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October 2018 Issue
Contents of the online version:
All photos are copyright either of the individual photographers or West Word.
MALLAIG FOOTBALL CLUB - LEAGUE CHAMPIONS!
Congratulations to Mallaig Football Club, the Skye and Lochalsh League Champions 2018. Mallaig proved triumphant in their first season in the League, and as Player Manager Jamie MacGregor said, "we're delighted to make a wee bit of history in our first year. Although we kept it quiet it's exactly what we set out to do and I'm delighted for everyone associated with the club that we have achieved it. I would like to thank everyone who has backed the team over this year. Without the funding and sponsorship it wouldn't have been possible."
Well, after five months of football, 72 matches and 497 goals, the 2018 Skye and Lochalsh Football League Championship was won by Mallaig FC who defeated last season's champions, Kyleakin FC, in a dramatic league playoff decider at Broadford on Saturday 22nd September. Mallaig won the match by two goals to one, the winning goal scored in injury time via talisman Andy Cunningham and although Kyleakin players claimed offside, the goal stood and Mallaig FC were the proud champions at the very first time of asking.
From the very first minute when Mallaig were awarded a penalty (converted by Cunningham) to the last when the same player scored the winner the outcome was in doubt, as both teams created enough chances to win the match.
Mallaig, via the early penalty, lead 1-0 at half time, but five minutes in to the second period Kyleakin equalised when a Norman Gillies shot eluded keeper Johnston. Both teams went for the winner with the Mallaig side seeming to get stronger as the match entered its final phase. This proved to be the case with the injury time winning goal leading to jubilant scenes of celebration for the team and travelling support when the referee blew the final whistle.
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Congratulations to Mallaig FC - what a great result, especially as it's their first season in the league!
Hope you'll find plenty of interest in this edition - there's lots of photos, from the Eco Project, local schools, Mallaig Harbour's birthday celebrations, and so on!
Once again my thanks go to my helpers for sticking address and postage labels on to the subscription envelopes and to Morag and Ewen for assisting with the printing this month. Kirsty Bloom
MALLAIG POOL NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT FOR AN EXCITING NEW PROJECT
There have been plans for some time to carry out a major redevelopment of Mallaig Pool and Leisure Centre. The board are now moving forward with this exciting project. New plans have been draw up and there have been initial discussions with funders.
The Centre is currently leased from Highland Council but, in order to secure access to some of the funding, the Centre must own the building and hence buy it from Highland Council. Initial discussions about this with the Council have been positive.
Clearly, there are numerous steps to be taken to bring this project to fruition. One aspect that is essential to securing funding is that the Board must demonstrate clear community support for the project. There will be public exhibitions and other forms of engagement but meantime we would ask please that members of the community confirm their support in principle for this project by either signing a consent form at the reception desk at the Centre or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also encourage friends and family to support this very worthwhile cause. Thanking you in anticipation.
Communities Board recommends steps to improve CalMac services
At the recent meeting of the CalMac Community Board in Mallaig, disappointment and frustration was reported from all parts of the network at the continuing delays in the delivery of the overdue vessels under construction.
Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) and Transport Scotland both made presentations on how they function within the present system to plan and prioritise vessel and port improvements and renewals.
This was followed by a detailed presentation from the Communities Boards Operational sub group set up to identify areas of improvement that would support delivery of a better service. This comprehensive piece of work recommends a number of action points including the following:
- Better communication of incidents
- Review of the dry docking program and schedule
- Improvements to ticketing and booking system to provide more relative data
- Timetable discussions to be ongoing not just twice a year
- Rationalisation of design of vessels and ports to maximise use of assets
- Move to a new Ferries plan process that will include a five, ten and 15 year build program backed by financial commitment.
The Board has also set up a communications sub group to cooperate with the company to further improve the communication between the company and communities. This group will also work on broadband provision issues.
Chairman of the Board, Angus Campbell said: 'We also committed to work with CalMac on school transport pricing, facilities at remote ports and continue to improve local content and employment.
'The board recognises that all parties need to work together to bring the necessary improvements and are committed to inform and positively contribute to that process but stress the need for action now.'
Well it would seem that autumn has truly made its appearance now. The leaves are all rapidly beginning to turn, there has been an abundance of fruits such as plums, apples, and brambles, not to mention it has been a fantastic year for mushrooms and fungi. About a month ago there were many beautiful specimens to be seen, including boletes, Cortinarius evernius, Scarletina Bolete, Dyer's Mazegill fungus, Round leafed sundews, False Saffron Milkcaps, Yellow Stagshorns, Amanita, Orange Peel Fungus, fly agarics and many more (cheers Ian Dow for informing us all of the names!) And that's without mentioning the bountiful supply of chanterelles and field mushrooms etc. which are edible. We had the annual Market Garden open day at the start of the month too, with the usual mix of competitions such as best display of vegetables, kids drawings and homemade scones, and despite the drizzly rain and midgies people still turned out. The garden is really prospering now and hopefully will continue to thrive and grow with the help of our green-fingered locals!
