15th to 22nd October 2017
I’m a community advocate based in Lochaber and active in the community land movement. Helping to build confident communities is what I’ve been striving to do over the past 20 plus years, though my earlier careers were in civil engineering (steelwork and roads) and I retired 10 years ago as Lochaber Area Manager for Highland Council, a more corporate role, during a period when the Council was more decentralised.
A few years ago I was chair of Scottish Rural Action, the body that set up our first Rural Parliament, which is still going strong. At the moment I’m chairing the East Lochaber and Laggan Community Trust, the body that last year bid for the land within the former Alcan Estate – we’re still in discussion with the new owner to examine possibilities. Apart from that I chair the West Highland Museum and the West Highland College UHI, which has an operating area extending from Kinlochleven to Ullapool, including Ardnamurchan and Skye, where I lived for a few years.
I’m also active with those campaigning for a new Belford Hospital and seeking improvements to the A82, which affects logistics and strangles development in much of the H&I Voices area.
Interests such as involvement in the justice system I’ll set aside for this week but mountains will likely figure. With the country being in such a state of flux I’ll be surprised if political comment as affects the Highlands & Islands don’t arise.
But my main reason in seeking to cover the H&I Voices account this particular week is the National Mòd which will be running in Lochaber. I felt it could be interesting to give folk a bit of an insight. I’ll be busy stewarding for part of the time but my main responsibility is within Lochaber District Gaelic Choir (Còisir Ghàidhlig Sgìre Loch Abar) when we compete again in the Margrat Duncan competition on Friday and perform elsewhere during the week. Some colleagues will be competing solo and in duets.
I’ll be interested in the individual competitions too, though my solo days are long behind. I reached the Gold Medal final four times, so I understand the pressures, being runner-up in Govan in 1990 – which now seems a very long time ago!