NextSteps1Over 90 members of the community turned out to the Next Steps event at Rothesay Joint Campus on Sunday. The event was organised by BCLC to keep the community informed as we journey towards the purchase of the forest and beyond. With 2 guest speakers, various display boards with information about the forest and representatives from Towards Zero Carbon Bute , we hope that we were able to provide enough information to satisfy the curiosity of the attendees.
Paul Cookson from the Community Woodlands Association was very excited about the possibilities that Rhubodach Forest provides for Bute. The CWA exists to assist the owners of community woodlands who wish to create sustainable projects, educational activities and employment opportunities through modern, active forest management.  Needless to say BCLC have already become members of the CWA and we’ll be calling on them throughout the process.
Our second speaker Suzann Barr introduced us to Abriachan Forest Trust and the journey they have undertaken since purchasing it in 1998. Abriachan have achieved an immense amount with their forest – we can too. Visit their website to see more of Abriachan

The final 2 speakers were BCLC Director Andy Walters who explained about the importance of the feedback from the Community Consultation day in January and how it was fed back into the feasibility study, and BCLC chairman John McGhee, who outlined the brief  history of  BCLC and it’s legal framework. He went on to explain how BCLC will take this project forward, including the announcement that we are opening a shop in Rothesay to use as our point of contact with the community.
After the presentations the public were invited for refreshments  (lovely home made cakes!) and to browse the displays which  BCLC had compiled with information about the forest and ideas for projects within the forest.

The Electric Van
electric vanOne of our ideas for the forest project is that we keep the car parking space at the visitor centre/forest hub to a minimum to encourage visitors to leave their cars at home or at their B & B. This will reduce the developmental impact on the woodland as well. Our solution to reduced car parking is to introduce an Eco Bus link between Rothesay and the forest, so we invited a transport consultant, Richard Armitage ( to our event and he brought along an amazingly quiet ‘Ford Transit’ sized Peugeot fully electic van.

Now I always associate electric vehicles with tiny odd looking vehicles or expensive sporty coupes. This is a full size work van (minibuses are available too) with a 100 mile range, top speed of about 65mph and a battery charging time of about 6-8hrs. It was amazingly quiet and shows just how far battery technology has come in the last few years. Take a look at the website of the vans suppliers