The State of Crofting in Coigach & Assynt: A report from the Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership

Abigail Anne Campbell*, K Lamont (Stephen)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/Report/Policy Brief/Technical BriefCommissioned report

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Abstract

The State of Crofting in Coigach & Assynt was initiated as one of the outputs of the Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership Scheme (CALLP) Crofting Project. In the final year of the project a survey was undertaken and all crofters from the area were invited to take part. The aim of the survey was to provide a description of crofting activity in the townships and to identify the needs, opportunities and constraints for crofters both now and the future of crofting in the area. There were 42 respondents from both Coigach and Assynt most of whom were experienced crofters who had either grown up on family croft and/or inherited a family croft. A range of crofting activity was reported, with the rearing of various breeds of livestock and poultry being the most popular, followed by horticulture. A small number of crofters are engaged with activities on their croft which aim to benefit the natural environment such as woodland planting and using seaweed as a fertiliser. Some crofters also had tourism businesses including bed and breakfast and/or self-catering units.The key challenges to crofting were reported as being a lack of funding support and having insufficient resources/ability to make a crofting business viable due to its small-scale nature. It was evident that there is a low uptake of potential funding and only a few respondents received financial support through the Scottish Rural Development Programme. Crofters’ duties are set out by the Crofting Commission and whilst many crofters fulfil these duties there are concerns of some non-compliance by other crofters in the area. Other challenges included herbivore (deer and rabbit) damage to crops. The lack of people, specifically young people, was identified as a key challenge which impacted activity on individual crofts and the co-operative nature of crofting which involves shared labour and shared machinery
Original languageEnglish
PublisherSRUC
Number of pages42
Publication statusPrint publication - 31 Mar 2022

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