The deer rut is close to beginning - a bit on the late side this year, presumably due to weather and something which is being seen in other places aside from here too, but a few stags have begun to be heard roaring in the hills so it's not far off!
The Western Isles' new boat Larven is finally running which is good (18 minutes Mallaig to Inverie - it's been timed!)
We also had a few kid's birthdays this month, with Maja turning seven, Innes turning six and Rossa turning five. They are growing up so fast … Happy Birthday guys!
Freya is also busy working and fundraising for her volunteer trip to India in January where she will spend eight months working with young children through Project Trust. So far she has reached 74% of her total amount - well done!
Think that's all for now folks!
ISLE OF MUCK
Marine kelp dredging seems to be a popular subject on social media at the moment. Mechanical harvesting of seaweed in shallow water by huge machines operated by a large company. Muck is a designated area and at present this exploitation would take place with no benefit to the adjacent community. The existing lobster fishery would be damaged and Muck has the last lobster fisherman in the Small Isles. Perhaps tomorrow the marine rights round Muck and other islands could be transferred to the community and we could licence dredging or any other type of fishing. But at the moment NO.
Back on land the big event of the month has been the arrival of Helen Love our new teacher from Edinburgh who immediately set about painting the schoolroom. She has six pupils and Phoebe who looks after the under fives has three. There are many more in the pipeline. Before Mrs Love joined us for three weeks we were without a teacher but the popular Mr Eugene Norman filled the gap. Especially so when he chose chocolate from Ghana onwards as the special project.
Also on the island has been Denis Rixson our new councillor. Parking in Mallaig was the main item on the agenda. Most islanders have bought spaces on the pier but for visitors parking near the ferry is very important even if they have to pay.
For the bigger picture I have taken to the rails, and today it is ScotRail. Parking would be less of a problem if more visitors came by rail. They would be encouraged if any effort had been made in recent years to speed up the trains with more request stops and shorter dwell times at the stations. Most passengers are now tourists and the problem for them are the trees. They fall onto the track in storms and they blot out the view. Especially bad along Loch Long and Loch Lomond but also in places on the MallaIg section. Generally only one side of the track need be cleared. After all the West Highland is one of the world's great railway journeys.
Next month; The Jacobite, a West Highland success story.
ISLE OF CANNA
Lamb sales on the 6th September were very satisfactory and the average per head was up £1.70 on last year. This was due to having more to sell and being mostly Cheviot and Cheviot cross lambs.
Our renewable energy project, CREEL, is progressing well with the turbines here ready to go up, solar panels erected, battery and inverter sheds up and looking very tidy.
A brand new 60 Kv generator has been installed by Dieselec and this along with an older 48Kv will be used as emergency backup for the system. Let's hope we won't need it, but best to have the belt and braces approach.
The island has quietened down after a very busy summer, possibly the busiest yet.
CafeCanna has closed for the season, but once again has proven to be a great asset for Canna. Our community shop has also been busy and even struggled to keep up with demand at times. Thanks to everyone involved in the shop for all the hard, unseen work that goes in to keeping this amazing wee place going.
Criomagan (Crumbs) from Canna House
Although the season is coming to an end, Canna is still a busy wee place and Canna House and Garden in particular are a hive of activity. The first phase of the renovation works has begun in earnest, beginning with preparation work for the replacement of the West side windows. Conservators were on site for two weeks packing collections away and ensuring that all rooms in the House are secure and out of potential harm's way.
Canna House shrouded in Scaffolding and the Library shrouded in protective coverings
The island has been exceptionally busy with cruise ships visiting and this has meant that Fiona, the archivist, has been very busy with illustrated talks on island, about the Campbells of Canna and their lifetime's work. This included four talks during the day that the National Trust for Scotland's final cruise called into Canna. Each session also included a chance for the visitors to participate in a traditional waulking.
This was followed by Fiona then doing a mad dash by RIB out to the cruise ship itself, the Saga Pearl 11 where she sailed with the ship to Greenock overnight and delivered an hour long talk/concert to the ship's passengers. A captive audience of about 300 attended the talk which included Fiona singing many of the songs from the Canna Collections.
