What are we doing?
In a snapshot shown below are some of the projects and initiatives that we are managing for the community. Click on the sub-pages to find out a litttle more.
How we began - HIE Startup grant
With this grant, in 2008 we visited a number of different communities who have all managed to achieve success with the sorts of community developments we want for Camuscross.
We have visited: the Isle of Eigg, to see their shop-cafe-community space and renewable energy schemes; Appin Community Cooperative to see their community shop and housing development; Staffin to see the Staffin Community Trust Ecomuseum interpretation and paths and the community shop.
Township Development Plan
With funding from HIE's Community Land Unit, and some of our own funds, we commissioned Andrew Prendergast to conduct community consultation on what people think would make our community a better place to live. He has consulted with a wide range of people, including with young people through an online survey and local businesses and organisations. The completed Township Development Plan represents what the people of Camuscross & Duisdale want to happen over the next five years and will guide Camuscross & Duisdale Initiative
We have been working with Camuscross Common Grazings and Highland Small Communities Housing Trust to investigate the possibility of creating affordable house sites on the Common Grazings. A piece of common grazings has been separated from the rest of the hill by the new road, and the grazings committee is willing to release the land for housing - despite having an area of common grazing which is a tenth of the size, and more shareholders than any other township in Sleat.
We have conducted a lot of research into the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 and crofting legislation, and sought advice from the Community Land Unit and the Scottish Crofting Foundation in working out how we could acquire the land and release it from crofting tenure for development.
The Highland Small Communities Housing Trust conducted a successful a feasibility study in 2009-2010 and established that it is possible to develop the site, but is more expensive to do so than initially thought - they would need a minimum of 5 households interested in a house site in order to take the project forward.
The Paths Sub-group worked with Donald Kennedy, Highland Council's Access Officer to develop the plan for a network of footpaths to link the village of Camuscross with Duisdale and link Camuscross to the proposed new Sustainable Community Hub, the potential housing development, and the existing paths in the forest at Brae Ord. The group also hopes to develop interpretation about the heritage and history of the village to complement the paths. This will take the theme of "The Making of a Crofting Township" and will look at how the community has evolved over time and the crucial role that crofting has played in its formation and development.
If you would like to see a copy of the footpaths or heritage interpretation plan, get in touch with any of the group.
Sustainable Community Hub with shop, cafe and activity space
Members of the group have visited 3 community shops, shop-cafes and shop-cafe-activity space in communities of a similar size in the West Highlands and now have sample accounts from 3 similar businesses. We have also had the services of HIE business advisor, Douglas Hamilton to advise on business potential.
We are now seeking funding to conduct a feasibility study into the siting and design of the sustainable community hub - and then will need to find development funding.
This is an ambitious plan, and will take a lot of work, but if other communities can do it, we can too!
Renewable Energy/Our Carbon Footprint
We have now bought Allt Duisdale Reservoir, with a view to developing a micro-hydro scheme. We are keen to see if we could power our sustainable community hub with the hydro scheme and want the building to be carbon neutral. With a shop in the community again, we have real potential to reduce our carbon footprint. Just think of all those miles that people wouldn't have to drive, just to get some milk or a loaf of bread....! And with the existing pavements in Duisdale and footpaths across Camuscross common grazings, it will be possible for anyone to visit the Hub carbon-free.
We have also written to Highland Council, asking them to consider measures to encourage drivers to slow their speed while driving through Camuscross. There are now a number of very young children in the village, and more people walking and cycling and since the clearing of the drains, the already narrow verge has almost disappeared in places. Already two cats and a cockerel have been killed on the road.