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Balnakeil Craft Village: Arts and Crafts at its Best

Nestled in the hills not far from Durness Village in Sutherland, art lovers will find Balnakeil Craft Village. The craft village is a collection of craft workshops that cover almost every type of craft imaginable, including handmade soaps, paintings, pottery, basketry, woodwork, screen printing, leatherwork, wool work and enamelwork.

Balnakeil Craft Village started life as a World War II military encampment. Sometime after the war locals saw fit to convert the hum drum military buildings into a colorful collection of arts and crafts workshops. The Balnakeil Craft Village in Scotland was officially established in 1964 and is now used to provide local artists and craftsmen with an outlet for sale. If, by now, you are imagining one or two rustic military buildings with a few lonely inhabitants you couldn’t be further off the mark! Balnakeil Craft Village in Scotland is exactly that – a village. A relatively large conglomeration of distinctly different individuals have converged on the site and completely reinvented it.

Between twelve and fifteen crafters are always at work in the workshops, with numbers growing dramatically during peak season. People tend to come and go, living in the village for a short time and then moving on. Others decide to stick around and stay forever, though this is generally the exception and not the rule. People of all nationalities and walks of life have all spent time living and operating from Balnakeil Craft Village. What’s more, a diverse range of crafts and arts have been worked in the village at one point or another. With the establishment of a number of businesses in the area at Lock Croispol and the Boatyard, as many as two hundred individuals have been able to become permanent residents of the village!

Visitors to Balnakeil Craft Village will find that there is a stunning variety of great goodies to peruse. They can soak up the surrounding countryside by staying a night over at the hotel or guest house, or they can explore some of the other interesting activities or attractions that have sprung up in support of the village. These have included a worm factory, a pony trekking center and a display of the art of fly tying. Or they could just settle down for a great meal at the local restaurant, which also doubles as a great bookshop. Of course, no stay would be complete without tasting the locally made, luxury chocolates that can only be bought at Balnakeil. Come and savor their flavor today!


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