Following the successful launch of the North Coast 500 project, we have now begun to create resources for communities in the north to benefit from the increased inflow of tourists this has created. As a first step, we approached the Scottish Land Commission to assist us in identifying all the land owned and managed for non-profit purposes in Caithness, Sutherland and Ross-shire. Our intention is to provide a starting point for communities interested in developing tourism based initiatives along the NC500 route by helping them either to identify public assets that might be available for transfer or partners who may be interested in participating in a collaborative project.
The map you see below is the final product of this stage of the project. It includes all land and other assets owned by community groups, public agencies and charities operating in the region. It can be used to see what assets may be available, where, who owns them, and other information such as the area it covers (in metres squared). To discover this information, click on the relevant asset in the map (represented by the colourful blocks or dots).
If you find something promising, refer to the reference included at the top of the info-box (e.g. LOCG1) in order to find the asset on the larger database (provided as an excel file here). There are two databases included, one with simplified information, and the other with all the available information on the relevant asset. The second spreadsheet should provide you with all the information you need to initiate discussions with the relevant landowner.
The information on this map can be filtered by checking and unchecking the boxes in the legend on the right-hand side. We have categorised the assets according to their current public function. Also included are the boundaries of the three historic counties in the north, to see what assets fall into your locality (you can hide and view these as you wish).
Note that most of this land is currently in use, so not all of it will be readily available.
MAP 1: ALL PUBLIC ASSETS IN THE NORTH HIGHLANDS
To narrow down the register to those assets with the best prospect of being available for community development, we created a second map including only currently unused assets. All of these belong to the Highland Council.
We have also included these in relation to community owned land in the region, with there being unused public assets (such as vacant buildings) within the boundaries of existing community owned land.
MAP 2: UNUSED ASSETS AND COMMUNITY OWNED LAND
These maps can be used in a variety of ways for planning projects. For example, in the third (experimental) map below we have illustrated tourist activity in Caithness and Sutherland (a map including tourist clusters in Ross-shire is currently in progress). Where the colour becomes darker, this indicates a higher degree of activity. Many of the unused assets are in close proximity to high levels of tourist activity, meaning projects undertaken with these assets will be most viable.
One of the aims of the NHI, on the other hand, is to equally distribute the benefits of increased tourism across the north Highlands. This map is a good indication of where projects could be undertaken in order to create new thriving tourist clusters, not just to reinforce existing ones.
MAP 3: UNUSED ASSETS (GREEN), COMMUNITY LAND (BLUE) AND TOURIST CLUSTERS (RED)
(RIGHT CLICK IMAGE AND SELECT ‘VIEW IMAGE’ FOR FULL SCREEN FORMAT)