On board the Saga Pearl 11 cruise ship
ISLE OF RUM
A relatively quiet month.
Work is progressing at the new house site; there was a brief flurry of activity over some bloodstone fragments unearthed there and an archaeologist was called on to check it out; lots of small pieces were found but nothing of significance so work continues. It's an exciting time, as the first of the housing units should be arriving in November; the initial houses are for Marine Harvest's staff, which will give them a welcome permanent respite from their temporary cabins on the pier and it will be a bench mark for us all seeing the first new houses built in a long time. Build on the IRCT houses should commence around Easter next year.
The license for the moorings has now been granted and they will be installed any time soon.
The village is awash with stalkers and ghillies - nice to see Ally MacAskill back over to help with one of the larger stalking groups. Nothing changes though, they still all manage to exist on a diet of beer and iron bru, despite getting evening meals cooked by Kim every night - it's a hard life… Deer rut action has started up at Kilmory taking Ali and Sean out of the village for the duration and also bringing Fiona Guinness back over for her annual trip to help with the research project. The rut attracts people wanting to film and currently Jim Manthorpe, former Knoydart ranger, is over filming for another wildlife programme.
Ian Blackford MP rescheduled his visit and arrived this week, in spite of the still bad weather. It was a productive visit bringing up current and on-going issues such as nursery provision and will there be one for young Dougal; Kinloch Castle; sea plastic and the kelp dredging proposals, and for the third year running - the empty dilapidated schoolhouse and Highland Council's monumental non-effort to do anything about it. Tiresome to keep going on about it perhaps, but we live in hope that an empty house in a remote highland community with a housing need could actually be used for something productive. We also talked to Ian about IRCT's partnership work with Marine Harvest, which has proved productive and beneficial for the community.
Significant birthday alert to Davies Goddard who is now 18 !!! And bye bye to Nell who has herself installed at Glasgow University.
Lastly, I saw a Little Egret in the river other day, which was nice. I'm no bird watcher but it made a pleasant change.
ISLE OF EIGG
I'm a volunteer on the island, and a freelance writer. I offered to write a guest article instead of Camille for this month. She is off to the second Smart Forum in Athens to represent The European Small Islands Federation.
Getting to know Eigg has been a wonderful experience. I have been volunteering on a croft on the northern end since June - my first experience of life in the Hebrides. Every month has had a different character and feeling.
Memories and photos of the Muck Games earlier in the summer continue to make me smile. The Games really showed how communities on the Small Isles are open and friendly, and willing to get stuck in - even stuck in the mud on a hill race! Thank you to those that organised the event, it was a very special day for everyone involved.
Late summer has been filled with shoals of mackerel, beautiful skies and brisk northerly winds. The apple trees in the orchard are heavy with fruit. We've eaten a lot of delicious crumbles made with local apples and blackberries. Tomatoes in the polytunnel just keep giving. Learning how to preserve food - making chutneys and pickles - seems to be an important preparation for winter months.
The cattle were taken to market on the ferry in early September. A procession of cattle being walked from the north to the south of the island, with a backdrop of the Sgurr, is a sight to behold.
Community wise, birthday celebrations have kept the children and adults of Eigg preoccupied on costume design! It was Tadghan's 7th birthday at the end of August and the local children enjoyed the 'How to Tame your Dragon' Viking and Dragons party. Then Maggie turned 9 - bringing the whole island together in the Laig Byre dressed as various jungle animals. Maggie made a very beautiful bird of paradise!
The artist in residence at the Bothy project, Julia Hyslop, hosted a talk about her work building low cost Segal housing in inner city Newcastle in early September. It was really interesting to share stories with her, and islanders enjoyed showing her their own building projects.
As for Eigg building projects, plans for updating An Laimhrig, the cafe and shop, are in motion. The big forestry project is also almost underway - roads are being widened to allow for heavy machinery and the community consultation on what is happening went down very well. The tree nursery polytunnel now has its doors on, ready for the winter months.
Back to croft life - our focus on harvesting is slowly shifting to winter preparations. The weather is definitely turning and the bracken is turning golden. Purple heather is a carpet on the mountainsides.
Every season is as beautiful as the last and I'm looking forward to seeing Autumn turn into Winter on Eigg this year. Thanks to the community for being welcoming and supportive during the busy summer season!
Mallaig Pool's Traigh Triathlon
With an absolutely dreadful weather outlook and a number of folk even questioning if the Traighathlon should go ahead, we were all beginning to fear the worst, but thankfully, at the last minute the stormy weather saw fit to darken somebody else's door and the clouds parted, the wind eased and Traighathlon 2018 was on!
