2020 was a big year for us in the North West Highlands Geopark!
This year we were given the news that we passed our revalidation! Every four years a Geopark must be audited by the the Network and UNESCO to ensure it is functioning as a UNESCO Global Geopark. All aspects of our organisation were under scrunity and evaluated by colleagues from Jeju Island Global Geopark (Korea) and Basque Coast Global Geopark (Spain); following a four day visit, they submitted a report to the UNESCO executive board. The result was an enormous boost for the voluntary board who manage the Geopark Designation and a testament to the hard work of the people, businesses, NGOs and other stakeholder in the North West Highlands. Revalidation assessments such as these make sure that all UNESCO Global Geoparks are held to the same high standards and are good places to live in, work in and visit.
2020 was a tough year for everyone, but the Geopark Charity has come through the Global Pandemic in a reasonably good position thanks to the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Fund allowed us to extend an existing project focused on organisational resilience to allow us to adapt to the major changes brought about by Lockdown and build our capacity as an organisation. This has allowed us to to upgrade our governance systems, develop a business plan and messaging, helping to differentiate between the North West Highlands UNESCO Global Geopark and the Charity that manages it: The North West Highlands Geopark Ltd.
We have been working on some exciting projects, ranging from a Walkers Guidebook as part of the Coigach Assynt Living Landscape scheme through new multi-media interpretation and online geofestival events and new Geopods in Durness and Assynt to helping to set up the new Scottish Geology Trust.