8 Nov 2008

Time to catch up

Just finishing last minute updates to final report and Skye and Lochalsh Tourism Forum (SLTF) website before I take a long awaited short break with my husband. The Get Together for Tourism event went well, to my great relief, and it seems to have gathered a momentum unseen for many many years in Skye and Lochalsh.

It was all thanks to the vision of Shirley Spear of the world famous Three Chimneys restaurant, whose unstinting belief in the economic benefits of Tourism (with a capital 'T') was the driving force behind the conference.

With the stalwart support of Skye and Lochalsh Tourism Forum members Colin Deans of Conchra House Cottages and Margaret Arscott of Soluis mu Thuath, together they commissioned an event to be proud of!

26 Aug 2008

Light fires in the darkness for Scotland

The Scottish Government cabinet convened in Skye this morning, followed by an audience with a range of representatives and other members of the local community.

Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, opened up the meeting with an overview of the potential benefits of independence in terms of broadcasting, renewables,
tax, enterprise, public finance, innovation and creativity to name but a few.

The First Minister and his five cabinet secretaries answered questions from the 120 strong audience, and then invited further dialogue over lunch. This was no black tie dinner for the chosen few - this was democracy at its best - accessible, accountable and transparent.

No ministers being hussled off high stages and swept away in black limos when the going gets tough. Just a stand about buffet lunch with our elected leaders, asking what solutions we might have to previously insoluble questions. No promises (to be so easily broken), just genuine interest in people and a willingness to listen and learn.

Guess how I'll be voting in a referendum for independence. This isn't about 'tearing' ourselves out of the UK, this is truly about self determination, to stand on our own feet and the chance to make a difference.

Another quote that I like, this time from Charles Handy. "We cannot wait for great visions from great people, for they are in short supply at the end of history. It is up to us to light our own small fires in the darkness".

Scotland can do it - make it happen!

4 Jul 2008

Chance would be a fine thing

It's been a busy time - have finished building the website for my new business Blue Skye, getting things underway for the Skye Fudge season and starting to pull together a bid for our local food group so that we can roll out our producer led website www.tastelocal.co.uk across the Highlands and Islands.

Been a strange year - we had the most amazing sunshine for six whole weeks, but it's been followed by the most (un)amazing rain for the last six weeks. The garden is beautifully green, but overgrown - that's the garden that was going to be in pristine shape due to my new found freedom. Huh - chance would be a fine thing!

9 Jun 2008

Ministerial approval for Skye Fudge!

Richard Lochhead, Scotland's Minister for Food and Rural Affairs, recently undertook a pledge to eat only Scottish food for a week. His diary entry for Monday 26 May 2008 reads:

"Over the weekend, to satisfy my sweet tooth, I dipped into a box of delicious Scottish tablet made by Isle of Skye Fudge Company". Couldn't have hoped for a much better recommendation than that!

Read Richard's full diary here

25 Mar 2008

Blue Skye yonder

It's a chance that you don't get very often - voluntary redundancy - and yet, I didn't think leaving would be quite so difficult. I have enjoyed ten years of working at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the exhilarating 'ups' mostly outweighing the frustrating 'downs'!

I've gained a vast amount of experience that couldn't be had anywhere else. To feel you are making a difference in your own community, and seeing its wider impact across the Highlands and Islands, is just one of the best.

Can't go without sharing my favourite quote from social anthropologist Margaret Mead. "Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world - indeed it is the only thing that ever has". It has driven me through most of my adult life and will continue to do so till I breathe my last!