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Lairg & District Community Initiatives


Take a Road Trip Down Memory Lane


Following the success of the two community ceilidh and photograph evenings LDCI has produced a DVD.  Copies are available from Board of Directors or the Development Officer for more details.
Tel: (01549) 402240 or e-mail:

Community Ceilidh a Huge Success


On Wednesday 21st October 2009 The LDCI held a Ceilidh to celebrate the people who have helped to shape our community.  With funding secured through A'Chraobh, the event was organised under the umbrella of the Highland Homecoming Festival 2009.  The Community Centre reached full capacity with a unique opportunity to see a range of photographs on a large screen from days gone by.  You can visit our news section of the website to find out more and view a selection of photos used from the evening.


First Santa Fun Run Raises Over £4,000 for Charity


The first Lairg Santa Fun Run took place on Saturday 12th December 2009 and raised over £4000 for Charity.  Over 50 people took part in the race, dressing up as Father Christmas and setting out on a 4 mile trek across woodland, river and road.  The event is the first of its kind to take place in Sutherland, organised by The Lairg & District Community Initiative.  

Ferrycroft Visitor Centre

Ferrycroft Countryside Centre opened initially in 1994 as a partnership project involving Sutherland District Council, Highland Regional Council, The Forestry Authority, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Hydro Electric, Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise and the European Union. It has acted as the base for the local Countryside Ranger, is a Tourist Information Centre and has drawn some eight to twelve thousand visitors a year.
On its tenth anniversary the various partners came together to discuss the upgrading of the exhibitions. In due course this led to the commissioning of an Interpretation Plan and a Business Plan, which also considered the improved signage and interpretation of the adjacent Ord Hill archaeological sites, the Ferry Wood and Lairg Auction Mart.
Generous funding was accessed from Forward Scotland, through the Community Environmental Renewal Scheme, and from Highland 2007 - as well as from Scottish Natural Heritage, Highland Council and Heritage Lottery Fund, with support in kind from The Forestry Commission. A budget of around £270k was established.
In December 2007 Studio LR from Edinburgh were appointed to design and implement the project, in association with Eastern Photocolour from Musselburgh. The team worked closely with the range of partners, co-ordinated by the Highland Council’s Area Cultural Officer, to deliver the project.
The visitor centre refit was largely complete at the start of the 2008 season, with 3 newly designed Exhibition Rooms ~ Land, Water and People. There are 2 touch screens, 2 listening posts, 3 interactives, a forestry dressing-up box, 2 film screens, 3 window benches (one per room), and a totally refitted shop area and café. The displays and signage include substantial Gaelic content and make them suitable for Gaelic medium pupils.
The refurbished centre was officially opened by the chairman of Education, Culture and Sport on 29th August 2008.
LDCI are aware of the importance of retaining Ferrycroft as a visitor attraction, information point and most importantly, seasonal employment provider and therefore propose to negotiate with Highland Council to transfer the centre to LDCI to be run for the community.
Some major investment will be required to make Ferrycroft a sustainable community enterprise and to create further employment opportunities.
LDCI invite you to support this proposal and help to secure the future of Ferrycroft Visitor Centre.


Santa Dance Marathon 2012


The first LDCI Charity Santa Dance Marathon took place in Lairg Community Centre on Saturday 1st December. The event was well supported by a mixed age group of dancing Santa's all taking to the floor to raise money for charity.
Music was provided by the Collie Ceilidh Band from Ardgay and the evening was compered by Lindsay MacDonald who kept everybody on their toes for a massive two hours of dancing, games and fun.
A total of £898.50 was raised for this years four nominated charities which were the Highland Hospice, Dementia Friendly Communities Sutherland, the Highland Rheumatology Unit and LDCI.

