Aros Park Walled Garden Update

This really is going to be one heck of a project. The progress we have made in the last few months has been really encouraging. For a start, we now have permission from Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) to start work, plus they are very supportive of what we are doing and are willing to help wherever they can.

With great thanks to an island resident who just happens to have been a walled garden designer in the past, we now have a design layout for the garden, this has come with a full planting list as well. This design has been discussed at length within the steering group and we have agreed that something very close to this will be the basis for the renovated garden. With his expert knowledge, we now know that we need to follow the original layout of the garden, so we will be looking to rediscover the original paths and border boundaries.

Progress has also been made on the wall. A survey has now been carried out, and the report is good news. It’s not perfect by a long way, but it is safe. Unfortunately, the repair bill for the section that has fallen will not be small, but there are ways to mitigate this.

We are now very close to the clearing the ground stage of the project. However, before we can make a start there are a number of trees in and around the garden that need to be removed. Once these are clear, then we will be looking for helpers to come in and clear the ground and find out what there is in the garden that is worth keeping.

If you would like to get involved, either with the steering group, or with the digging and clearing, please let me know, we’d love to see you.

– Richard Thorne, Project Officer

Rethink Mess Spring Update

The ReThink MESS project has been running from April last year and will run until April 2020. We received grant funding from the Scottish Governments Climate Challenge Fund.

Our Community fridge is going well with 283kg being redistributed or composted since the start of 2019. This would otherwise have gone to landfill, producing methane as it breaks down. This is a great success, and we hope to be saving even more as the 2019 season springs into action.

We have also just sent out leaflets and fridge magnets to all the self-catering properties on Mull and Iona to encourage people at the end of their stay to put any sealed, unopened food that is within its use-by date in the fridge before they get on the ferry. This should increase donations from the public.

After the success of the “Recycling on the go” stations at the Highland games, Bunessan and Salen Shows in 2018. We are awaiting delivery of our Recycling on the go permanent stations, that will be placed around the island. These will be in strategic places around the island.
Our business composting is taking off with the delivery of composters nearly complete. These are for high volume food waste producers out with the Tobermory area who will not be able to use the Big Hanna composter that is coming to Tobermory late April

As part of our carbon education, we are running workshops and events focussed on food waste reduction and low carbon food choices over the course of the project.

We held a Real Junk Food dinner at the start of February at Ballygown Restaurant with 16 attendees. Not only did this highlight that so much good food is wasted, but we also raised £160 that has been donated to MacMillan Cancer Support. We have to thank Jeanette Cutlack for hosting a great evening. Not only agreeing to host it but the added stress of not knowing what she would be getting for ingredients until the evening before!

We’ve had few upcycling events too, with two furniture events, one in Craignure with Jennifer Jack showing attendees how to make chalk paint and then using this on furniture. The other was held by Mull Makers in Fionnaphort over 2 days.

We also held a Bicycle Repair workshop at Bedoun Agri in March which was well attended despite the weather! Thankfully the polytunnel kept us dry.

In early 2019 we held a hot composting workshop which was very well attended with 18 attendees some with composters and others looking at getting one. We had a phone in with some experts at Hotbins UK who were able to give great advice to top up what our resident experts were able to impart.

As spring is in the air, we will be concentrating on the food waste collection service around the Tobermory area. We have had the budget released and are in the process of buying our polytunnel and Big Hanna composter. We are interviewing for staff to run the collections and composting and are signing people up to the trial, keep an eye on the MESS Facebook page for regular updates.

If you wish to get involved or have any comments on any of our outcomes, them please give Ewan Baxter a call or drop him an Email at

Ulva Ferry Shore Facilities Project Update

Ulva Ferry Shore Facilities Update

Over the past 8 months, we have been continuing to work on Phase 2 of the waterfront development at Ulva Ferry – to improve the visitor – and local – experience and services, provide economic benefit to the area and sustain and help develop business opportunities. We have recently been awarded funding from the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) for the proposed car park improvements, the 3 motor home stances and chemical waste disposal point and Ulva car park resurfacing works and this should help with congestion and motorhome management in the summer months.

Over the winter, we have been working with USCA and the local community, developing plans to apply to the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund (NCHF) for development funding for the shore facilities building at Ulva Ferry. This fund “supports new opportunities to promote the outstanding scenery, wildlife and culture of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland in ways which support inclusive and sustainable economic growth. It has an aim to retain jobs and sustain populations and services in rural communities.”

Interpretation is a key component of the proposed building at Ulva Ferry, and the project has adopted the name Doras Caolas Ulbha – Sound of Ulva Gateway. The project will work in partnership with a number of local and national organisations to interpret and help protect the outstanding natural and cultural heritage of the Loch na Keal National Scenic area, including Staffa and The Treshnish Islands, as well as providing other visitor facilities, such as toilets, showers and laundrette facilities.

The project will signpost to Ulva, local businesses and places of interest, encourage responsible access and it will use innovative technology to bring some of the area’s unique heritage into the centre – making it accessible to all. The project will include a Ranger position and create and support further jobs in the community. Many thousands of  visitors pass through the National Scenic Area in the summer months, it is hoped that the project and visitor management activities will help ensure that the outstanding natural and cultural heritage is sustainable for future generations of residents and visitors.

If you would like to find out more, comment or be involved in Doras Caolas Ulbha, please contact