The Cateran Commonwealth

The Cateran Commonwealth is more than a trail, this is a unique part of Scotland. A special place where the Highland collided with the Lowlands, a landscape which with only a little imagination enables you to glimpse 730 million years of evolution as geological action and the weather created what we now know as Scotland.

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The Cateran Commonwealth has a rich history and archaeology stretching back long Roperbefore the emergence of the tartan and the kilt in the Victorian Age, what the historian Hugh Trevor Roper called The Invention of Tradition: The Highland Tradition of Scotland. [Chapt 2 in Hobsbawm E, 1983, The Invention of Tradition CUP, there is more detail in Roper’s posthumously published The Invention of Scotland in 2009]

The Hanoverian Victorians created a view of Scottish history that met their needs.  In the Cateran Commonwealth, there is a longer, more complex and richer offering – one to be explored and savoured, a land of myths and legends too, you will encounter in the landscape Big Donald, the famous Irish Giant Fionn mac Cumhaill, Diarmuid, Pictish Warriors and poets of the Victorian Age William Pyott and James Geddes and Hamish Henderson viewed by many as the founding father of Scotland’s 20th century folk renaissance.

Perhaps inevitably Queen Victoria travelled on horseback along part of the Cateran on several occasions when travelling from Deeside to Dunkeld There is a plaque recording a visit to Kindrogan where she stopped for tea on the banks of the River Ardle in 1866. Dalnagar Castle was commissioned by Lord Clyde, Queen Victoria’s banker and designed by the Aberdeen architect William Smith who designed Balmoral. The legacy of  Queen Victoria in the Cateran Commonwealth is surprisingly slight given the proximity of Balmoral ~ 25 miles.

WATERFALLSitting astride the Highland Boundary Fault that divides the Scottish Lowlands from the Highlands, where the foothills of the hard rock of the Grampians and the Cairngorms collided, millions of years ago, with the softer rocks of the fertile Vale of Strathmore to create Scotland. The Highland Boundary Fault is a natural boundary and a cultural one, influencing patterns of settlement and land use and dividing the English speaking lowlands from the Gaelic-speaking Highlands. Reekie Linn Waterfall on the River Isla at Bridge of Craigisla is the most spectacular place to view the fault. Dalradian Schist found in the upland areas of the Cateran Commonwealth comes from an eroding mountain chain of the supercontinent of Rodinia 730 million years ago.

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Cateran’s Common Wealth

This distinctive area of Scotland is relatively undeveloped for tourism but with a rich history and pre-history. There are classic U shaped valleys left by last Ice Age 20,000 years ago, the Garry Drums dry valleys remnants of glacial meltwater channels, many standing stones, Bronze Age Pitcarmick Round  Houses (2000BCE) Barry Hill Pictish fort one of Scotland’s best preserved Iron Age forts, the Buzzart Dykes remnants of a medieval hunting park, The Drystane dykes of the C19th, drove roads,

The term Cateran (from the Gaelic ceathairne, meaning “peasantry”) historically referred to a band of fighting men of a Scotland Highland clan; hence Cateran being applied to the Highland, and later to any, marauders or cattle-lifters. Caterans feature in Scottish novels and short stories, notably Hamish MacTavish Mhor in Walter Scott’s ‘The Highland Widow’ and in the ‘School of the Moon’ by Stuart McHardy

Details of the 64-mile Cateran Trail can be found online www.walkthecaterantrail.com and here.

“The Cateran Society offers the training with Highland Broadsword and other related Scottish weapons in our Broadsword Academy Program. You can join one of our many official locations in the USA, Canada, Russia, Germany, Finland and elsewhere worldwide.” And on Facebook

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Harold Goodwin 9th December 2018. I visited on 16th November – if you have read this far you will have realised that I was fascinated and captivated by the Cateran Commonwealth – so much more than a traIl.

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Community Heritage

At Loop Head on the Wild Atlantic Way, the community have recorded their heritage and placed it online.

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You can download the trail here: Loop Head Heritage Trail PDF.

Map

To add to your experience and to minimise physical signage impacting the landscape, Loop Head Tourism have created an audio guide which tells the story of the 14 sites on the trail. You can view the clips on our heritage page by clicking HERE. Alternatively, if you would like to download the trail to your phone, use the GuidiGo app available on iPhone and Android. Its free, you just have to install the app, register an account with GuidiGo using your email address, or sign in with your Gmail or Google account or Facebook account. Once installed, download the trail to your phone, it only takes 2-3 minutes with Wifi … and you are all set … give it a whirl … and enjoy !!! Keep a lookout on the peninsula for these unobtrusive trail markers which mark the relevant sites.

The heritage trail is online in a couple of formats. There are two principal access points,

  1. from their  website
  2. and also each point on the trial has a small discreet sign, approx 1-foot square, with a QR code which sends you to the information for that point. 

Loop Head Tourism  commissioned an app which is available through Guidigo

Guidigo

We also have the audio for each point along the trail available as an audio download from here http://www.loophead.ie/heritage/

Audio

And the full nerdy version of all information in a raw state is available from here https://wildatlanticway.omeka.net/items/show/27

 

Small hotelier’s ‘My Green Butler’ wins Banksia Award.

