Posted by: Rory Brown | September 25, 2008

An update on the Achiltibuie Hydroponicum

A while ago I wrote about the changes that had been taking place with one on the major tourist attractions in Achiltibuie – the Hydroponicum. After my post Julie from the Achiltibuie Garden project contacted me to give an update on plans for the resurrection of the Hydroponicum on a new site in the village.

Below I have copied a note which was sent to Coigach residents. I’d personally like to wish Julie, Di & Alison best wishes when their outline planning application is heard on the 7th October. It would be great to see the Hydroponicum back in action.

Many of you will know that we’ve moved our business to temporary premises here in Altandhu, where we’re currently busy with our mail order business and growing fresh produce for selling locally. Next year we plan to relocate again to 103 Achiltibuie, where we hope to have the first phase of our new visitor centre, The Achiltibuie Garden, open by June 2009.

Our outline planning application has been lodged and we are now waiting for a decision from the Planning Department. (Thanks to everyone who wrote letters of support). The new building will be constructed from local timber and glass with a turf roof, and will be tucked into the landscape in a similar way to Steve Husband’s building nearby. To add to the sustainability of the project we are keen to use sources of renewable energy. There will also be 2 or 3 Kederhouses (similar to the one Di already has in Altandhu) to grow produce and house our collection of tender plants. Contrary to some rumours we’ve heard recently, our new buildings will not resemble the old Hydroponicum in any way! We really want to make a minimum visual impact on our beautiful landscape.

There seems to be a myth among visitors that not much grows outside here, so we want to do what so many of you have done successfully – in particular our community hall – and establish an outdoor garden. We see The Achiltibuie Garden as being an outdoor space for everyone to enjoy – even the wildlife!

Our café will be an important part of the development and we aim to open all year round which will not only benefit the local economy but provide a warm pleasant environment for people to meet whilst enjoying good food. Through our shop we will continue to sell the same type of products we did previously and are really keen to make space available for local crafts people as this worked well for everyone in 2007.

We would once again like to thank everyone in the community for their continued support which we really appreciate.

Alison, Di and Julie


  1. glad to see that its still fighting on
    My Step sister is Sarah Irvine so i have followed this project for a long time

  2. I am delighted to have been staying in Polbain whilst the new building work has started. It is really exciting for the ‘girls’. Well done, lots of hard work, & heartache too, is starting to show light at the end of a tunnel. I look forward to visiting the Achiltibuie Garden after opening & somewhere for me to snack & lunch again. I’m back in March but will contact you before to make a couple of suggestions as a long term visitor!

  3. Thanks Elizabeth,
    Look forward to hearing your recommendations.

  4. Hello to everyone

    Thank you all for all the support. As Elizabeth has said, work has now commenced on our growing house, so it’s great to actually see the “garden” underway.

    We were delighted to receive outline planning consent for the new visitor centre so we are now able to get on with the detailed plans.

    I visited the site at the weekend – Di has been helping with the construction of the growing house – and I was amazed at the progress they made in such a short time, especially with the awful weather at the beginning of the week.

    We are also working on our new website – it should go live at the end of the month – and we will put photos of the Achiltibuie Garden.


  5. I am delighted to have stumbled across your blog! A friend down in Dalkeith sent me a link to the Monty Halls piece which, unfortunately, will not play out of the UK. I was able to dig up the gist of it, thanks to Google, and hope Achiltibuie doesn`t get “put on the map” too much.
    My wife Joyce and I have visited Achiltibuie/Polbain whenever the good folks at Visa find me sufficiently credit worthy, most recently last June when we enjoyed staying with and playing music with Pete & Midge Drake and friends, as well as enjoying a dance at the wonderful new village hall.
    You live in a staggeringly beautiful part of the world. I look forward to following the blog.

    Best Wishes,

    Pete Huey

  6. (Didn`t see the “notify me” bit until just after hitting “submit comment”; came back to tick the box.)

  7. Thanks Pete,

    I don’t live full time in Achiltibuie but my mother’s family come from there and we’ve had a house in the village for 4 generations.

    Generally I set up this blog to encourage people to visit so I hope that the programme gets a lot more people interested in holidays in the NW of Scotland.

    Hope you can visit again soon.


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