We’ve made some big leaps forward along our path to netZero over the last few years. Switching from a finite, extractive mineral resource to sustainable tree bark (mimosa) to tan our sheepskins here in Waternish was a big one.

Trees are a hot topic when it comes to the environment and we are keen to make sure the wee squares of land that we are lucky enough to be custodians of, here on Skye, are well looked after.

Our family have always crofted sheep here but we’ve been pretty keen on the idea of tree planting for a while and interested to see if the sheep could live in harmony with a bit more biodiversity here.

Over the last two November sales, we fundraised for our woodland project and then match funded the donations you made to us. This enabled us to buy 600 saplings, stakes and tubes to get our woodland off the ground.

We took advice from a range of far more knowledgeable people than us and worked with Peter at Taynuilt Trees, another family-run business in Argyll. Peter collects seed locally and brings on the saplings for a couple of years before they’re ready to go to their new homes.

We discussed ground and weather conditions here in Waternish (exposed and coastal!) and decided to go with species that we had seen successfully growing nearby. We took delivery of a selection of Downy Birch (Betula pubescens), Alder (Alnus glutinosa), Grey Willow (Salix cineria) and a good number of Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), sticking with local tradition in our bid to keep the witches away. 😉

The company we sourced tubes also sent us up a selection of their new ‘Vigilis-bio’ tube product to try, being interested to see how the tree shelters will fare in our sometimes wild west coast weather. We also collected and used a good number of recycled tubes.

After identifying three different sites for planting to see what would grow happily where, we got to work with the spade.  As with most croft jobs, this was a family affair and the kids all pitched in, barrowing stakes and trees, learning how to tuck the roots in safely and how to tube and secure the saplings.

We’re beyond delighted to have got our woodland going and it helps bring our Skyeskyns venture full circle. Now that we have our reed beds up and running, any waste effluent can be caked and used as composted fertiliser for these trees.

As they grow bigger, we’ll be able to use this area of land more symbiotically with the sheep who are also quite helpful at fertiliser production!

This month we’ll be raising funds again during the sales weekend and after that opening a donation option on the website so we can continue to populate the woodland each year. The dream is to one day have a wooded pathway around our slice of Skye that everyone can enjoy! Thanks so much for your support in keeping our sustainability plans moving forward.