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

Treacherous and Politics.

Feels as though I am in a bit of a maelstrom and have taken time out to write this post I hope with a lot of thought and awareness of the high seas and rocky shores around me. A news item regarding Applecross Trust hit the press on thursday which has been coordinated by the Land reformer Andy Wightman. Probably mentioned before but Alison and I met Andy for the first time at a talk organised by Vicky and chatted about land issues and ownership etc. His proposed campaign came up but we were only told on a confidential basis which has come back to bite us a little this weekend. The simplicity of the campaign has been lost in the furore created and many people have lost the point of it and reactions have varied from panic to wondering what on earth is this all about. I was first contacted by the press on Tuesday and again on saturday to do a piece for the BBC. It is no secret that I think many things could be done differently here and for the better and I accept this view is not shared by all but I was taken aback by the strength of reaction in some quarters. Throughout the weekend allegation and counter allegation have swirled about and the latest update and encounter relayed to me over the Sunday lunch shift. By this time I was looking forward to a hastily called meeting for the Community Company response to what was happening. Over the afternoon and today I have been told of the more humorous aspects to the gossip racing around. Judith is going to convert the Big House into a luxury hotel. The CC is going to build 100 houses and we will be overwhelmed by dole scroungers. The sea will be all fished out and all the deer will be poached. Me thinks one or two people would have been better watching X Factor. The Community Co meeting went well and there were direct questions to me from other directors to answer and was able to reassure and clear the air and we settled on a short fairly neutral statement explaining the Company’s non involvement.

So it was with some relief I headed over to Eilean Donan to see the magnificent Treacherous Orchestra. They were preceded by the School of Excellence at Plockton, great musicians for the future. The concert was sublime, an hour and a half of fantastic music making it impossible to stand still and make your heart sing. It so fitted in with what was happening back home and kept a perspective of what is valuable in life. It is uplifting to see so many people just laughing, smiling and enjoying themselves, a great antidote to the bigger issues that have crowding in in the past couple of days. Fiddle, pipes and accordion driven on by a vibrant base and drummer who worked his socks off all night. A sound to remember.

Today’s ALPS meeting did not start off well at all but after an hour and a half there was an uneasy agreement. One of the main themes that kept coming up was communications and the importance of them. I have to acknowledge the importance of the SEA and the course I have been on. I met up with Fiona at the concert and had a chat about what was happening and although I do not remember all the specifics but the gist about focusing on the issues and staying away from personalizing problems kept me in good stead over the rest of the weekend.At the ALPS meeting I was able to make the point several times that the campaign was not conceived, organised or carried out from the Schoolhouse. I also felt that it was important to point out that I have know about it for several weeks but respected a request of confidentiality and that although I decided not to sign up to be a member of the Trust I did support the thrust of the campaign. There were several issues aired and one or two solutions proposed of which I think one has potential and may be discussed at a later date, if proven successful. One issue that keeps coming up is the separation of environment,culture,heritage and social issues. I do not think this can be done as they are too integrated. The meeting would not have taken place if not for the campaign and there was also a chance to explain what it hoped to achieve and state that it was not a land grab. I suspect that this may be lost in translation but we will see. I was pleasantly surprised by one comment which implied that the mere fact of my attendance was admired. “Balls” was the word used. And there was a thanks on the way out as well which I have to say was appreciated. The one thing I am uneasy about was the way my blog and comments on fb were called into question but I can only say they are my thoughts and I question myself all the time so I think questioning the Trust is not too out-of-order. I know any comments and feedback I get do not share this view. I do not mind having my views challenged but do not like the idea of pressure being put on the writing of them. Anyway they are being given an undue importance in the eyes of those who disagree with them and if it opens up a debate for the future good and well. All the issues we have here are not going to be sorted out by journalists but by the people who live here so we might as well get on with it.

On Saturday found a little time to watch the bees going about their business and saw some coming back with full bright yellow pouches of pollen. They are also feeding well having put my third kilo of sugar/syrup on the top board. Not so good news on the chicken front with Mr Pine Martin arriving on two consecutive evenings and we are now down to 3 hens who now are residing in the henhouse until the martin moves on. Philipines arrived on the weekend which puts us up to 71. Managed a First Responders meeting tonight with a lot of interest expressed. Tomorrow…. who knows?

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