Day two was as interesting as the first with a slightly more local theme although the first day had every relevance to us as well. Due to a lot of late interest it was decided that we would move to Clachan for the last morning session. Made it up to the Hall to load up chairs and tables and another stop at the Inn for plates cups etc.. Screen set up a lot quicker each time we do it now and off we went again, but this time it was slightly less comfortable.
Bill Hall was up on Thursday and gave a chat to the Hall committee about the air to water heat pump and it went down well. It sounds like a no brainer where a company comes in and installs a system for free, resulting in saving a huge oil bill and qualifying for RHI. So not only does the Hall save money but it actually makes it and on top of that uses less carbon and we all benefit from a warmer hall. It is a pity that the advice for Clachan has not been followed and the bigger air source heat pumps were not installed. By the end of the morning we could not take any more of the cold and decamped to the Inn for the soup. It is a harsh damp cold and water running down the north wall. Not good for a recent refurbishment. The speakers however kept our attention away from the cold, firstly Alison told the group about the Company’s journey on the hydro road.
This was followed by a really interesting talk by Gordon on the history and language of fuel in Applecross. Peat and birch being a main source, interesting that the gaelic for fuel and birch is the same, connadh. Above Gordon on the wall is one of the air source cassette units.
Mick and Duncan from Highlandeco told us about the principles of hydro. As the Hill was closed it meant that Chris Cook was the last speaker of the day (and Scotland score a try!!!!) and it was a complex and really well thought out talk.
Confirms all the feelings about how things are so wrong in these islands, short termism rules,asset stripping, cashing in all seem to be given prominence rather than a long range strategy that is good both locally and nationally. Great slide from Chris showing how Denmark increased its GDP by 78% since 1980, kept it’s energy output the same and lowered its carbon output.
Another interesting fact coming from Mick, the obligation of Germany for them to take green energy on to the grid. Here we have Ofgen and SSE trying their hardest to put things in the way for us to raise an income for our community. Shareholders are far more important in this country than environment and communities. The reported alleged comment by Cameron, “we have to drop this green crap”. Another fact was the comparison from Wulf,in Germany they have far more local energy and local democracy and when they put up a turbine or photo voltaic it is via local revenue streams. Inspiring conversations about Radical Independence and the Common Weal over the last couple of days also trying hard to understand fully Chris’ prepaid ideas. Fully aware what is happening in the City is completely unsustainable and that is from a city financier. Interesting aside was about Howdens of Glasgow, at the time leading the world in wind turbine technology and the finance from the City pulled. The Danes buy it and are now leading the world with Vesta and with a six million population. Chris could not resist the analogy. (Scotland has just won a game of rugby). A special mention again to all who organised and ran fast over the last week to organise and run this special event, all the sponsors and also to say that this was done without much finance from outside agencies. Oh and it has been raining here for three days.
A quick note to finish this post, as it is Sunday morning, and after a shift at the Inn, a visit to Clachan last night, and a read of some emails this morning, it is full on for this week. The students are here for five weeks and there is a need to help them as much as possible to get the best from them for the community, also CBS are coming to discuss broadband and there is a social media course on Monday/Tuesday coming up There is no respite and that is before I have to go fishing to catch some prawns. Last night I met a girl from Stornoway who works as a tourist guide for four months in the Antarctic, now that’s “cool”. Yesterday morning, the walk with Dougal and Co going to the shop round the long way, listening to Easter Island by the Treacherous Orchestra, was a way to have a moment to think and take a little time out to wonder what an amazing place I live in, the people who live here and the events, get togethers, stories, the history of the place is so special it overwhelms. A phone call this morning about a little task turns into a ten minute conversation about second sight and Applecross in the 70s.
Talking of Dougal, came down yesterday morning and got round to doing a few things at the desk.
Not taking notice of what was going on but when I turned round and there he was not looking too distressed with what he was up to. Another dog’s bed bites the dust. This one had arrived about three weeks ago.