The Assynt Crofters' Trust is the owner of the North Assynt Estate which consists of some 21,000 acres and includes the Townships of Torbreck, Achmelvich (part), Clachtoll, Stoer, Balchladich, Clashmore/Raffin, Culkein Stoer, Achnacharnin, Clashnessie, Culkein Drumbeg, Drumbeg and Nedd.
The Trust has enabled the ordinary people who live and work on the land to have some control over their own economic future. The agreed purchase price for the total asset was £300,000 of which almost half was raised by the crofters and their supporters throughout Britain - indeed donations came from abroad, from some of those who traced their ancestry to Highlanders who had sought a new life in the Colonies during the dark days of the Clearances. The remainder of the purchase price came from public agencies, Sutherland District Council and Highland Regional Council in the form of grant and loan. A generous donation was given by the Highland Fund to assist with the initial administrative burden of the Trust.
Today the Estate is in the possession of the crofters, free of debt and administered by a Board of Directors elected by democratic vote by each of the thirteen townships making up the Estate who serve for three years.
The Trust is managed on a day-to-day basis by the Administrator/Crofting Administrator and the Secretary, directly responsible to the main Board.
The full Board meets approximately once every two months. All Board meetings are open to the public.
Assynt Hydro Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Assynt Crofters’ Trust Limited. The principal activity of the company is generating electricity from a hydro-electric project at Loch Poll on the North Assynt Estate. The scheme was commissioned in September 2000 and consists of four reservoirs in cascade. The upper three – Loch Torr na h’Eigan (top loch), Torr nan Uidhean (middle loch) and Loch an Loinne (bottom loch) – provide storage for Loch Poll, which acts as the head reservoir. It is a 225KW scheme utilising a CINK Crossflow turbine. The project has proved to be highly successful. Assynt Crofters Trust enjoys the benefit of regular and valuable income that is expected to continue for many years.
In 1989 Edmund H Vestey renamed the coastal crofting strip - comprising thirteen townships and a total area of 21,300 acres (9,000 Ha) - as North Lochinver Estate, and sold it for £1,080,000 to a Swedish land speculator. In none of these transactions were the interests of the people who lived and worked on the land considered to be relevant.
In 1992 Scandinavian Property Services Ltd went into liquidation, with a Swedish bank as the main creditor. A London-based Liquidator was appointed and the selling agents who had been employed by the Vestey family to conduct the original sale were re-appointed. The estate which had been sold to Scandinavian Property Services in three lots was now to be broken up into seven lots, no concern being shown for the impact of this process on the crofting activity of the inhabitants.
At a public meeting called a few weeks later, a proposal, judged by some to be bordering on the lunatic, was put to those present, that an attempt be made to raise sufficient money for the crofters to bid for the Estate themselves. This was agreed to and a steering committee was formed which consisted principally of the grazings clerks of the thirteen townships on the Estate - the role of the committee being to guide the project and to act as links with the crofting people.
Within three months a feasibility study and business plan had been put together with financial help from the Crofters’ Union and Caithness & Sutherland Enterprise and so the Assynt Crofters’ Trust came into being. On July 1 there appeared the first of many reports in the national press about the audacious attempt of a few motley crofters in the remote NW Highlands to win back the land of their forefathers.
The campaign caught the public imagination, donations began to roll in and negotiations began in earnest with the Liquidators. After having had two offers to purchase the Estate rejected by the selling agents, a deal was agreed in December 1992 - almost exactly 6 months after the original public meeting.
The Trust has three part-time posts: Secretary, Crofting Administrator and Administor. Currently the roles of Administrator and Crofting Administrator are combined.
The Administrator can be contacted on tel. 01571 855298 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, to whom all general enquires and correspondence should be addressed.
Assynt Crofters’ Trust, North Assynt Estate, Stoer, Assynt, Sutherland, IV27 4JE
The Current Directors:
Achmelvich - William MacLeod
Clachtoll - Bob Cook
Stoer and Balchladich - Claire Belshaw
Culkein Stoer - John Morrison
Achnacharnin - Ian C MacKenzie
Clashnessie - Roddie Kerr (CHAIR)
Culkein Drumbeg - Marion MacLeod
Drumbeg - Donald MacLeod
Nedd - Anne MacCrimmon
Hugh MacRae (Culkein Drumbeg)
Carol Anne MacRae (Clachtoll)
James Morrison (Culkein Stoer)
Ailsa Kinnaird (Balchladdich)
Matthew Bulch (Culkein Stoer)
Crofting Administrator - email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary - email@example.com
Our committees focus on certain organisational areas within the Trust, such as Sport & Game. Find out more about the areas in which the committees are active. Maybe you would like to get involved in one of them!
It was with profound shock and sadness that the Board of Assynt Crofters’ Trust learned of the death of Allan MacRae, a founding Director of the Trust and long-time Chairman of the Board, in
To us Allan was the passion and spirit of the Trust and could always be relied on as a first line of defence for the well-being of people on the land.
A light has gone out in the glen.
We welcome any kind of support. If you would like to help, please contact us!
Assynt Crofters' Trust
North Assynt Estate
Tel: 01571 855298
Or use our contact form.