Easter Fun at Ferrycroft 2012


On Saturday 7th April , the Easter Bunny welcomed visitors to Ferrycroft Centre. The Easter Egg Hunt saw over 40 children happily searching for eggs and being rewarded for their find with chocolate treats.
There was a colouring competition for pre-school to P7 children and the winning entries were:
Pre-school: Archie Wallace
P1 - P3: Michael Ramage 
P4 - P7: Caitlin Anderson  

Santa Fun Run 2011


The 2011 Charity Santa Fun Run took place on Saturday 10th December, following the 4 mile route through Gunn's Wood to Lairg Railway Station, through Station Wood and back to the Community Centre.
Dr Jean Kay, a former LDCI Director, officially opened the race and 15 enthusiastic 'Santa's' set off at 11:00am. Thank you to everybody who took part and helped with refreshments on the day.
A total of £1,972 was raised for this years four nominated charities which were International Rescue UK, Crossroads Care, Scottish Cot Death Trust and LDCI.


Lairg Mayfest 2011


Craft fair in Lairg Community Centre

Lairg's second Mayfest, one day festival, was held on Saturday 14th May. The day was a great success despite a mixed package of cold and blustery weather.
Events were held throughout the village and were well supported by members of the public.
Lairg Community Centre was the venue for the food and craft fair, photograph competition and soup and sweet lunch served by members of Lairg Gaelic Choir, while outside in the Primary School playground was a car boot sale, plant sale, farmers' market and a model display from Dornoch Model Club. 
Lairg Learning Centre held various exhibitions and demonstrations, while the Primary School Parent Council served coffee and cakes and ran fundraising activities.

The Eco Croft Project


The Eco Croft project is possibly the most exciting and engaging proposal for the redevelopment of our community. You may have heard, seen or read information relating to the Eco Croft Project and wondered what this is all about and how it can help develop Lairg?  Well here is your chance to find out more about this initiative!

There are many elements to this project, but in its basic form the Eco Croft is a tourism attraction which aims to support a different approach to land management within the Lairg area.  Based on the principals of permaculture and a local supply chains, the Eco Croft has a long term vision to support crofters through a cooperative scheme based within Lairg. The roots of the project lie within simple economics, matching local supply with local demand.

What the LDCI aim to achieve is a prototype that could supply a vision toward the future of crofting within the Highlands of Scotland.  We aim to support and encourage our crofting community in making small steps towards more viable land management. The proposal encourages diversification in some areas, integration in others and the introduction of a new generation into crofting. 

You may not be familiar with the term permaculture, but it is a movement which takes natural ecosystems as its model in its approach to growing food.  Permaculture is as much about culture, as it is about agriculture, but most importantly it is about recognising the potential to grow food organically with as little effort as possible.

It is not a lazy way of land management, but one where careful planning and zoning of crofting land could produce a variety of crops/livestock for the local community, therefore shifting local consumer dependency from the supermarket giants to the local crofter.  In return the crofter has guaranteed income, through producing affordable food for the community.

Communities such as Stroud, have achieved an incredible relationship between consumer and producer, coming to the point where the producer is seen as 'king' within the community – after all they are producing good wholesome food!

Many critics of permaculture in the Highlands would argue that our land is not as arable as other places and couldn’t grow enough variety of food for communities.  However, if we were to stop and make a list of all the crops, fruits, flowers, vegetables, herbs, salad leaves and livestock that can survive in the Highlands, you would be surprised.  They may not be ‘traditional’ crofting crops, but if they could provide an income without damaging the environment, why not try them out!

The other important element of the Eco Croft is to build an attraction which will preserve important crofting and crafting skills while encouraging the use of new technologies.  There are many plants which grow in abundance in the Highlands which contain important substances which could be extracted for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.  Facilities within the Eco Croft will be used to extract creative imaginations and create a new brand of Highland made products.

This is a social enterprise on a most exciting level, involving tourism, education and community.  It is a project which will be transferrable to other communities throughout the Highlands who face similar social and economic problems as Lairg.  Due to the many elements included in this project, it is going to take time to develop, however the Lairg & District Community Initiatives own an eight acre site within the village which has been provisionally earmarked for this development.