Over 100 participants braved the adverse weather conditions at Traigh Beach! It was no mean feat, but Traighathletes are not your average kind of person. Thank you to each and every one of you. You are fabulous!
Speaking of fabulous, as with all of our events, we rely heavily on a huge team of volunteers to make the day run smoothly and we were absolutely wowed by the level of support we received. There's too many of you to name individually, but to all helpers, volunteers and marshals, we couldn't do it without you!
Hannah Melville, female winner of the Traigh Standard, with the Lanyon trophy.
A special thanks must go to Joan, Edith and Gavin, and the Friends of Mallaig Pool who work so hard to fundraise and support all our events. Massive thanks also to Peter at BEAR Scotland for all your help and advice on the routes, to Eilidh at Traigh Golf Course for turfing your poor sheep out of their field and allowing us to use their beautiful space and the Club marquee for the weekend. To Catherine McDonell for the inspired folk/country warmup! Thanks also to Fraser and Spook at No Fuss Events for providing the timing and for lending us various bits and pieces to help with the day. To Ruth Reavell, thank you for being chief first-aider extraordinaire! Sarah at Arisaig House, thanks a million for the sensational seafood risotto, it was exactly what was needed post-race and to Iain Stewart for donating fish. Special thanks to local fisherman, Ian Mackinnon, who braved the choppy seas at the last minute to bring us three big bags of mussels for the risotto and to Arthur Campbell for capturing the day with his trusty camera. Ardnamurchan Distillery, your warming whisky went down a treat. A huge shout-out to Neil and Beth, who donated the fabulous trophies in memory of their wonderful parents, Ross and Frankie Campbell.
We're massively grateful to the 'Friends of Mallaig Leisure Centre' and the West Highland Hotel Mallaig for the huge amount of cakes that were donated to refuel participants and volunteers. Also to Arisaig Hotel and West Highland Hotel Mallaig for offering 10% off food bills for hungry participants and to Kevin at Co-op Food and Jane at SPAR for donating water and bananas. You are all AWESOME!!
Adam Alexander, winner of the Traigh Standard/male category being awarded the Ross and Frankie Campbell Memorial Trophy by their children, Neil and Beth.
Race results and photography can be found on the Mallaig Pool & Leisure Centre website where you can also sign up for next year's Traighathlon, which will be going ahead on Saturday 21st September 2019.
And remember, all profits from the Triathlon and many of our other events go directly towards the refurbishment of Mallaig Pool. We thank you for all your support.
Update on the Road to the Isles Facilities Group (SCIO) Public toilet projects
As we have now submitted planning applications for the two toilet projects we thought we should keep people updated on progress.
We propose to demolish the current toilet block and replace it with three Kazuba composting toilets. The main reason for this was that the cost of installing a sewage processing plant or even a septic tank was too much and we didn't want to discharge to the sensitive dune area if possible. Annual SEPA costs would also have made refurbishing the existing toilets unviable.
The Kazubas are designed for off grid installation and so will have no power or water supplies. They work by evaporating all liquids through a chimney and should require limited emptying. They have an average usage of 25 users per day so capacity with three will be 75; remember this is an average. These should hopefully work well at Traigh as there is plenty of wind to drive the fan and the chimneys will be south facing, maximising sunlight which helps digestion. They are also designed for disabled users as well. For more information see www.waterlesstoilets.co.uk/kazuba/
Mallaig - West Bay Car Park
We have had to scale back the design of the Mallaig toilets. Initially there was to be two showers, eight cubicles and a room for laundry, however this design was well over the build budget. The new design is based on the initial drawings but smaller. They have been designed by a specialist public toilet design and management company and incorporate some modern ideas. The most obvious thing is that there are no male and female toilets; they are all unisex. This is supposed to maximise the available cubicles for all at peak times rather than cubicles being under-used in the male side. It's probably best to think of them as five individual toilets rather than a room with five cubicles divided by the typical flimsy walls. There will also be the usual men's urinal (which will be separate, not like in France) and one shower. Using a separate door there will be a modern disabled toilet. On the outside there will be one or two large sinks for people to wash dishes etc. - a need identified by the current hall toilet manager - and a covered seating area at the front. Next to the toilet block will be a motorhome service area which will include sewage, grey water and fresh water facilities.
There are a couple of things regarding the external design which have yet to be finalised. The first is the cladding material, which might be wood or recycled plastic cladding. Also, the windows may be changed to a port hole design rather than those on the current plans. There will be solar panels and energy and water saving devices which will reduce the environmental impact as well as keeping running costs to a minimum.
