 minutes, John summarised several thousand years of human habitation, and Claire gave us insights into Gaelic place names. Tomorrow, we will attempt three more walks.
The highlight of the day for me was John Barber’s outrageous burnt mound tale, but as this is just the start of the dig diary, I will hold off sharing it with you until the dig has actually begun. The perfect moment to reveal it will, I am sure, become clear, and until then, dear reader, you’ll have to watch this space…