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

Northerly winds have set in but plenty going on although at a tempered pace. Spent a few hours at the Inn over the weekend with Saturday night catering for birthdays from thirty-five to sixty and all the other tables in use. Busy but not over the top. As well as the birthdays there was a revolution being planned below the menu boards, involving land reform and communities having more say in their communities. hardly something you would think needs a revolution but this is antiquated Scotland. Also good to see Stewart and Margaret up for the week. Stewart, as I have said before, is a really good friend of Applecross Community Company and prints our calendars at cost price thus making more money for the Company. Building these new community networks is essential for our survival as other very powerful networks are already in place , established over centuries. Saturday morning involved a really interesting workshop set up by the consultants and we were split into two groups. Ours was fairly like minded and similar frustrations and hopes were expressed. I know that several people when they talked about life here have become quite depressed when they put forward the opposition to any of their hopes. “Pie in the sky” is not any an optimistic views in what a lot of younger people hope for. I think more people are going to have to speak out and not be so afraid of this psychological feudalism that still abounds here.

Sunday saw a long shift, beginning after breakfast, stretching into the early hours. A quiet day due to the Hill being closed due to the snow conditions. not so many people make it round the coast. Plenty to do with just the two of us on most of the day before recruitments came at six in the form of Jack. Regular guests appeared in the afternoon in the form of Steve and Di and we quickly got down to the politics on the condition Steve’s England flag key ring was covered up. You can talk politics at the Inn with people you know despite them being almost on the other end of the spectrum. Always good to know people who are people first and then people with very different views second. A brief moment before closing when the hand bag went missing for five minutes before turning up in the bedroom wardrobe. All part of the service.

North winds are blowing this week although the forecast is fine towards the weekend. Means the Spring clean up has started when the last of the wood is getting stacked away in the back and the garden is receiving a badly needed shake down. Starting at the back door and working out and it is going to be a huge job, this along with the croft are this years projects, alongside the Filling Station/Hydro etc. Looking forward to the seasons work and events, the winter blue period seems to be slipping by although I am sure there will be days of inactivity ahead before the midges kick in.

In between the showers on Monday it was up to the Intake with Stewart and Margaret who were very interested in seeing the Hydro in all its glory.

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Must be getting slightly fitter as it was the easiest trip up the path yet, although the company and light helped.

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It is always nice to  hear the appreciation from outside the community, knowing the effort that went into the scheme, but seeing the impact on people who are interested and who realise the work that went into it. The turbine house and the heat dump were also in the tour. The meter showing the totals are climbing by the day. This was Monday’s reading.

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Tuesday and more of the same but the added meetings, the first one for AppleJuice, and followed by a Community Company one. Over two hours for that one, the AppleJuice one is a very routine affair as it will just be a vehicle to channel profits into the community. Felt like a new start but it really is just a continuation of what the Company is doing. Governance, hydro, broadband, and toilets all on the agenda along with two new applications for funding. Looking to build easy to live in and affordable housing at the Surgery for older folks. forced to look at scraps of land like this due to lack of availability elsewhere. Hoping this may free up some housing for younger folks. Meanwhile the school roll falls, despite all the good intentions of the community. Hoping enough people have put their heads above the parapet to tell the consultants that we are approaching the point where the community becomes unsustainable….not enough people living here to meet the needs of the community. Never going to give up.

Same theme today when I showed an investor round the turbine house and heat dump and very similar views. If only we could get access to land to develop a community hub, produce more cheap,local, green energy to supply it, generate employment and have more people living in Applecross. Fine free ranging conversation and dipped into stories about the problems of medical services in a tourist hot spot. One GP having to deal with thirty-six incidents, twenty-two of which were fractures on a Sunday during the skiing season. A constant battle with the powers that be to maintain a decent service…..and we chatted about our own local restrictions and how the potential is constantly being depressed.

The weather although not too pleasant at sea is good for the dog walks both by the shore

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and up the Glen.

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Comments on: "Frustrated Community Ambitions." (4)

  1. I am getting in touch with perhaps an odd request. I am currently in my final year at the Glasgow School of Art and I am working on a documentary based around opportunities that lie in Scotland, its future and that which is happening in the Highlands that is largely unknown to lowlanders like myself. Given the reliance and importance of land and natural resources to the lifestyles of those in the Wester Ross, it would be incredibly valuable to speak with those within this communities on this topic, and after coming across your blog it would be great to get in touch with you and involve you with this project- I hope this is something you would be interested in!

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