08 Apr Trotternish
Fàilte gu Sgìre Thròndairnis.
The people of Trotternish peninsula welcome you to a unique part of the world. The classic images of the Trotternish Ridge, the Quiraing with its incredible basalt columnar structure and the majestic Old Man of Storr have left visitors with unforgettable memories. The scenery is among the most outstanding on the planet – a place that sums up all that is special about the Isle of Skye. Stretching 18 miles from the tip of the north end of the island to the principal town of Portree, the peninsula is rich in geological wonders, stunning wildlife, history and culture. The community of Trotternish has a vision it wants to share with you. Within their marvellous environment they want to create a special place in which to welcome everyone to their part of the world – Ionad Thròndairnis – the Trotternish Centre.
The township of Flodigarry, at the north end of the Trotternish peninsula, is a remarkable community. Formed in the early 20th century, it comprises twelve of the original fourteen families who were allocated crofts. Determined to preserve and promote their heritage, this small number of residents have for several years created and hosted a programme of events, open to everyone, which celebrate Gaelic (their first language), as well as the music and culture of the area.
From as early as 2009, following the centenary event celebrating the formation of Flodigarry township, the kernel of an idea was planted. Building on the success of this event, the community determined that they should turn their efforts to the creation of a permanent public space: • to develop the Gaelic courses that they run in partnership with the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig; • to host concerts, cèilidhs and other functions; • for the interpretation of the history, geology and wildlife of the area; • to hold a wide variety of art exhibitions within (and possibly inspired by) a unique landscape; • to showcase the rich variety of locally produced food and drink; Most importantly, a social space in which to meet with each other and all the visitors who come to experience the splendour of this wonderful area. Partnering with a strong network of local institutions, businesses and voluntary groups within the Trotternish peninsula, they developed a vision to address the great need for such a resource in the north end of the island. This project aims to develop that resource – a centre perfectly located next to the Flodigarry township and overlooking the sea. To this end the community created a development trust- (Urras Baile Fhlòdaigearraidh) and now registered as Ionad Thròndairnis, (SC473087, also a company limited by guarantee) and donated precious land from their common grazing. This purchase was formally completed in May 2019.
There are several famous landmarks within the location of the site: the majestic Old Man of Storr, the imposing crags of the mysterious Quiraing and then there is the Kilt Rock – so called because of its resemblance to a kilt, with its pleats formed by basalt columns and its cross-weave patterns woven by the intruded sills of dolerite. These are some of the sights that visitors to Skye want to tick off their list of must-sees.
Situated just off the popular A855 on the north-east tip of the peninsula, Ionad Thròndairnis will be of immense benefit to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who use this route whilst exploring the iconic sights of Skye. Currently, those who drive around the peninsula have limited opportunity to understand exactly what they are experiencing in terms of the local history and the incredible natural environment. How was the landscape formed, who lived here in earlier times, how did they live? These are the questions that many visitors would like to ask. At the same time the local community would welcome the opportunity to share their deep knowledge and love of the area. Importantly, they want to be able to offer their visitors vastly improved facilities for them to stop, rest and enjoy local food and drink. Perhaps to take in a concert – or even to stay? Ionad Thròndairnis aims to engage both residents and visitors through:
- Gaelic language
- traditional music and dance
- visual arts • heritage and environment
- local food and drink<
- interpretative spaces
Elements of the new Centre:
- a main hall for concerts and functions, seating up to 150 people
- music practice/classroom spaces
- a library and digital resource centre
- a display area for exhibitions
- a café/restaurant
- visitor accommodation.
A world-class location such as this invites the prospect of strong interest from the design community. Ionad Thròndairnis will be designed to the highest specifications – sympathetic to the natural environment, yet as singular as the landscape against which it will be set. The huge panorama across to the mountains of Wester Ross, extending from Rubha Reidh to Torridon, offer an unparalleled opportunity for a truly special construction.
Ionad Thròndairnis will host a state-of-the-art digital resource hub which will hold all of the information collated from an ambitious community digital mapping programme, alongside easily accessible databases on the history, environment, geology, language and culture of the area. Want to find out the origins of the name of a particular landscape feature? This resource hub will help you. Looking for the exact spot where Macbeth was filmed? It will all be available, in downloadable form, here in Ionad Thròndairnis.
This landscape, possibly the setting for the longest continuous narrative of occupation in the British Isles and Europe, prompts many questions. The story of this occupation is extraordinarily detailed, and the evidence is rich. It is carried within the Gaelic language, one of the oldest surviving vernacular languages of Europe – a medium of deep integrity and authenticity. Ionad Thròndairnis will continue to develop and enhance the community’s existing partnership with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture. Ionad Thròndairnis will provide a uniquely fitting environment as it is situated within an area where a thriving Gaelic community exists. Classroom space will be central to the project. It will engage with visitors but importantly with the local community itself.