Road to the Isles Facilities Group (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation)
Finally, we are in the process of setting up a charitable organisation to manage the applications, build and operation of the projects. This organisation has members from Mallaig, Morar and Arisaig Community Councils on the board. Whilst it is the early stages, this organisation has the potential to expand in future to manage other projects should other sources of funding be identified.
The timing for all this was very tight which has meant that we have had to sometimes take the simplest routes. One example of this is the location of the Mallaig block, which is quite far from the main village, although close to where most of the users would park. We simply didn't have enough time before meeting the funding deadlines to explore other options. It is likely that this will be the last chance to apply for European money and so we had to just go for it even it we would have liked to have thought about things more.
We will hear in the next month whether the two funding applications have been successful. Unfortunately, there are no other funding sources as yet identified, so should either application be rejected, the projects would likely end there. Fingers crossed though.
On and Off the Rails
ScotRail Sunday timetable changes after October 28th
I was going to headline this as "ScotRail Sunday timetable withdrawal of service" because - we are, yet again, facing five months of only one arrival and departure of trains on a Sunday. Should we be grateful? I do not think so. It is annoying to say the least that what we are left with after Sunday October 28th until (I presume) March 2019 is a 16:05 departure from Mallaig and a 23:35 arrival into Mallaig. It is shocking that another year has gone by with no backing down on this annual cull of service.
It is not because of a lack of stock. The 23:35 that comes into Mallaig on a Saturday night could easily depart at 10:10 on a Sunday, with a Mallaig crew, arriving at Fort William at 11:32 and returning to Mallaig at say 12 noon, arriving a in Mallaig at 13:53 ending a crew shift. Then the second crew would as normal depart at 16:05, linking with the overnight Serco Sleeper or travel on to Glasgow. The tickets can be purchased on the trains or by computer or booking office in advance, or smart card, as the booking office is not open on a Sunday but that is not a problem. This signalling centre at Banavie and Fort William junction box are open 24/7 so no problem there.
Even the continuation of this one train each winter would allow visitors, locals and returning Uni students to depart Mallaig on a Sunday morning and connect with buses onwards to Inverness etc., and visitors would use the 12 noon to travel from Fort William to eat lunch in Mallaig (Steam Inn, Chlachain and West Highland Hotel), shop and browse, walk around the bay etc. before leaving on the 16:05. There is usually one afternoon Sunday sailing to Skye to connect to also.
With all the accolades that our railway line gets we should not be deprived every year from November to March on a Sunday in this way - and while I am 'at it' how about returning a catering service ANY TIME on the line this year? The majority of trains have had no catering service from, or to, Fort William and Mallaig; what is that all about? It has even been slipped out of the timetable. Come on ScotRail - we are here, we do want a railway fit for purpose all year round - with catering, please. I rest my case - will anyone ever listen?
As covered in September's West Word the season will come to an end for this year on Friday, October 26th, but will return in 2019 - dates not yet available. As with ScotRail it has been a busy year. There are so many articles written about this iconic service, which continues to bring a huge amount of income into Mallaig. Hopefully the winter will see many coach party bookings for them allowing drivers to enjoy their rest day - usually travelling with their guests - or running one coach of passengers up by road and swapping with guests that have travelled on The Jacobite. We look forward to welcoming WCR Jacobite service back in 2019.
Barrel planters at Mallaig railway station before the gales and salt laden winds arrived!
Most baskets have now been taken down until next year, and replanting is taking place.
More 4 - TV crew filming currently
It is no secret locally that the railway line between Mallaig and Fort William is currently being filmed again. For the past two weeks - and still continuing - Flint TV are recording for one program featuring our inclusion into one of the top five "World's Most Beautiful Railway" accolade awards. Flint TV have been commissioned to film all five (nice job, boys and girls) and the series will screen on More 4 TV in 2019. The crew are very keen to show us in our 'best light' and are currently leaping on and off ScotRail trains, Jacobite trains, and railway stations. Although I'm not too sure that me disappearing away from Mallaig railway station - having checked out on a wet, windy day of work gardening at the station - pushing a cart with a bin liner of weeds and a dead hanging basket, with wellies and a bad hair day - which was filmed and 'miked up', will be allowed to be shown. I also got halfway home with the wireless microphone still working inside my waterproofs!! I hope I didn't talk as I was pushing my cart home!! Sorry crew if I did!!
They were also filming off the station at the Mallaig and Morar Community Centre on Friday September 28th before the AGM of the West Highland Community Rail Partnership (CRP) was held.
