Page last updated at 02:04 GMT, Thursday, 26 March 2009

Green push in 'last wilderness'

Loch Hourn
The peninsula can only be reached by foot or by boat

Residents living in what has been described as mainland Britain's last wilderness are striving to reduce their carbon footprint.

Ten years since a community buy-out of Knoydart Estate, a rundown hydro scheme has been repaired and upgraded.

Climate Challenge Fund aid has also been secured to pursue other green projects such as increasing production and consumption of home-grown food.

A series of events will be held to mark the buy-out's 10th anniversary.

Stretching to more than 17,000 acres, the estate lies within the Knoydart Peninsula, which can only be reached by foot or by sea.

For many years those living in the area relied on diesel generators to generate electricity.

But following the buy-out by the Knoydart Foundation in March 1999, a micro-hydro electric system installed in the late 1970s has been overhauled and now supplies power to more than 70 homes and businesses in the Inverie Bay area.

The foundation - a partnership set up in 1997 to take over the estate and supported by organisations such as Highland Council and the John Muir Trust - is also looking to appoint an officer to lead other green projects.

Angela Williams, development manager for the foundation, said: "Taking ownership of the land was a momentous occasion for the community, but it was only the first step in a long road that is far from complete.

"We have been working hard over the past 10 years to conserve the character and natural beauty of the Knoydart Peninsula, as well as reduce our carbon footprint."

KNOYDART FACT FILE
In the middle of the 19th Century, the land was cleared of crofters and turned over to sheep and deer
In 1948, a group of crofters known as the Seven Men of Knoydart launched a land raid in a bid to live independently from the landlord system. They were unsuccessful
However, the community achieved what the seven had set out to do in 1999 when the Knoydart Foundation purchased the 17,200 acres (6,960 ha) for £750,000
The community of Inverie has mainland Britain's remotest pub - The Old Forge

With the help of John Muir Trust volunteer work parties, two rangers clear beaches of litter washed up by the sea and plant trees on the estate.

Last August, a message in a plastic bottle apparently thrown into the sea by a child from Livingston was found in a clean-up of a two mile stretch of coastline between Sandaig and Doune.

Friends of Knoydart and John Muir Trust volunteers spent a month in the first-time effort to clear waste there.

Hair rollers, the remains of three boats and more than 200 fish boxes were also recovered.

Tommy McManmon, one of the Knoydart Foundation rangers, said: "This is a special area of Scotland, and we feel privileged to have the land under our guardianship.

"The last few years have seen the ranger service expand our operations, to the extent that we now offer a comprehensive package of activities for visitors in a spectacular setting."

As well as the Knoydart Estate, land on the peninsula is owned by the John Muir Trust, Kilchoan Estate, Camusrory Estate, Inverguserain Farm and the Rubha Ruadh Estate along with numerous smaller estates.

According to the foundation, the only indigenous people in Knoydart are 14 children born there.



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