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

Posts tagged ‘LDO’

Company AGM showing there is Applecrosslife.

The Community Company AGM took place tonight with 45 people attending, with another 8 apologies, at the Community Hall. With all the speculation, rumours, press attention, there was a degree of tension among the directors and LDO. This had been dissipated somewhat by our meeting of the previous evening where we arranged and organised the AGM meeting. We have never claimed to be greatly interested in the area of governance but know it is very important.Looking round the Board of fishermen,chefs,hoteliers child carers,engineers and craftsmen and now a life coach no one has that interest but help was offered from the floor. The evening began with a showing of the CES video Alison and I had seen on the second morning in Perth celebrating 10 of Community Energy Scotland. It showed different communities around Scotland,volunteers all working with the same aims in mind, all wanting to increase the resilience of their communities, all wanting to make them a better place for every one to live in. Judith, as Chair, then presented her report and you did realise what an impressive year we have had, the Community Broadband Scotland has been announced and this coupled with our other funding should ensure decent broadband for the whole of the Applecross peninsula and maybe include other communities nearby. More on that when press embargoes are lifted. This project in itself will open up possibilities for home working that would have been unthinkable with half meg band width. The Filling Station is still a success although the volunteers know the onerous task it is to keep it working. If we had a decent software system it would be so much easier to run. It still functions about 95% of the time but needs rebooting on too many occasions and we will never know how many sales we miss out on when the system crashes and we are not told about it. We have not had it signed over yet as we have not accepted that it is fit for purpose. Gilbarco are still working on a solution and this will be a relief when supplied. Climate Challenge Fund has been used successfully over the year mainly to progress the Hydro scheme to the lease signing and planning stage. The Company is now working on applications which hope to reinstate The Coal Shed Pier with Highland Birchwoods and Prince’s Countryside Trust for funding for a support worker to look after the elderly. The LDO report followed and the fact that it lasted over 45 minutes showed how much has been achieved and also how much has to be done so this community can survive healthily into the future. Similar problems are shared among all the communities we are getting to know,problems of housing, income generation, declining school roles and everything I have mentioned before and will do again. The talk was also very innovative in that all the problems have a solution,they must have. Things like our rubbish grid means we will find ways of using the electricity locally through storage or usage. Hydrogen storage for domestic heating and/or transport. Funding will be sought for the little ground that may be available to us at Toscaig Pier and the Surgery for units and/or housing in keeping with needs in both areas. Growing and producing quality Applecross branded products must be a way to strengthen this community and there was chat about how to engage with the younger people’s needs. New rules concerning food waste means that in vessel composting needs to be looked at very seriously in rural parts and that is an area we are planning on a community level. The meeting ended with a question and answer session and was surprisingly short but as so much information was put out, there was much to digest. The only myth that was brought up was the 100 houses the Company were going to build and this was despite our LDO telling us how difficult it was through out all the rural areas concerning the provision of accommodation, how difficult it is to build one. Only two community housing projects are being built in the CAM area, Helmsdale and Iona. So hopefully the fact we were not planning 100 houses in the first place and the problems of building them has put that one to bed for a while but I make no excuse for wanting more people to live here. Would n’t it be nice to be able to pick a five-a-side football team or a netball team and travel to other schools to play.I am old enough to remember an full football team coming over by boat to play Kyle in a friendly. Now our footballers from Camusterrach have to go to Kyleakin to play their football. The LDO pointed out that a doctor had dropped out of the last round of recruiting interview because she did not know how small our primary school was and how difficult it was going to be to find decent accommodation. Does not matter how young or old you are that should ring very loud warning bells.

So it was off to the Inn for a coffee and chat about the meeting and it was very positive. It is never about winning and losing ,there is enough of that going on in the Middle East with horrible consequences and without demeaning any of the horror over there I have felt pretty bad over the past few weeks about some of the reactions here locally. I would be a fool not to have learnt a huge lot more about this community over the last 7 weeks and I think I have. I have managed to keep my views and backed them with,what I think are decent enough arguments, and been reasonable and respectful even to those who have approached me. It is now a time for people to reflect over the winter months what they want for THEIR community. Their was a reflective view from the north coast last night at the Inn concerning the recent petitions and signing etc and how the first one was turned down flat, the status quo one, and how the next one had to be reworded in such a way that the community as a whole could have signed it. As this was in reaction to the LAS campaign, that must mean to me that there is change in the air. People’s evolutionary thoughts about their own community do not go away even if campaign’s come and go and I think we need campaigns like we have just had to concentrate people’s minds and so we do not just fade away as a community. One spokesperson on the CES video said just that. I take heart from the reaction recently in that this community is alive and well and looking to the future for their old and young folk. One of the conversations at the Inn concerned Finbar in that he would no longer need to come for his pint of guiness as he would be able to have that at home and be able to be on skype with his new broadband connection as he had his pint via laptop. Dancing with the girls may prove a problem later in the evening though.