The 'Iron Road Collective' - a group of young performing artists based in the Scottish Highlands - part funded by ScotRail, the National Lottery Fund and WHCRP - were performing Brief Encounters on the West Highland Line before the AGM. The stage play was a homage to the famous film Brief Encounter and celebrates our local railway stations. It was written and directed by Paul Hernes Barnes (son of John and Hege Barnes at Glenfinnan Station) who also acted in it.
The TV crew were rushing around like ants as it was taking place which added to the created atmosphere of a station tearoom (using the cafe hatch). The start of the play was delayed by 45 minutes - as was the lunchtime train that conveyed guests from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Fort William. The train was delayed by defective points before Fort William, and a defective cab radio on the front Class 156 (honestly - for real).
All the visitors were grateful - so were the film crew who were on the incoming train! They ran like Usain Bolt along the road (path of course!) to film the departing Jacobite before running back to the community centre to film the play.
The play grabbed everyone's attention - and Deirdre Roberts was grabbed from the audience twice to shine an inspection torch on the actors! It was improvised, scripted and funny. The final round of applause (plus an extra one for the film crew) said it all!! The AGM was then quickly held to allow most people to depart on 16:05 train.
ACoRP Awards 2018
The national awards ceremony of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships is being held in Glasgow in the first week of October. The ceremony is part of a programme of events held annually over three days, bringing together railway stakeholders, industry suppliers, railway staff and community volunteers from all over the UK. This is the first year that the event has been held in Scotland.
It is a rail industry event of high standard. Earlier in the year nominations were requested for 12 award categories, with 15 judges from all across the rail industry presiding over whittling down the entries submitted to a shortlist of six in each of the categories. The winners are announced at a dinner during the week.
The West Highland Community Rail Partnership is shortlisted in the category Best Community Engagement Project for Brief Encounters on the West Highland Line. Attending on the night will be Hege Hernes Barnes and Paul Hernes Barnes. We wish them luck and will report the decision next month. No pressure Paul!
Defibrillator installed at Mallaig railway station, and competition for books and DVDs.
See you on the train,
World War One in Arisaig
Work started on repairs to the path to the monument in September and will be completed in time for November 11th Remembrance Day.
There has been some debate about who designed the Arisaig war memorial and during September we managed to pin it down to George Jack who also designed the clubroom at the Astley Hall and the house, Faire na Scuir. Jack was apprenticed to Phillip Webb, the main architect associated with William Morris. His papers were left by his daughters to the archive at the William Morris Gallery in North London and include a copy of the invoice sent to Arthur Nicholson and three quotes for the work by different building firms. The cross itself was made by D & A Davidson of Inverness at a total cost of £136 16s 2d plus £50 for the base and £20 for the design work. The base is a different stone to the cross and would probably have been produced by local masons not yet identified.
We continue to work on identifying the people named in the Record of Service and would be happy to hear from anyone with details of their families. Please contact Susan Carstairs (450327), Elizabeth MacDonald (450604) or Alison Stewart at the Land Sea and Islands Centre (450771 or 450321).
News from Mallaig Habour
Over 100 people attended the 50th birthday celebrations of the Mallaig Harbour Authority held in the Mallaig & Morar Community Centre on Friday 14th September. The celebration took the form of a photographic exhibition, augmented by various other memorabilia spanning the 50 year life of the Mallaig Harbour Authority, a buffet served up by the West Highland Hotel, and a look forward with plans/drawings culled from the Harbour's Masterplan illustrating the way ahead for the next 10 - 20 years.
The Exhibition was an opportunity to look back at some of the major milestones in the life of the Authority - formed by an Act of Parliament on 24th July 1968 - but also to look ahead with the future blueprint now in place via the recently published Masterplan.
In paying tribute to people and events of the past Chairman Charlie King stated in his welcoming address that over the years the Authority has always been forward looking, doing its best not only for the harbour but also for the village, its people and environs. This forward thinking is set to continue, he stated, with future plans and aspirations including new Outer Breakwater, new ferry terminal, deep water berthing, land reclamation, Local College, enlarged yachting marina, and the soon to commence passenger pontoon access, all highlighted courtesy of the Harbour Masterplan. 'There's some exciting times and challenges ahead for the Authority', concluded Mr King.
Instrumental in establishing the Mallaig Harbour Authority in those early days was George Gordon Jackson, the first Secretary, and William John Manson, Vice-Chairman of the Authority up until his retiral in 1982 - one wonders what they would have made of it all 50 years on.
The Authority is grateful and wishes to thank all who contributed to the success of the Exhibition.
