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

Lovely quiet but cold morning with the Cullin looking close today and bonny with her snow cap.

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February is going to see an influx of post grad students from around the world who are going to carry out a study in Applecross.  Alison saw a request from CES that the university were looking for field studies in this area but Knoydart were quicker of the mark and they went there last year and now it is our turn. They will be staying at the Clachan Manse and Brambles and hopefully they will feel welcomed by the community. Almost as important as the work they will do for us. Co-ordinating with Community Energy Scotland and Applecross Community Company they are going to carry out field research to assess Sustainable Energy Development Opportunities. The group consists of twelve students and three professors from the Energy an Environmental Management Master Programme at the University of Flensburg, Germany. Looking at the group that are coming over it is going to be a multi cultural event for Applecross. The students are from Africa, Asia, and Latin America learning current topics such as environmental management, renewable energy and project management and energy efficiency. Ghana, Nepal, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Iran are but a few of the countries who are going to visit. The International Class” is intended to give the students an opportunity to collaborate and work in the field with a community. After five weeks of work the study results  will be presented to the community. Having just seen the programme of what they are going to look at it appears to be very practical and not just an an exercise in academia. Suggesting energy efficiency alternatives for households, the environmental impact and the cost of implementing the measures. Energy supply from renewable sources and an environmentally friendly transport system.

This is a continuation of the work being done by AEE is raising awareness of our carbon footprint and at the same time maybe improving people’s standard of living by reducing their energy bills. www.facebook.com/ApplecrossEnergyEfficiency There a number of conversions to wood burning over the last wee while as evidenced by the increasing number of wood shed being erected around the community. As well as burning wood there have little courses explaining the science of drying the wood to get the optimum energy from the fuel. This has been the push behind getting a wood fuel supply set up locally as it ensures a supply for the wood stoves. The 300 tons from the Gateway woodland is looking smaller and smaller by the month. The idea behind the wood fuel chain is to persuade even more people to change to a better system but will need a consistent supply. This does not touch existing supplies but the demand could possibly encourage some employment. Recently been looking at some photos of Colin Parson’s in Achmore, using old ways with new technology. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Colin-Parsons-ForestryHorse-Logging/610273509040324We have tried to go down the greener road, air source heat pump

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and burning more wood

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and are looking forward to seeing how the students look at older,harder to insulate houses to see if they can be improved. One of my few influences on the ALPS programme was suggesting air source heat pumps to be installed at Clachan Church and it was good to hear a few comments as to how it was not as cold as it used to be at Norman’s funeral. I do fancy some solar thermal panels this summer to use on our water heating system, like the one fitted on the Public Toilets.

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We already have a source of community transport if only we were allowed to use it, very frustrating.

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It was interesting to see a woodland being worked such as Sleat, a felling programme, wood fuel for local consumption and the community benefiting from the profits. Lessons to be learnt across Scotland.

Cracking shift to-day, expecting it to be really quiet until the Lochcarron guys came over in the afternoon but from 12 noon onwards it was pretty nippy. Mainly because of a visit from Elgol in the shape of Alastair “Elgol”, fisherman extraordinaire and now moving into the chartering business. The slightly weird thing was that I was talking to Ewen about Alastair last night and out of the blue he turns up not having seen him for about ten or so years. Good to catch up as we have a little history. I first bumped into him working on the Achmore to Auchtertyre road, then Kishorn was the next meeting and then the most important as I bought a 32 foot Cygnus fishing boat off him, the Emma Goody. Swapped a few stories and memories and shared a tale of a decline of a valuable fishery. The weather has hit them bad on the west side of Skye, he was out one day in the whole of December. So with Alastair and Mark having a couple of pints, chatting in front of me, there were quite a few customers coming and going, so the multi tasking skills were called into action. Turns out that Mark has been in Elgol for two or three years and is working with Ian from Rum and Hebnet to get his internet improved as his animation photographic business depends on good connections. https://www.facebook.comthecuillincollective Interesting to me that going from half a meg up to six is obviously a huge improvement where as some moving here coming from twenty and having to deal with six would be disappointing. Every thing has different perceptions.   Same with hot water coming to the Public toilets, accepted as the norm everywhere else but here it is a huge improvement, mind you that goes for the rest of the building as well. Music kicked in at 3.00pm and after a plate of plaice and chips it was home by six.

Comments on: "Flensburg University come to Applecross." (10)

  1. The more I read your blogs I realise that it must be better for a community to be self reliant/sustaining. Why doesn’t government see the benefit of this self sufficiency and help communities big and small to achieve this.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      And it is so much cheaper in the long run for everyone. Relatively small capital investment results in small scale employment to keep a project running and more importantly gives the community,well most of it, a sense of well being.

  2. I agree with you. Billions of pounds are wasted through the various tiers of government and by the time what is left to benefit the community, it is spent on things we didn’t want, by people only interested in climbing the greasy pole of local government.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      There are good people in local govt, I have come across a few but usually they have so little money in their budgets that the decisions they have to take are misconstrued. There are too many tiers and not enough people prepared to take slightly risky decisions in case they are wrong….so they do not take any or prevent others taking them. Our Community Co is young and you could say we have done much that has not worked out as envisaged, but I would not go back to pre 2008 when we tried to sort things out in a piece meal way.

      • I agree however they are usually run with councillors with their own political agendas and goals. I have a friend who is just about to lose his job because of petty horse trading within the council, a whole department given the chop.

        There are good people but as you say to many layers of bureaucracy to wade through. This leads to waste and in some cases loss of transparency.

      • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

        Cut waste and you are labeled right wing look after the welfare state and you are labeled a leftie. Party politics has no place in politics maybe.

  3. Are those solar heaters really efficient? I seem to remember hearing they were a bit of eco-bling. Apparently, a radiator, painted black and connected in the right way is equally as efficient and about 10% the cost. Not being an ex-spurt in this field I couldn’t say with any authority, but it just occurred to me as I was looking.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      You are probably right but us untechies are held to ransom. Heard about the black radiator and it works but controlling the temp is the prob.

  4. Was a fine pint as well!

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