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

Posts tagged ‘Applecross Community Company’

Nordic Horizons Session

The room was full, around seventy odd, people standing at the back, and they came to listen to the Highlanders tell their community’s stories of their recent history and in some cases not so recent. The Glen Wyvis story went back to the Jacobites, but I digress. The videos will be out shortly. Maggie started the trio off after Kristin introduced the breakout session by telling us about Nordic Horizons which was set up in 2010 to learn and exchange knowledge from our near neighbours around the Arctic Circle. Over the years there have been 40 events learning about the Scandinavian experience in diverse subjects such as kindergarten, cycling, constitution and oil.

The name Eigg comes from Old Norse meaning the edge of a blade. Although I knew the background to the buy out it was interesting to hear first hand the transfer of the island from Schellenberg to Maruma and finally to the Community of Eigg. From degradation to mystery and finally to rejuvenation. The plans continue and currently they are investigating growing their community hub as its needs has outgrown its original structure. The story of their renewable energy system is immense and the combination of hydro, solar and wind for local use must be a way to go in many rural, remote communities. The most telling statistic of all is the population increase of around 60 during the buyout to over a 100 now. Huge amount of hard work, volunteering, and dedication has gone into the story and it is continuing. Listening to the story I could not help reflecting on what is happening back home and how the residents of Eigg talk naturally about Community Owned Assets. I think this very natural idea has not been accepted yet on our peninsula. I may be wrong and often am but I know that a number of our community desire and are very capable of running such assets and this is  one of the missed opportunities in the Trust Consultation. While I was involved it was brought up several times but never quite made it into any of the documents. I have since dropped out and this may have changed, but until the Community Company/Community has access to Community Assets we will not be able to replicate the wonderful work carried out on Eigg.

Next up was John,

the Flying Farmer, who is the powerhouse behind Glen Wyvis Distillery. Fascinating history of distilling around the Dingwall (another Norse name) and Black Isle area. This was followed by some professional videos and beautiful scenic views showing off the best of the Scottish wild landscape. I invested in the distillery some months ago and hearing about the renewable side to the venture I may put another sum into it as the plan is to produce around 500kWhs and have the operation run 100% on renewable energy. Do not know where John gets his energy from but it appears unlimited. I am taking two or three steps back and will be doing more of that in the near future, need to rejuvenate some energy from some where.

Alison was next up

and told the story of the Applecross Community Company, the Filling Station, the Broadband and the Hydro Scheme and possible future developments. Imagine if access to land was added to this list……..Needless to say that the session over ran but the interest stayed until the end, Eigg and Applecross are already on the map and are now known around the Arctic Circle and I would reckon there may be a wee spike in investments to the only renewable energy distillery at Glen Wyvis.

So our weekend draws to close and while waiting for Alison to meander through the Harpa shop a couple of American students struck up a lovely warm conversation which began by asking what I thought of our FM Nicola Sturgeon. They thought she was the best ambassador a country could have. Chatted for quite a while and the conversation ranged across all issues affecting land in Scotland to health in America. If they weren’t Socialists they were pretty close to it and it must be good for their nation to have sharp minds like theirs come to conferences like the Arctic Circle. They have a standing invite if they ever make it to Applecross and we left in good cheer.Walked down town

through the Flea Market and back up rather tired to the accommodation.

It must be good that people to know the positive steps taken forward by the communities in the Highlands and in our case despite the people in control rather than with their help. The evening ended with a late night wander through the town centre and back down to the Harpa Centre

thinking about all the folk we have met over the weekend, Rasmus, Anders, John, Maggie, Kirsty,

Graham and many others.

Going to be a tourist for the next three days and looking forward to it.

Followed by West Africa.

