Thursday 27th January was an opportunity for members of the community to Come Together.  For me it was an important opportunity to give an update on the Forest Project and gain feedback.  I have to say it was an excellent evening, due in no small part to Janet Skillin and Fiona Lochhead of Bute Community Links, along with Charles Dixon-Spain of Branish Bute, and our new Local Development Officer Ciara Wilson.  And to all those from charities, voluntary organisations and interest groups, local business people, council officials and personnel from other island projects.  I hope they, not only enjoyed the evening, but got as much out of the night as I did.

I left Rothesay Castle with 6 pages of feedback – some great ideas – some could do betters – and not a few offers of support.  If you are following the website, you will notice I have already begun to act on this feedback by posting an image of the forest map.  The hatched green area is our forest.  The northern part is designated SSSI  and we will be working with Scottish Natural Heritage to ensure we meet our legal obligations and fulfil the communities aspirations of maintaining and improving the biodiversity of our wonderful forest.  The part south of Rhubodach Cottage is a joy to explore, and is the site we are hoping to develop the other project ideas from our consultation such as a new visitor centre, mountain bike trails, eco-lodges and a focal point for community and visitors alike.

Thanks again to everyone who took time out on a cold Thursday night to take part, and special thanks to those who helped make it happen.