My Green Butler, an innovative new service devised by Crystal Creek Meadows Luxury Cottages and Spa Retreat has won the prestigious Banksia Foundation’s 2018 – Small Business Award. My Green Butler is a green holiday adviser that helps tourist accommodation save resources, cut costs, cut pollution and increase guest satisfaction. The service was devised by this small business in Kangaroo Valley NSW and is now already on trial in Australia and Europe.

Banksia judges choose this entry because it “was outstanding for its great leadership, to take on such a big role and create a big impact despite being only from a small business in tourism. This business is producing a unique product with the potential to have a real impact reducing the footprint of accommodation and has strong potential to go global.”

banksia-award 2018

My Green Butler applies smart technologies and persuasive communications to help people self-regulate consumption. The programme combines host training, web app and guest engagement.

“Tourism is a major contributor to global carbon emissions and natural resource depletion yet we are in the de-stress and happiness industry! So we, therefore, must take serious innovative steps to change if we are to remain relevant to the changing social values of our guests and act responsibly to globally accepted science, says Dr Christopher Warren co-proprietor of Crystal Creek Meadows and Founder of My Green Butler.

Hospitality firms are under enormous pressure from rising costs, searching to find ways to decarbonise and meet the escalating expectations of their guests. “It is a very pressuring situation for business owners and managers so I really think the time is right to apply genuine service innovations that give us win-win results for our sector,” says Dr Warren who conducted in PhD at Griffith University to research how best to engage tourists to help hospitality become more sustainable and consequently invented My Green Butler.

Why My Green Butler is particularly effective is that it has been devised by a small hotelier who understands the commercial constraints for hospitality. Dr Warren claims that his method to engage guests positively has the potential to save millions of kW of energy and litres of water without negatively affecting the guest’s stay.

The Banksia Foundation is a strong and expanding brand and its Awards program, the Banksia Sustainability Awards, are regarded as the most prestigious and longest running sustainability awards in the world.

Banksia Foundation’s 30th Anniversary illustrates how the efforts and passion of so many individuals that have been a part of Banksia Foundation can make a difference in moving our society towards a more sustainable future.  We have had the absolute pleasure to work with governments, businesses and individuals over the past 30 years who have all been part of the Banksia family. The longevity of the Banksia Foundation Awards proves without doubt that Australians are keen to innovate and move forward with thousands of entries over the past 30 years being received for the Banksia Foundation Awards.

“We are thrilled to have won this Banksia Award and are proud to participate alongside such talented and committed sustainability entrepreneurs from across Australia,“ says Dr Warren.

Moe information about Banksia Foundation Awards

More information about My Green Butler

More information about Crystal Creek Meadows 12 years of responsible tourism reporting

See Crystal Creek Meadows multi award winning property

Small hotelier’s ‘My Green Butler’ wins Banksia Award.

My Green Butler, an innovative new service devised by Crystal Creek Meadows Luxury Cottages and Spa Retreat has won the prestigious Banksia Foundation’s 2018 – Small Business Award. My Green Butler is a green holiday adviser that helps tourist accommodation save resources, cut costs, cut pollution and increase guest satisfaction. The service was devised by this small business in Kangaroo Valley NSW and is now already on trial in Australia and Europe.

Banksia judges choose this entry because it “was outstanding for its great leadership, to take on such a big role and create a big impact despite being only from a small business in tourism. This business is producing a unique product with potential to have a real impact reducing the footprint of accommodation and has strong potential to go global.”

banksia-award 2018

My Green Butler applies smart technologies and persuasive communications to help people self-regulate consumption. The programme combines host training, web app and guest engagement.

“Tourism is a major contributor to global carbon emissions and natural resource depletion yet we are in the de-stress and happiness industry! So, therefore, we must take serious innovative steps to change if we are to remain relevant to the changing social values of our guests and act responsibly to globally accepted science, says Dr Christopher Warren co-proprietor of Crystal Creek Meadows and Founder of My Green Butler.

Hospitality firms are under enormous pressure from rising costs, searching to find ways to decarbonise and meet the escalating expectations of their guests. “It is a very pressuring situation for business owners and managers so I really think the time is right to apply genuine service innovations that give us win-win results for our sector,” says Dr Warren who conducted in PhD at Griffith University to research how best to engage tourists to help hospitality become more sustainable and consequently invented My Green Butler.

Why My Green Butler is particularly effective is that it has been devised by a small hotelier who understands the commercial constraints for hospitality. Dr Warren claims that his method to engage guests positively has the potential to save millions of kW of energy and litres of water without negatively affecting the guest’s stay.

The Banksia Foundation is a strong and expanding brand and its Awards program, the Banksia Sustainability Awards, are regarded as the most prestigious and longest-running sustainability awards in the world.

Banksia Foundation’s 30th Anniversary illustrates how the efforts and passion of so many individuals that have been a part of Banksia Foundation can make a difference in moving our society towards a more sustainable future.  We have had the absolute pleasure to work with governments, businesses and individuals over the past 30 years who have all been part of the Banksia family. The longevity of the Banksia Foundation Awards proves without a doubt that Australians are keen to innovate and move forward with thousands of entries over the past 30 years being received for the Banksia Foundation Awards.

“We are thrilled to have won this Banksia Award and are proud to participate alongside such talented and committed sustainability entrepreneurs from across Australia,“ says Dr Warren.

Moe information about Banksia Foundation Awards

More information about My Green Butler

More information about Crystal Creek Meadows 12 years of responsible tourism reporting

See Crystal Creek Meadows multi-award winning property