Ceremony kick-starts plans for Trotternish Centre

Members of the community and Flodigarry Township Trust look on as local MSP Kate Forbes cuts the first turf at a ceremony held last Saturday.

Last Saturday a special ceremony was held in a bid to kick-start the plans for Ionad Thròndairnis (the Trotternish Centre) – unique multi-function arts and educational centre to welcome the many hundreds of thousands of visitors who travel to this part of the island annually.

Local MSP Kate Forbes cut the first turf on the site of the proposed centre in Flodigarry.

Over the last decade the community, through the work of Urras Baile Fhlòdaigearraidh – Flodigarry Township Trust – has been drawing up plans for Ionad Thròndairnis.

The centre is conceived as a multi-purpose venue for hosting concerts, ceilidhs and other cultural and social events. Importantly, it will be an educational resource for the development of the Gaelic courses that the community has been running in partnership with Scotland’s national Gaelic college, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

In addition to providing space for the interpretation of the history, geology and wildlife of the Trotternish peninsula, the centre’s primary role will be as a social hub where members of the community can meet with each other and welcome all the visitors who come to experience the splendour of the peninsula.

Renowned singer Anne Martin provided a vocal tribute to commemorate the occasion.

The trust say Ionad Thròndairnis will be designed with bold and innovative architecture to harmonise with the unique and sensitive location, making it the perfect site for access to the Trotternish ridge – one of the most recognisable and awe-inspiring landscapes in the United Kingdom.

It is hoped the centre will provide increased local employment and business opportunities and will offer a significant contribution to the protection of the environment by improving road safety. Much-needed accommodation units will be developed in tandem with the centre, to the same high design specifications.

Flodigarry Township Trust chair Margaret Nicolson addresses the suitably attired gathering as they brave the elements.

Margaret Nicolson chair of Urras Baile Fhlòdaigearraidh, said: “We are delighted that this long-awaited day has come and hope that our efforts as an aspirational community will inspire other rural communities across Scotland.

“However, it is really just the first milestone in what will be a major task for the Trotternish community to realise the ambitions for this centre, in what is surely one of the most iconic landscapes of the British Isles.”

Kate Forbes said: “It is a pleasure to officially cut the turf on the new Flodigarry centre.

“This has been a long time coming and would not have been possible without the sheer grit and determination of local champions.

“It is so important that we have places in the heart of Gaelic communities that celebrate, safeguard and promote living Gaelic culture and I hope this centre will do this.”

Images by Willie Urquhart.