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

Health all good again and have another couple of shifts under my belt at the Inn. Saturday evening was a very enjoyable one and would you believe it busy. At one stage we opened up the dinning room but customers decided to wait so they could sit by the fire. There was a couple from Whitby that reckoned I was more stressed out than they were about them finding a seat for their dinner. It means there a is a good banter and rapport by the end of the evening and they and me are very relaxed by the end of the evening. There were a couple of tables I had to ask to move for people so they could eat but luckily I knew them from my ever-expanding networks of ,hotel work, fishing, local politics and community “stuff”. And they got to sit by the fire half an hour later and all ends well. They are usually so happy with the good atmosphere, food and ambience that every one wants every one else to be content. it is such a simple way to live but can only be carried out in trusting company.

Local politics are back on the agenda and it would not be an honest blog if I ignored them. I knew there was a letter going to be sent to the press today and it was to be a rehash of the “confidential petition” that was selectively circulated round some of the community although I did not know it was to carry signatures,eight, with no surprises Like the “petition”I found the letter strange and was fairly irrelevant to everything that is being discussed about land reform,community survival both on a local and national level. It was the first “petition” I have ever heard of that was confidential but it was n’t and it’s only purpose was to gather as many signatures as possible so it ended up being very garbled. I do like discussion and argument but on an intelligent level and I am more than happy for people to disagree with me. It is a shame that the petitioners have completely missed the point of both the campaign and the role of the Community Company and the Community Council in the community. Usually when things get personal I know I am on safe ground because there is not a lot of logic in the opposing argument. Although some of what has been going on in the community has at times been fairly stressful I have to accept that as I have put my head over the parapet and expect the pelters coming my way. But as I have said before and will say again no one has come to me to complain that I am involved with running the Filling Station, or taking over and refurbishing the public toilets,or helping set up an income generating hydro scheme, or ,as announced, being picked by the Scottish Govt as one of six areas to drastically improve our broadband. For obvious reasons we chose particular sites to upgrade as part of a pilot scheme and the schoolhouse was one,even simple things like iplayer is now accessible for people working irregular hours,and our community has been recognised at national level as one that is positive and proactive. There is another announcement pending which we hope by the end of next year Applecross may have an 18 meg system. That is what we are aiming at. This is supported by the Community Council. At present the Company is involved in reinstating the pier at the Coal Shed so large numbers of artics do not truck wood out over the Coast road but is taken away by sea transport and we are left with a rebuilt vernacular pier that was a unloading point in the past for coal and other supplies brought in by sea. Even I am impressed by how much has been done in such a short time, and this does not include the toddlers play park and Doctor’s campaign, First Responders. Actually I am proud of this community and I am really sorry to have missed AppleX Factor as that appears to have been another example of what I am talking about.

I have often talked about the list above and it will only grow as the next generation come through and take over the reins set up in the last 3/4 years and as people realise that, with a little confidence, they will get involved and the capacity of this community will continue to grow. So with this in mind I turn to the Land Reform Scotland campaign, which does not change any of my views. I want to make it clear that I read The Guardian on Saturday and the WHFP on a Thursday, I don’t read the Telegraph or The Daily Mail although it is good that other people do for a bit of righter wing balance, just saying this so people know where I am coming from. Over the years I have read Who own’s Scotland and more recently The Poor Had No Lawyers, also Soil and Soul and enjoyed and got frustrated by the story of how the land was taken from the people who lived on it over the centuries but latterly this is changing and in many cases the land is being returned. Latest being the Island of Scalpay. What I really object to is this attack on our institutions to get to my own personal views. If people object so strongly to them that they have to go to the national press to miscall our Council and Company just to get at me, well I thought that some of those that signed this “petition” were better than that. A tweet stream tonight was going on about how the LAS statement in response to todays letter was not factual because two individuals had prior warning of the campaign. I am a little surprised that the letter/”petition” is being defended in this way as it fails on so many levels to make much sense. Surely if one is against LAS there are better arguments than the misleading aspersions to the the ones circulated in the letter. I suppose I have better “local” knowledge of who is involved but then I could not and do not comment on other communities until I get insights from people living there. How can anyone sign a “petition” supporting a strategic long-term plan that no one ,to my knowledge, has seen. To make it as clear as I can one of my crimes is that I met Andy Wightman in Lochcarron and was given prior warning of the LAS campaign, the most important part of this is the info was given in confidence and for me that is important. Over the years here I have been in the same situation several times and that confidence when asked for has never been broken. I went to Lochcarron as an individual, not as a director or councillor and believe we have moved on from the olden days when we had to be subservient in order to receive the patronage of the laird. This is 2012 for goodness sake. But as ever I am fortunate to be here now and this is only a tiny blip in the timeless history of Applecross. When I was on the “Forgotten” path the other day I listened to Darrell Scott’s Open Door on the ipod,brilliant. Just put it on again and it is a fine way to end a day along with the surprising release of writing this blog.

Comments on: "Letters, petitions and much energy expended by some." (2)

  1. Rod Coldwell said:

    Well well. If you can’t put up a good argument why not construct an ambiguous one and get
    the mob to sign a petition which is not relevant to the situation!

    In truth, I did not see this petition (quelle surprise!), so am in the dark as to its true contents.
    What I do know is that you and your wife have done excellent work on the Community
    Council & with the Community Company, your only “crime” being that you always been transparent in your actions. However, as you rightly say Ali, this has nothing whatever to do
    with the current Applecross Estate situation.

    What really gets me is that many of these signatories have other homes miles away from
    Applecross and yet they don’t like the thought of more local representation on the Applecross
    Trust. Please answer me – why not? Haven’t we moved on from feudal times? As I
    commented some time ago, anyone against more local representation on the Applecross
    Trust must have their own, more sinister, agenda. Keep up the good work Ali.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Thank you for your support Rod. We are getting a lot and some people who have signed the “petition”,I have to keep it in quotes because it does not pass any criteria as a petition, are now regretting it. Many people from the North coast warned us this was going to happen here at some stage. It is just such a shame that some people have shown such poor judgement and caused such division. WHFP has just been in touch and all we are doing is passing on the Newsletter saying what is being done in the community and referring them to Land Action Scotland website. There must be other agendas I don’t know about but maybe it just is personal, if that is the I feel sad for these people that they live in such a beautiful part of the world and feel so unsettled that they have to attack community volunteers. But I have no community regrets and you do feel stronger as you reason with yourself about why you do what you do and I cannot say how much I appreciate yours and everyone else’s support.

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