Sunday evening;It got better despite a fair bit of  ignorance about jazz rhythms of west Africa. I still do not know that much about jazz but spent a wonderful three hours down at the Old Fruit Market listening to music from the Ivory Coast, Mali and Burkino Faso. IMG_0065   IMG_0068 Hard to describe other than standing still was not an option, a great way to spend a Sunday evening. A couple of little snatches of sounds. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gT9BDmfPGhg&feature=em-upload_owner#action=share

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gT9BDmfPGhg&feature=em-upload_owner Before we knew it was eleven o’clock and another early crash. The Festival caters  for all ages, younger ones heading off to the Festival Club while the old fogies head for their kip to ready for another day. Morning was a recovery one and then we headed off to Hillhead Bookclub to have a very pleasant studenty lunch with Son No4 and Rachel. IMG_0057 Turns out that Rob, Marion and Helen were there the night before after the gig. Just found out Ardelve was at the Piping concert on Saturday.Very hip place and both there and in the evening at the jazz the Tyrolean hat was not out-of-place. Despite coming from the edge of the country one can fit in with the hip quite easily. Can not talk to much about the music a apart from the fact it was excellent  and the first time at The Old Fruit Market. Changed the tickets for upstairs so got a nice baloney view of the evening’s entertainment, all three hours of it. The rhythms were fantastic and it was hard to believe Manu Dibango was ban eighty year old, certainly did not act like one. So that is half time and already looking to this week-end. More traditional with Stockton’s Wing, Blazin Fiddles, Transatlantic Sessions and one I am looking forward to The Lewis Psalm singers with a Hindustani Ensemble. Monday evening; So it was off up the road, snow at Drumochter, IMG_7463 short stop at Inverness and then on to Shieldaig via Kinlochewe. IMG_7465 Stunning scenery on the way home, IMG_7478 always when finishing off a break the fact that it is back home to Applecross eases the pain of the holiday ending. IMG_7473 Waited for Sarah to turn up as I was early, but no bad thing as it was a beautiful afternoon in a magical wee village. IMG_7485 Needed the session, a bit painful as it has not been so regular lately. So home to Dougal and Co by evening and was welcomed home well. Tuesday; Today a bit of a non day as a touch of man flu so slummed it during the day and was out doing a shift at the Inn and just short of twenty meals served. Enough to make time fly. Not worked it out yet but having a go at posting videos. The one yesterday of Macumba was supposed to be one and maybe will be. Took a good one of George Gunn but that has not worked out either. Will get there in the end. Now it is Thursday afternoon doing a split shift at the Inn, under the weather and not fit to fish but okay to be nice to people, ten of whom are in just now but all looking after themselves. Wonderful day, just been down to the very low tide and the bright sunshine. IMG_7552 And had a look at the sparkling toilets, IMG_7568   IMG_7564 unfortunately we have just noticed the typo on the sign outside. IMG_7561 The wee service rush is over and chilling out now. Only big thing of note during the day is the incredible Baxter is now 70, as I told him this morning he has been looking 70 for the past decade especially on the Glens mornings. Toilets now open and the “official” opening will be probably next week. Reaction of those who have been down for a mosey has been really good and visitors that I have spoken to over the last couple of weeks have impressed with what is going on here. The big missing link is housing, as Audrey our councillor, was saying in the local paper a couple of weeks ago, at hose areas that managed to have affordable housing built in their communities are the ones with increasing school roles. Take Shieldaig as an example. Two children at school before they put their houses up and now fourteen. This afternoon taking the pooches, Dougal in very good form despite spending another night out gallivanting, out for a run along towards Culduie I was privileged to watch a powerful light show over to the west. Leaving the Inn I looked West and there was a performance under way.

IMG_7569 Talking to John, the fencer in the evening we exchanged stories about experiences on the hill and the water, good to talk to some one who relates to your own experiences. It was a spine tingling conversation. Have not had a session like that for a number of years. Sharing tales, but not trying to out do each other, talking and then listening. He was a good man, of the earth, liked a drink but so what. May never see him again ,does not matter, the connection was good . Raghu Dixit was saying just that, some one walks into your life does some thing good or is just good company, and then walks on his own path leaving you in a better place. Friday morning; finally going to post this week long bits and pieces before heading south again. Health decidedly ropey but mind over matter… Reading this back there can be few posts that include West African jazz concerts, Thai massage, Community run Toilets and of course Baxter.

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