Mr Andy Race (above, left) is pictured receiving his farewell gift from Harbour Chairman Mr Charlie King. Mr Race, who retired from the Board in March 2018 after 28 years of service to the Authority, was warmly thanked for his commitment, input, diligence and contribution to the Authority over the years.
Former Fishing Skipper Mr John McLean (Mallaig) was the winner of the bottle of Mallaig Harbour Water. John came closest to correctly naming the year the pictures in the competition were taken. He got two of the three questions right and was one year out with the third.
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Mallaig Lifeboat Log
11th September 2018 Rescuing Stranded Walker
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard at 18:30 to recover a stranded person and dog from an island off Traigh Golf Course. A woman staying at a local holiday cottage walked out onto the island with her dog and spent some time exploring unaware that the one of the biggest Spring tides of the year was on the flood. The casualty managed to attract the attention of a local family nearby who informed the Police who informed the Coastguard who launched the Lifeboat. On scene at 18:55 in very fresh squally conditions the Lifeboat was able to enter the channel next to the island and launched the Y-Boat in fairly sheltered conditions rather than out in the open. The Casualty and her dog were quickly located and transferred ashore to awaiting Coastguards. With Y-Boat recovered and secured aboard the Lifeboat left the location at 19:15. Lifeboat moored and ready for service at Mallaig, 19:35.
Mallaig and District Canoe Club - looking to the future ...
Kayaking has been one of the fastest growing leisure activities over the past 10 years. Our area is renowned worldwide as one of the best for sea kayaking. Right here, in 1995, a group of locals, keen to try the sport, undertook some coaching at the pool then formed a club for like-minded folk in the area. Over the years members have honed their skills, gaining personal skills awards and coaching qualifications and having a lot of fun. The club grew and the experienced encouraged and helped the inexperienced to enjoy the sport safely.
With the growth of popularity of kayaking and canoeing as a leisure activity, there have been incidents and even fatalities - usually involving people who have not realised the importance of gaining the skills and knowledge required to take on the seas safely - rescue procedures, incident management, tides, tidal streams, weather, navigation, safety equipment, the best clothing to wear etc. etc. To do so requires time and effort, and even money, and is best done by learning from experienced others. Mallaig Canoe Club members have shared their skills with many over the years - both adults and youngsters.
Many of the original members are still around, happily kayaking, but in need of handing over the reins of the club to a younger team, eager to learn and promote safety and enjoyment in this fantastic sport and to take the club forward to wherever it may lead in the future. Initially river kayaking was the main attraction, but as the founder members grew older, the attractions of the sea took over.
The Club could equally encompass enthusiasts in open canoeing, kayak sailing, SUP boarding or other self-powered kayak/canoe activities.
The club, recently, has had three arms:
1. Adult sea tourers
Members who get together and paddle where they will with other members, depending on level of experience. There are organised trips, covered by the club's insurance through our governing body, the Scottish Canoe Association. On these trips it is established that there is a safe ratio of experienced to less experienced paddlers to undertake whatever journey is planned - safety planning is paramount. Members also go on informal paddles with other members. These paddles are often on a lastminute ad-hoc basis. If you have a kayak and occasionally (or frequently) go out on your own, might you like to join other people locally from time to time to paddle? This could be day-time, evenings, week days or weekends. As a club member you could be in contact with other like-minded paddlers and either join or propose an ad-hoc paddle (or skills session or whatever) to suit your schedule. There are three or four people locally currently doing this. If you don't have a kayak or kit, as a club member you can use the club boats and kit for a small donation.
2. Adult coaching
Members gaining skills and knowledge from other, more experienced members/club coaches out on the sea and/or in the pool, or from bought-in coaches, or taking up training opportunities elsewhere, such as Glenmore Lodge.
3. Coaching for juniors of high school age
Delivered by experienced members, club coaches or outside expertise, these sessions offer coaching and fun in the pool in winter and on loch, river or sea in spring, with the possibility of training for qualifications and going on trips.
All this, (apart from the adult touring section, which is made up of paddlers with a little or a lot of experience), is currently under some degree of threat, or at least in need of a change of approach, due to a current shortage of younger and keen individuals wanting/able to put time and effort into promoting and enjoying the sport in a sociable environment rather than in isolation. Sea kayaking is not a sport it is advisable to undertake alone, except for the most highly experienced. A group of three or more is the safest. Consequently, kayaking is a very friendly and sociable sport, where you build close bonds, because your life could depend on the care and expertise of one of your companions. The club is like a family - we know each other well and enjoy the same activities, and occasional challenges, together.
