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

Had to hold off from writing this post as I came back from the last SEA two days at Sabhal Mor Ostaig mainly because I was flying so high. Leaving early to get back to Applecross for the Community Company meeting with the Trust at Clachan I took with me the post it notes put up by the rest of the group and was given a sheet of descriptive positive words again written by everyone. I opened it up to read it before going in to the meeting and had to take five minutes out. I find it hard to believe people think so much of who you are and what you do. Certainly carried me through the meeting where things that need to be done are met with reasons why they cannot work. On the positive side Judith is going to meet with Richard to sign our lease for the hydro scheme. Lunch has been arranged and the lease is to be signed. Unfortunately when we got home there is a tale of sick lawyers on the e-mail stream. Why another one cannot do what the sick one is supposed to do…… I cannot get my head round the legal system. The other thing that bothers me is that public money earmarked for Applecross ends up being spent in Edinburgh and Glasgow. If the rest of us worked as they do maybe things would be done by the next generation. So no signing no lunch!! Managed to get a shared vision stated of getting more people to live here. We keep impressing on the Trustees that this community is so fragile. There is no point in getting the garden nice if it ends up with no-one living in the house. Little bit of progress regarding a local wood supply but that has been going on for years now. There has to be  a breakout of the housing problem where crofters say the Estate should release land and the Estate say the crofters……. Anyway have to stay positive and keep soldiering on.Leaving the meeting I am convinced that we are on the right track with our Social Enterprise model. Everything we are doing is costed and will be sustainable once it is set up. The Community Company will eventually be providing work as well as creating an environment where other people can carry out their own work a lot easier. Another one of these win/win situations. It has been a week of meetings which were all fairly positive. Monday listened to woodland presentations of which the sea transport was the most interesting. Had to leave before the carbon credits solution was presented as I was still working on my SEA presentation. Tuesday was Community Council followed by Community Company and then it was off to Sleat on Wednesday morning.

Trying not to go over the top regarding the SEA course but I suspect just about every one is disappointed that it is finished. It was a couple of days that were pure motivation. Being in the company of this group of guys has been the highlight of the year and has lead me to do things that I did not think I could do. I think one of the strengths of the course has been that it has given everyone the confidence to come out of their comfort zones and try things that they do not normally do. There has been a huge amount of honesty and trust with people being very revealing about their own lives. Also it has changed almost everyone and encouraged more listening and thinking before action. Left with an amazing buzz but also realised that during the year I have already been carrying out the lessons in real life and having one of the best teachers at the Inn, well life has become awesome as our Aussie girl from Melbourne would say. The difference between “being” and ‘being alive” is huge. One of the most inspiring stories of the two days was Karen Darke, the para olympian silver medalist. The fact that she waited for her team-mate who was in 4th so they could cross the line together for a shared bronze was more important to her than just winning a medal. The photo finish meant her mate won but helping her was more important to her than a “piece of metal”. To a lesser degree of course helping people at the Inn is the ultimate, whether it is getting them sorted for food etc ,helping them get accommodation ,telling them how to get where they are going, breakdown help. It always makes you feel better for it. The other great attribute I have got from the course is a better understanding of patience. This can be irritating for some people around you as they want things to happen immediately, but Applecross, as always, is timeless.

So before and after all these meetings and courses a couple of shifts in the Inn meant you were looking after people again and it is such a good thing to do. You go out and catch prawns for them, watch them enjoy them and give them a tale of how they are caught. This seems to make it even more real and enjoyable for them. It is good to be back home and looking around autumn is well under way. We have had a couple of stormy days but the fungi growing on the tree just the Street side of Milton looks wonderful and has survived the wind.

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