To finish when we got home an email was waiting for us from a young member of the community which did not need any comment but made us smile and think it is all worth it.

“I just wanted to say that was a very interesting meeting,so many exciting possibilites……There is no good reason why Applecross cannot be a thriving community. Especially when there are so many intelligent,practical and forward/sideways thinking people here.” As Meg Ryan said “Yes, yes, yes” Probably a few more yeses but you know what I mean.

Struggle to find the Applecross photo of the day but realised it was the leaf and the picture of the sycamore tree to show the colour and vibrancy of the community despite it being autumn going into winter. We have a future and it is ours.

Local Development Officers,Deep Peace and Waxwings.

Two parter. Have to stop and watch the rugby soon so this will not be finished until after the shift at the Inn this evening. Watching the pre match warm up to see if I can spot my youngest red-headed son playing the pipes on the pitch before the game starts and then watch the game through spread fingers. Have to say I really enjoyed last weeks game against the All Blacks. Expecting a big defeat but instead saw Scotland score three tries enjoyed a great game of class rugby. So the fire is on, the washing done and drying in front of it,lunch made and eaten Dougal and family walked and fed with only some book work to do before the end of the day which can be classed as work. Must get into this twitter lark. It does seem to be good craic. As I do not usually lose it but also have a sense of humour, warped maybe but it is there, it could be good for a bit of a wind up for those who tend to take themselves a tiny bit too seriously. So it will be a busy couple of days. Yesterday Alison and I went to Inverness to attend a two-day gathering at the Drumossie Hotel held by HIE for directors and local development officers. I suppose I was being a political activist but it felt good and we chatted all day about the problems in fragile communities and went to presentations from other communities and heard about their successes and failures, which is just as important. No one accepts what you say without you having to argue and justify your views and it is really good for the brain cells these gatherings. More directors should go to these meetings as they constantly broaden your mind. Although there is a natural tendency at these get togethers of the opinion that the communities themselves are the ones that should be having a say in the running of the community you still have to argue your case well as you are often presented with the what if point of view. The editorial in the WHFP this week pointed out the geographic control that Wester Ross suffers under but I honestly believe that the Community Company has done some amazing work in the last couple of years. The reason I say that is when I go out and see the reactions from other people about what we are doing I see that we are looked at with a positive envy. Seems there was a short article in the Times about the situation here and seemed fairly uncontroversial, by that I mean no one living in the schoolhouse was in it. Saturday at Drumossie involved the problem rural areas have with housing and there seemed to be many and is earmarked as a problem in many of the draft plans so far submitted. Many of the plans have increases in current populations as an objective.

But in the middle of all this I left to go across town to say goodbye to yet another friend. After seeing the beautiful photo of Jenny on the back of the order of service,reading

Deep peace of the running wave to you

Deep peace of the flowing air to you

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you

Deep peace of the shining stars to you

Deep peace of the infinite peace to you

This from Dominion of Dreams under a Dark Star, hearing the lovely description of Jenny as “a pattern of Light”, giving Mike a hug there is nothing more to say but reflect that it has not been a year of joy for many people I know. Kishorn shop was always a quiet and peaceful place to stop at on the way home.

Back to the hotel to learn more and talk more, not forgetting the meal in the evening where it turns out that I may have found a relative from Lewis sitting across from me. Her dad came from Arrina on the north coast and was a Macbeath as was my granny from Fearnmor alongside many connections to the situation back home. We will be moving on now and I think a few people are a little weary of all the attention and want to get back to living. Home late and left Alison to stay for the next day’s seminars. I’ll be asking who John and Christine Macbeath are the next time I see the man from Camusterrach.

Busy couple of shifts at the Inn both last night and all day today although it had quietened off by 3.30pm this afternoon there were customers waiting for tables. The staff levels were pretty sparse due to the concert in Edinburgh and it was left to the Boss and I to man the pumps. good craic as usual and too busy to watch the clock, a good problem in november. And lots of positive conversations with residents about the Company work and people planning to go to the AGM to support the work we are doing. Although we will never stop the rumour mill going we may be able to scorch one or two of them, but they do make life more interesting for some.

Birds every where just now. We have been inundated with waxwings and they are chomping their way through the rowan berries of which there are plenty. Took these photos at the Church at the top of Camusterrach this morning and as I was leaving the house there were about 100 flying back and fro to the trees in the garden and to the south. Including the tree below the wires there were another 150+ around this area. Seems a bad season further east and it has been an unusual year for such high numbers here.

And at the Inn as I was heading to the store for a lemon for the bar I was just too late for a great photo opp but managed a couple that were ok of four swans heading down the bay towards their favourite spot on Milton loch.

The competition has reached 75 with Iraq arriving last night.

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