Kilchoan Community Play Space, Ardnamurchan
In the most westerly point of mainland Britain, and in one of its most physically isolated rural communities a dynamic group of locals contacted us to help them achieve their vision of a sustainable space to play. The excitement and romance of such a place and the challenge of its remoteness have been key features of the project commissioned by the West Ardnamurchan Community Council. The need and desire to work with what was to hand led us to develop partnerships with local contractors, foresters, tree surgeons, dry stone wallers and artists. As an area known for its unique geology the idea of using stone, gravel, grit and sand, inspired features such as abstract stone sentinels overlooking the site, gravel paddling beaches created in the existing waterways, stone fire pits and henge like dens, as well as gabion causeways and curving drystone multi-level walls and seating. The use of local timber and the challenge of creating and maintaining the right grasses and planting for play on a challenging peat land site, further added to the crafting of a scheme which necessarily had to be delivered with what was/is to hand. Challenges for the community connected with its remoteness have long been met with local resourcefulness and indomitable spirit. For this project this has included creative thinking about maintenance and inspection would be delivered. In this case the client group are self-insuring and with reflection and discussion are managing the majority of the maintenance and inspection for themselves.