Highland Hunting Lodge In Sutherland Set For Extensive Upgrade
30th December 2008
A Victorian hunting lodge in Sutherland is to get a £1.5m facelift to allow a variety of uses including use as luxury accommodation and use for corporate events, thanks to a funding package including Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) together with the Big Lottery Fund.
Community group The Assynt Foundation near Lochinver has been awarded £250,000 by HIE and £785,000 by the Big Lottery Growing Fund Community Assets towards a £1.5 million project to renovate Glencanisp Lodge. Its renovation will create five jobs directly and another two indirectly, while also securing the six jobs already created since 2005.
The Assynt Foundation acquired the 44,400 acre Glencanisp and Drumrunie estates, covering an area the size of 123 Hyde Parks and including the 14 bedroom lodge at Glencanisp in 2005. The Foundation was set up as a community body to manage the estates, which are set in a beautiful area of hills, mountains and lochs in the parish of Assynt in Sutherland and Wester Ross. They include the iconic mountains Suilven, Canisp, Cul Mor and Cul Beag.
Glencanisp Lodge, which is reached by a single track road from Lochinver, was originally built in 1835 by the Duke of Sutherland and is the charitable Foundation's main source of income. Funding from HIE will be used towards both the renovation of the lodge and towards the funding of a project co-ordinator to provide support for the project and market the lodge when the restoration work is completed. Major work includes installing a new heating system using a wood fuel boiler, new kitchen and improved access to allow all-abilities use.
As an innovative way to meet some of the design features, the Assynt Foundation intends to run a course in log scribing building technique. This will result in a group of local people gaining skills in this technique and during the course will build a multi-purpose log building suitable for use for training events.
Adam Pellant from the Assynt Foundation, said: "We are delighted that we have been awarded grants towards the redevelopment of Glencanisp Lodge. It will become an example of sustainable and environmentally friendly development within our remote rural community. This project will be of benefit to not just our community but those who visit Assynt and the surrounding area as well."
Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Alison Magee, said: "We are delighted to have been one of the first funders to have invested in this project back in January 2008. By restoring and protecting this iconic building the Assynt Foundation will be able to create long-term employment opportunities for local people while generating an income for this remote community to invest back into local projects."
Neil Gerrard of HIE's Community Land Unit, said: "The Assynt Foundation has been very successful in raising the £1.5m needed to refurbish Glencanisp Lodge. This project will help establish it as a focal point within the community while also attracting more visitors to the area."
The Assynt Foundation plans to attract new visitors to the area to enjoy their unique experience of a community owned hunting lodge and also to run a wide variety of training courses.