District news – Week 44, 2019

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Jura

A £1 million refurbishment has begun on Jura’s electricity network. The ‘essential’ work is being carried out by the Scottish and Southern Electricity Network (SSEN) which hopes to finish the work by late November.

Back-up generators will maintain power supplies while work is being done, including on Islay which is part of Jura’s network.

Upgrades to the 60-year-old circuit are part of a larger, multi-million-pound programme that will cover all the islands.

Ross Fenton, head of South Caledonia Region at the SSEN, said: ‘We are committed to keeping disruption to a minimum and we’d like to thank our customers for their patience as our engineers complete these essentials works as quickly as possible.’

Western Isles

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar welcomes the continued commitment from Ofgem to leaving open the possibility of a 600mw link.

Although Ofgem has stated that it is unable to approve the link at this stage, the route to securing such a link has been left open.

It is the perceived risk of consumers paying for an under-utilised link that has prevented Ofgem giving the go-ahead for the 600mw cable.

The proposal from SSEN for a 600mw transmission link was based on the two largest planned projects, Stornoway and Uisenis Wind Farms, securing subsidies in the recent auction (Contracts for Difference).

Only the Uisenis project was successful. However, if the Stornoway Wind Farm was shown to be commercially viable, giving more certainty to consumers that the project would proceed, then the 600mw link could go ahead.

Comhairle leader Roddie Mackay said: ‘Whilst developments have not taken place as we would have wished there is still a way ahead for the 600mw cable which we believe is the best option for the renewables industry in the Western Isles. We will continue to engage with developers, SSEN, Ofgem and the UK and Scottish Governments to bring that about.’

Appin

The October Appin SWI meeting welcomed  welcomed Peter Darling from Oban Hospice’s Dove Centre.

Peter took the group on the journey of the Dove Centre from the early days in 1998 right through to the present day in a ‘friendly and informative way’.

He stressed that the Dove Centre  belongs to everybody, stating: ‘Where you’re always welcome to drop in,’ and added: ‘Every penny raised locally is spent locally, supporting people and families.’

The evening ended with tea,cake and chat.

Loch Earn
Loch Earn bid team with Ceri White plus Crieff Hydro owners Stephen and Fiona Leckie. NO_T44_LochEarn01
Loch Earn bid team with Ceri White plus Crieff Hydro owners Stephen and Fiona Leckie. NO_T44_LochEarn01

Have you ‘herd’ about the two new additions to Loch Earn?

Two cow shaped benches recently ‘mooved’ to the area following an auction to raise money for Scottish Charity Air Ambulance.

They will become part of the BLISS trail, which boasts ‘eye-catching’ art along the route.

The ‘cowches’ were part of an 11-part trail in Creiff, which took place from July 1 until September 6, before being auctioned off for charity.

Having collaborated with Loch Earn residents and community groups to fund a collective bid sum in advance, BLISS trail innovators Loch Earn Tourism Information (LETi) were prepared on arrival at the auction dinner held in Crieff Hydro’s Melville Hall.

After failing to win MacGregor by June McEwan (fittingly won by Crieff Highland Gathering), the LETi Loch Earn bid team persevered to win not one but two cowches on budget.

In total, the colourful cows helped raise almost £25,000 for the air ambulance.

Dunoon

Local charities and community groups in Argyll and Bute are set to benefit from a free funding workshop held by People’s Postcode Lottery and Brendan O’Hara MP.

The half-day workshop will take place from 10am until noon on Friday November 1 at the Queen’s Hall, 9 Argyll Street, Dunoon, Argyll, PA23 7HH.

The workshop will look at three charitable, grant-giving trusts funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery – People’s Postcode Trust, Postcode Community Trust and Postcode Local Trust.

These trusts fund a range of projects which promote human rights, combat discrimination and poverty, improve community health and wellbeing, tackle isolation, support arts and physical recreation and increase access to outdoor and green space and much more.

Argyll
Inverewe Garden. Photograph: J Fenton

The Argyll Members’ Group of the National Trust for Scotland recently hosted an excellent talk in Craignish Hall by Jeremy Fenton on Inverewe Garden and its surroundings.

Inverewe is the world famous garden in Wester Ross created by Osgood Mackenzie in the 1800s. Osgood chose a site on Loch Ewe overlooking the village of Poolewe to build Inverewe House, the surrounds of which consisted of bare moorland. Osgood planted a shelter belt, and once the trees had grown tall enough he started on the garden which, after his death, was expanded by his daughter Mairi Sawyer.

She gifted the garden to the National Trust for Scotland in 1952. It is a woodland garden renowned in particular for its rhododendron collection, and is now a popular stop on the route of the North Coast 500.

The talk was particularly pertinent because the Members Group is planning a visit to Inverewe in June next year.

The group is open to all members of the National Trust for Scotland and holds talks on the second Saturday of the month during winter and spring.

Anyone who is interested in joining the Argyll group should contact the chairman James Fenton on 01852 300545.

Stornoway
Elspeth Robertson congratulates Angela Louch.
Elspeth Robertson congratulates Angela Louch.

A dedicated student with a professional approach to her work has been named as the University of the Highlands and Islands further education student of the year. Angela Louch, 43, from Stornoway completed a hairdressing Level 5 National Certificate at Lews Castle College UHI.

Angela was commended for being a positive ambassador for her course and her college. She helped to organise a range of events during her studies and was credited with presenting a professional image at every occasion she attended. She was also praised for her commitment in the face of challenging personal circumstances.

Angela’s course leader, Elspeth Robertson, nominated her for the award. She explains: ‘Angela is a single mother to a pre-school daughter and has various health issues, but she always does what is asked of her and has never complained or taken additional time off. She has been in hospital on a few occasions, but has come into college the next day so she doesn’t disappoint clients.’