This job seems to take over your life at times. It's only a part time position but before you know it you're more than doubled your hours. This week saw an awful lot of meetings !
First was an informal meeting over coffee with Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Then another with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and all the other neighbouring Local Development Officers to discuss the way forward after the current 'project' comes to an end.
Then there was also a visit from the Geopark revalidation team as the communities fight for the right to retain the Geopark status. What a wonderful day for them to visit Durness, blue skies and a warm breeze, it was just about perfect. An awful lot of work has gone into the Geopark from the Community Councils of Durness, Kinlochbervie, Scourie, Coigach and Assynt. Hopefully their work will retain our place in the European Geopark Network.
In amongst this there was an awful lot of paperwork to do with a report to write on the internship amongst a raft of other stuff (I wont bore you with the detail).
There was a few bike hires to deal with too. The Bike Hub desperately needs volunteers to help man the place through the peak season, if anyone is keen to help, please get in touch.
Now as the temperature sores I'm heading for Dingwall with a bus load from Durness to watch Ross County v Manchester United XI !!! As an avid United fan it's great to be able to go to Dingwall to see them play rather than the more substantial journey to Old Trafford. It wont be the first team as they are still in Australia on their preseason tour, in wont be the reserves, as they have a full preseason fixture list too, I think it'll mainly be the under 21 side managed by Nicky Butt. But it will be an entertaining afternoon of football and it's bound to be good craich on the bus too. prediction 1-2 to United's young guns !
Cape Wrath Trail
Last week saw another board meeting of the Cape Wrath Trail.
The Cape Wrath Trail is a new company, limited by guarantee and aiming for charitable status.It has been set up through the collaborative work of the Sutherland Partnership, Wester Ross Alliance and the Lochaber Partnership to present a clear and definable route for the Cape Wrath Trail.
There is an interim Board of Directors made up from the 3 areas with 2 from Sutherland (I'm one of those and Graham Wild from KLB is the other), 3 from Wester Ross (which is the largest area the CWT passes through) and 2 from Lochaber.
A lot of work has been done, but there is an awful lot more work to do, we are at the very start of what could prove to be a very worthwhile project.
Have a look at the interim website at www.capewrathtrail.org this features the main details of the initial spinal route. Ultimately we will be undertaking a community consultation process and that will help inform us of the best possible spinal route and all the various spurs/ribs and alternatives that could be listed. The whole idea is to promote and improve the concept of the Cape Wrath Trail into something that will one day complement the West Highland Way and help promote the areas it passes through and help increase tourism along the length of it's route.
Farewell to Niamh O'Driscoll
Back in November I made successful application to 'Adopt an Intern' and we received a funded intern post for 6 months. Out of some 20+ candidates we chose Niamh (pronounced Neev). What a breath of fresh air it was to have some young blood around the place. Niamh has been an absolute star to work with and has even taught us how to write blogs and edit websites. She started work with us back in January and finished here this week, six months done and dusted in the blink of an eye.
With a heavy heart I'd just like to say what a pleasure it was to work with her and wish her all the very best for her new position in the Adventure Capital that is Fort William. Hopefully we'll get to meet up this winter for some skiing or boarding (and avoid the A&E). Best wishes Niamh !
Neil is a director, formally a Local Development Officer for the Durness Development Group.