Machair LIFE+ project seeks input from crofters

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The RSPB-led Conserving Scottish Machair Life project is holding a special conference at the end of August to review its progress and is seeking the input of crofters to influence the future of crofting.

Project manager Rebecca Cotton said: “2013 is the last year of our four-year project. We have learnt many lessons and wish to share them with as many people as possible who are interested in the fate of crofting.

“Therefore we are hosting a special conference in South Uist at Talla an Iochdar on Thursday 29th August and hope that it will attract crofters from across the islands to come along and provide feedback to us on the project and what they feel needs to be done to secure the future of crofting. I am sure it will be a stimulating and lively event!

“After some initial presentations, workshops will provide an opportunity for delegates to give their views on agri-environment policy and more, which will feed into the end of project report and recommendations. The day will run 9am – 5pm with lunch and refreshments provided.

“The next day, Friday, will see a number of field trips take place. Delegates will get the opportunity to visit the machair to enjoy the late summer wildlife and see first-hand crofting on the machair across some of the plots benefiting from project’s management works. Delegates will also hear about old and modern harvesting machinery.”

People who are interested in attending should contact the Machair Life office on 01870 603361 or drop an email to matthew.topsfield@rspb.org.uk. Alternatively they can book online by visiting: machairlife.eventbrite.co.uk.

Ms Cotton added: “Friday 30th August will finish with a ceilidh at Talla an Iochdar from 8pm. Finally, to celebrate all things machair, and as a ‘thank you’ to everyone who has supported the project over the years, we are hosting the Mad Machair Tea Party; a family afternoon of tea, cake and celebration, also at Talla an Iochdar, 2 – 6pm on Saturday 31th August. There will also be the machair hat competition, a showing of the Machair LIFE+ film, plus prizes and awards: it should be a fun-packed afternoon.”