Lochcarron Treehouse documentary programme to be aired on SKY TV

7 Dec 2011 in Heritage, Highland, Visual Arts & Crafts

Excitement is building in the communities of Lochcarron, Strathcarron and Kishorn as the screening of the Great British Treehouse Challenge is about to take place on SKY 1 and SKY 1 HD on Monday 12th December 2011 at 8pm.

Excitement is building in the communities of Lochcarron, Strathcarron and Kishorn as the screening of the Great British Treehouse Challenge is about to take place. The programme was filmed for SKY 1 TV by OctoberFilms in late autumn and charts the efforts made by three very different communities as they attempt to create the ultimate environmentally friendly community space. The Lochcarron “house”, the first of the three broadcasts will be shown at 8pm on Monday 12th December on SKY 1 and SKY 1 HD.

The Kirkton Woodland and Heritage Group, based in Strathcarron had an idea to establish a community space on the Smithy site at Strathcarron and this seemed like an opportunity not to be missed, a community treehouse for free!. Local Development Officer Kristine MacKenzie, got together with local artist Vicky Stonebridge and together they submitted an application on behalf of Kirkton Woodland and Heritage Group. Jointly they saw this as not only an opportunity to involve the community in creating a unique community space, but also to provide a base where the community could meet to set in motion their plans for the community acquisition of Kirkton Woodland from the Forestry Commission. Adding to that, the chance to raise the profile and promote the Lochcarron area as a preferred visitor destination via the TV broadcast was not to be missed.

Over the next few weeks the film crew met with members of the community on a regular basis and continually commented on the friendliness of the people and the high level of enthusiasm towards the project. People spoke to them in the shop and the filling station and they felt that people were genuinely excited about the prospect of being able to show case their community to a global audience. This obviously paid off when we heard that we were one of three communities selected to take part in the programme.

Things moved quickly, and before long the production team and architects, Charlie Luxton and Alex Shirley-Smith were on site. They worked closely with the community and it wasn’t long before our “house”, based on the original sketch was at the draft stage and planning permission applied for. The journey from initial sketches to completed building is all documented and forms part of the programme. The actual building was not without its challenges, the lorry came from Austria and arrived a day late and midges plagued the crew, but the enthusiasm of local volunteers overcame all the obstacles and demonstrated just how much can be achieved when a community pulls together.

The building is no ordinary treehouse, it’s a unique, inspiring space that will be used for a variety of purposes, as a nature classroom, rural skills and art workshops and as a photographic backdrop for special events. For information on how to book the “house” visit; www.wix.com/lctreehouse/kwhgroup

The treehouse forms part of the Lochcarron Development strategy to create greater sustainability in the area which, like most rural, fragile areas suffers from decline with issues such as an aging population, lack of employment opportunities and affordable housing. As the anchor organisation under the HIE Community Accounts Management Scheme, the KWHG will oversee the treehouse and other proposed developments on the Smithy site. Any income generated from rental of the treehouse will go towards the woodland acquisition.

This is an exciting project and eight weeks after the last members of the film crew departed, the momentum of the volunteers who assisted with the build remains high and several work parties have taken place over the last few weeks. Adding to this is the sense of achievement and community ownership felt by those who took part. In recognition of this, a celebratory supper followed by a live viewing of the programme has been organised by the KWHG at the Carron Restaurant, tickets available by telephoning 01520 722882

Source: V Stonebridge