The Junior section of the Club has always been popular and is a great opportunity for youngsters in the area to gain skills, share fun and learn responsibility for self and others - a crucial element of the sport. To help keep this going we need more adults who are keen and willing to be a part of making this section happen and thrive. If you have a child in High School who is keen to take part in the Club sessions, or if your child will be starting High School in the next couple of years and might be interested, would you be willing to be part of a team who helps organise and run events? A personal interest or ability in the sport would be an advantage, but there are other ways you can be involved. As a Club we anticipate working more closely with Mallaig Pool and Leisure in the next few years, to build on what is currently on offer.
The Club is in need of moving into the future. How the club develops is up to its members. Do you want to thrash down rivers, go out on your doorstep when the weather is nice and have a short paddle, explore the amazing coastline and islands, gain skills and learn how to coach and lead others safely? Learn to kayak along with your son/daughter/partner and enjoy quality time together? Thrash about in the pool for an hour at weekly sessions, practising your technique or having a game of water polo (often followed by a sociable refreshment!)? Being a part of the Club makes this easier, safer, and more sociable and fun. The club has an excellent stock of both river and sea boats and equipment suitable for adults and juniors, available to club members.
If you would like to be part of the Mallaig and District Canoe Club of the future, why not come to our AGM at the Astley Hall on Saturday 3rd November at 10.30am and meet us, ask questions or just listen!
Auntie Mary's Creepy Crawly Corner
James sent me this photo and asked what l think it is.
Thanks for this riddle, James. At first l thought 'that's Jelly Ear fungus', then decided I'd better eliminate other possibilities because it's not fitting descriptions found in some books and internet references which all describe it growing on trees or in dying or rotting wood.
In working out what this species is there are various indicators to suggest that it is a fungus not a lichen, such as: it is all brown and most lichens range between grey, blue to green as the algal component photosynthesises; and the texture is not right, for example l don't think it is related to Dog Lichen (which grows amongst grasses) as this plant's texture is smooth not fluffy and 'rough'. Although the books and internet references say that the Jelly Ear fungus tends to grow on Elder or other hardwoods and in damp shady places, Uncle Jim has seen this species growing - as this example - in the open and on grass.
The photo shows the fruiting part of what we think is Jelly Ear Fungus (Auricularia auricula). The scientific name comes from the Latin word for an ear as the individual lobes look like ears.
It resembles jelly hence it looks like it belongs in the group known as the 'jelly' fungi. The fruiting part of a fungus produces spores, not seeds, and appears in the open air so that the spores can be dispersed above ground or on the outside of the plant that the rest of the fungus is growing in. By a process of elimination this looks like Jelly Ear fungus but we'd be happy if someone sees this and knows it as another species - please tell us!
Dr Mary Elliott
Roger Phillips 1981 Mushrooms and other fungi of Great Britain and Europe.
AA 1973 Book of the British Countryside
Several internet sites on Fungi and on Lichens.
BIRDWATCH August 2018 by Stephen MacDonald
Increased wader passage as the month progressed. On the 8th there were at least 29 Black-Tailed Godwits feeding in a field at Traigh farm. They lingered for a few days, but over the next two weeks, there were varying numbers favouring the one particular field.
Small flocks of Sanderling were seen on the shore by Traigh golf course, with ten there on the 8th and eleven seen on the 18th. Groups of Dunlin were also seen at Traigh and Camusdarroch, with 25 at the latter site on the 2nd.
Two Greenshank were on the Morar Estuary from the 13th. Other passage waders included Curlew, Whimbrel, Redshank, Turnstone, Golden and Ringed Plover.
Many more passerines on the move with lots of Meadow Pipits and White Wagtails seen in fields and along the shoreline. Thirty-plus Skylarks were seen on the golf course on the 25th. Migrant Wheatears were seen most days, on the strand line and in coastal fields from Morar to Arisaig. During the last week of the month mixed flocks of Swallows and House Martins were seen at Rhubana, Morar and Arisaig prior to their departure South.
A Dipper was seen in the small burn near Glenacross on several occasions during the month. Tawny Owls were heard at Woodside to Beoraid, Morar and Barn Owls were seen at Rhubana View and heard at Woodside.
Sea Eagles were seen on several occasions in the area.
WORLD WIDE WEST WORD
Thanks to Matt and Hannah Waterston of Lochailort for sending this photo in - taken recently at the Halligeys' wedding in Bergerac, France!
Captured at Colditz Castle! Mr and Mrs C Hannaford are reading their West Word with Lieutenant Airey Neave.
Watch this space for extracts from next month's issue!
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