Although the Community Company is still waiting to see if our application to take over and run the public toilets is successful we hope to progress an application which will help us to improve our woeful broadband provision. Two weeks ago I did a test which came back at .39 megs. I know how bad this is just by visitor reaction. There is a debate among some people who think that it would change Applecross for the worse. The argument goes that Applecross will lose some of its uniqueness, a poor argument if you realise that a graphics designer cannot work from home. And what about the young people? Do you condemn them to poor social media access because you cannot switch off your blackberry? As a Community Company board we have decided to go ahead and try to improve the system. Again this will be social enterprise in action where we apply front an initial grant to set up a system which will be run and maintained locally and will improve an essential service and hopefully attract much-needed new families into the area.The system depends on finding a host relay point in Broadford to beam the signal across to Applecross. We are working with guys that have set up a successful system on Eigg. Simon sailed to Applecross two weekends ago and spent a day with Sean and Alison looking at the potential.He immediately identified a point that would give coverage for the south townships and we hope to make contact with Arnish in north Raasay to relay a signal round the north coast where they still have dial-up service. Simon was very positive after his visit and described it as an exciting challenge with a small mast on the Tor Mor above the Hall and also at Ardubh. The essence of the project is that it will be handed over to us to install and operate ourselves, going back to the principle of self-help rather than wait for other outside agencies to do it for us. Lots of work to be done but a positive project for the Community Company to improve working and social conditions making survival on the edge more likely. Of course I had to take Dougal up to case Tor Mor and after I quelled his interest in a three-hour old lamb he give his approval and headed off for his walk.
The views from up there were stunning and I always think that we have the best of everything , assuming this scheme works out, we are living in such a beautiful part of the world and still benefiting from latest technology. Cheffie from the Inn kitchen is just out of picture relaxing on his croft. He has to keep away from the stove at least two days a week to stay sane. Robert must have one of the best views from any croft in Scotland. We are advised to stay away from BT as much as possible as we find big organisations seem either not interested or incapable of working out solutions for minority situations. The end product will be the Community Company providing a Local Broadband network of up to 8 meg which allows streaming and uploading of graphics taken for granted in most of the rest of the country.
After a cracking walk it was off to the Inn for another session lasting from half ten through till half five. Musicians from Lochcarron providing the backdrop appreciated especially by the group of visitors who flew up from Manchester for lunch…..yes I kid you not. I had a really interesting discussion with a customer who was wondering how there were so many people at the Inn and we went through about five or six different reasons,good food,scenery,hospitality but he was looking for something else and I suppose I touched on it on my last post. It is very hard to put into words this indefinable magic that is Applecross and found every day at the Inn.
Todays activities were curtailed somewhat by me pulling a back muscle while eating my muesli for breakfast, managed to plant most of the main crop potatoes with only a row left to do. Did a last row in the evening with the sun shining through the blossoms on the apple trees and Dougal keeping me company maybe with thoughts of yesterdays walk fleeting through his consciousness.