We realise that the Eco Croft will not solve the many issues surrounding crofting in the twenty first century, however we feel through testing a new approach to this traditional industry, we are stepping onto the boundaries of the unknown and possibly the growth of a new era within Lairg.  The LDCI are continuing to gather support from many public agencies on this project.

If you feel that this project is of interest to you, or you would like to comment on the idea, please get in touch using the contact details on the website.


Former Sutherland Arms Hotel Site - Ballot Results

Following the closure and subsequent demolition of the Sutherland Arms Hotel the residents of the Parish of Lairg were asked if they supported the proposal of the Lairg and District Community Initiatives to exercise on behalf of the community, the ‘Community Right to Buy’ under the Land Reform Act (Scotland) 2003.
The proposal was supported by over 50% of the eligible residents of the Parish (over 18 and registered on the electoral register) as required by the Scottish Ministers.
The ‘Community Right to Buy’ was exercised on behalf of the community and accepted in June 2008.

In July 2010, the current owner of the former Sutherland Arms Hotel site placed the site on the open market. This automatically triggered the Community Right to Buy held on the site.
An independent valuer was appointed by the Scottish Ministers and the Highland Council conducted a community ballot on behalf of Lairg and District Community Initiatives.
Following the valuation, the current site owner took the decision to withdraw the site from the market.
Lairg and District Community Initiatives agreed that the ballot count should continue as planned and would clearly evidence the public opinion.

Result 2010
Mr John Bruce, Elections Manager, the Highland Council, intimated that the following votes were counted at the postal ballot count held in Lairg Community Centre on Tuesday 26th October 2010, commencing at 7:30pm.
761 ballot papers were issued by first class mail, on Monday 11th October 2010.
At the close of poll at 12:00pm on Monday 25th October 2010, 520 valid ballot papers had been returned.
The percentage return was therefore 68.3%.

In response to the question asked on the ballot paper - Do you support the Lairg and District Community Initiative's aim to buy the former Sutherland Arms site in Lairg (subject to funding)?
The result was:
Yes - 335  (64.4%)
No - 183 (35.2%)
There were two spoilt ballot papers.

Result 2013
To continue to exercise the ‘Community Right to Buy’ on the Former Sutherland Arms Hotel Site, Lairg and District Community Initiatives must re-register the intention to the Scottish Government by 12th December 2013.
In June 2013, a community ballot was conducted to evidence public opinion.

Cheryl MacIver, Elections Officer, the Highland Council, intimated that the following votes were counted at the postal ballot held in Dingwall Council Offices on Wednesday 3rd July 2013, commencing at 10:00am.
750 ballot papers were issued by post on Tuesday 18th June 2013.
At the close of poll at 12:00pm on Tuesday 2nd July 2013, 433 valid ballot papers had been returned.
The percentage return was therefore 58%.

In response to the question asked on the ballot paper - Do you agree to Lairg and District Community Initiative's re-registering the 'Community Right to Buy' of the former Sutherland Arms Hotel Site, Lairg?
The result was:
Yes - 292  (67.43%)
No - 141  (32.56%)
There were three spoilt ballot papers.

Lairg and District Community Initiatives would like to thank all members of the community who returned their ballot papers.

Ferrycroft Visitor Centre


Ferrycroft Visitor Centre, Lairg

Follow the flock of sheep to Ferrycroft to discover why Lairg has always been a crossroads for people, wildlife and culture. There are games, displays and experiences for all the family. Become a wildlife detective – the clues are as strange as their owners. Guide your salmon on a 3000 mile journey or lift it up Lairg dam. Discover what farming families left on Ord Hill thousands of years ago. Learn about the local wildlife from pine martins to black-throated divers.
Find out what happened when the Hydro Boys moved in or listen to local people telling their stories and watch their lives half a century ago. Open the Lairg photo album to discover the past and present. Ferrycroft is the starting point for walks in Ferry Wood or up Ord Hill.
This Centre is now run by Highland Highlife.