A view on Fishing,Community and Life on the NW coast of Scotland

Applecross conversations

Because the Heads of Terms negotiations between the Estate and Applecross Community Company are reaching a conclusion it is becoming a hot topic in the community. Although not having an insight into all sections the community I do have the ability not to ‘take offence’ so I tend to get any one giving their opinion even if they know I don’t agree. I find that you question why you disagree and put it in a coherent argument. If you hid behind prejudices we might as well walk away now. In Applecross the long view and patience is critical as what is happening now is an evolution and never going to be revolution but there are too many people living here now realise that there has to be a positive movement to try to reverse the decline. I will never tire of pointing out that our school role is at its lowest ever and by all indicators that spells trouble for any community. We are all different but I believe most people in Applecross have what I call the ‘community gene’. In the past this went hand in hand with the crofting way of life but as this has declined and the few working crofters by necessity have had to become individual to survive. I am and will be very open about what I think of land ownership in the Highlands and while accepting the history of the decline I believe if you own large tracts of land where the community is in decline the owner has take part of the responsibility for that decline.

Nowadays this’community gene’ is expressed by people, for example, running the community Hall, The Pier, The Heritage Centre organising the Annual Games, and the new focus is the Community Company. The importance of what is happening in Applecross cannot be under stated. Alison has just come of the phone after speaking to Ron Gilchrist who we hope is coming  to Applecross to carry out a soil fertility workshop. He is obviously enthusiastic and has lots of ideas to convert small pieces of land to fill the food gaps here. We cannot get away from peak oil and planning for it getting our values right is going to make living here good. Even with a phone call anaerobic digesters, revitalising unworked crofts the possibilities are endless, watch this space.

There is little to say about the negotiations other than we will probably accept the latest offer which means we will be paying the Estate almost double what other Community Companies are doing with their Landlords. We have tried to explain that this is no way to establish a partnership but I think it has fallen on deaf ears. Already we are moving on in a positive way looking at the endless opportunities to make living here better. I believe the future is with the people who live here and we will have our scraps but that will be ok as well. This blog has come up in several conversations so I better explain that it is personal, represents my view and is not part of any orchestrated campaign. The fact that it goes on the net and is sometimes thought provoking is fine and if it becomes part of anything bigger, well fine again. If it is of any interest to any one I am honoured that people take time out to read it. I am still really not sure why I am doing it but it feels ok to me. Off to the Inn for another couple of shifts.

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