The Black Isle 

February 2020

Moray Firth Partnership publishes Vision Statement

We are pleased to announce our Vision Statement.  The Moray Firth Partnership has the vision of being the most sustainable marine region in Scotland by 2025. We have developed a Sustainability Model that identifies three strategic areas where we will focus our work in the context of coastal and marine challenges and the long-term sustainability of the Moray Firth:

Our Coastal Environment : Our People and Places : Our Sea

We would appreciate your views and comments by 27th March 2020 and would be grateful if you could complete the questionnaire found here, for your area(s) of interest. Once we have collated responses we will develop our Management Programme, detailing more specific tasks that we will undertake to achieve our Vision.

Also from Moray Firth Partnership newsletter

What we are working on

Marine litter SCRAPbook, our marine litter project, is featured on BBC Two’s Our Coast on Friday 28th February, at 20:30.  For more info visit

A visit to Whiteness Head to ground-truth some of the SCRAPbook data for the Moray Firth area revealed large amounts of fishing litter on the beach, as well as widespread plastic.  We have reached out to groups who may be able to remove some of the litter, but if you are able to help, please get in touch.

Nurdles (lentil-sized pieces of plastic used in production of other plastic products) are being found on beaches around the world, washed up after being lost at different stages of plastic production. Moray Firth Partnership have conducted nurdle hunts on some beaches in the area, and while no nurdles have been found yet, there are many stretched of coastline which haven’t been surveyed. Fidra’s Great Global Nurdle Hunt is taking place on 13th-22nd March 2020 – sign up here to be involved.

We are in the process of creating a map of heritage sites around the Moray Firth coast, and recently sent out a questionnaire to museums and heritage sites in the area.  If you did not receive the questionnaire, and have knowledge of heritage in the Moray Firth, please get in touch.

We recently visited Historylinks museum in Dornoch, where displays tell the fascinating stories of the area through time, including Embo’s ‘herring girls’ who travelled as far as Great Yarmouth following the herring fleet, gutting and packing the catches. The museum opens in April. 

 Ports and HarboursWe have recently updated the map showing ports and harbours in the area on our website – view it here


October 2019

Successful Clean-up Day at Munlochy Clootie Well

Good weather contributed to a very successful day for the Clean-up of the area of the Clootie Well at Munlochy on Saturday 26 October.  Over the years cloots have been tied to trees far from the well itself and the prevalence of modern oil-derived fabrics has led to the area becoming progressively less appealing as a site to visit.  The concept of the spirits curing people’s ailments as the cloots disintegrated has become forgotten.

Forestry and Land Scotland organised the clean-up day to restrict the area of Littleburn Wood festooned by cloots.  A tape was set around the central area of the well and thirty-plus volunteers spent four hours collecting over 50 large sacks of material from the region outside the tape. Collected were shoe laces, shoes, boots, underwear, tights, pinafores, scarves, dish cloths, J-cloths, polythene bags, gloves, socks, tape, ribbons, T-shirts, jeans, handkerchiefs, hessian, sweaters, gloves, polythene sheeting… and more.  The objectives of the day were met. All the sacks brought were filled. Just a few cloots high in the trees could not be reached as no ladders were available.  Importantly, a decision is needed on what the fate should be of the non-biodegradeable materials at the heart of the well.  

At the day’s end a spiritualist was at hand to reinvigorate those who might have felt they were anatagonising the gods of the well, and most agreed that the transformation of the area around the well had been remarkable and achieved quickly.  Thank you Marie and the Forestry and Land Scotland team that organised the event with food and drinks and all the necessary tools, and thanks to the volunteers who came from the Black Isle, Easter Ross and as far away as Edinburgh.

Now, please visit the Clootie Well, bring some scissors and a refuse bag and hunt out plastic cloots and clothing for removal, so that only natural fibres are left to degrade in the way the spirits of the well require!

Julian Paren
October 2019.

Pictures by Julian Paren


The two faces of forestry - landscape and industry

Julian Paren has taken these pictures before and after clear felling at Bellton Wood near Munlochy.









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We are part of the rapidly expanding worldwide Transition Towns movement. The Black Isle is a peninsula of about 100 sq miles ENE of Inverness in Scotland, UK.