It's been a while since I have written a blog post... it has been a very busy few months!
There seems to be a silence being shown towards finding a replacement to the Stromeferry Bypass. The council are not keeping us regularly updated. It is not clear if we are any closer to getting a bypass, for the bypass. Last I heard, there were three different options shortlisted: a bridge, a new Glen Udalain road, and a road-on-rail tramway. If the tramway solution is chosen as the preferred option, then that will absolutely be a case of money over anything else, including the lives of the people who use it. You might think that 'peoples lives are at risk' is a bit over the top, but who can predict when the rock face will collapse next?
The UK and Scottish Government in particular seem to lack interest or support to help the Council fast forward these plans. I am constantly hearing the 'trunk road' excuse being thrown around (because the Bypass is not a trunk road, it is the responsibility of the local authority). Putting off and trying to delegate the problem is just not acceptable. Even forgetting the rockfall risk, the road is narrow with several blind corners and is no longer fit for purpose for the amount of traffic using it.
Despite the weather, the Highland Games were a success. It is fantastic that all the volunteers are willing to give up their time and bring the community together. Lochcarron has a reputation (and official title) as being "The Friendly Games" and this is all thanks to the hard work put in by the volunteers.
The creation of a speed limit through Kishorn has been brought to the attention of the community and it seems that there is a desire to have a 40mph limit introduced through the main village. I believe that the community council are currently investigating this further so watch this space. I am grateful to already have the verbal support of local residents and business owners and once we know which direction we have to head in, we can start this process. I have noticed though, in doing some internet research, that in England and Wales there is actually a Government website which enables you to request speed limit changes and this is then brought immediately to the attention of the Government/local council. This service seems to be non-existent in Scotland and the changing of a speed limit seems to be more complex.
Over the past few months, we have seen a rare seabed destroyed at Loch Carron and people were up in arms about it. Now I don't agree with scallop dredging. But there has been a massive failing in the protection of this reef. If this reef is as important as people say it is, and people already knew it was there, why has an exclusion zone not already been placed around it? Why has it only now been given official protection status, when it has been destroyed? I am however concerned to see that dredging continues in Loch Kishorn and Loch Carron. It really does anger you to see the dredging boats skirting the edge of the new exclusion zone and 'pushing their luck'. At the same time, these boats need to make a living and have to use all the available ground they can get. Instead of turning against the scallop dredging, we need to work with them. At the end of the day, whether the scallop dredger knew the reef was there or not, there has been a massive failing in the protection of this reef. And I have not seen or heard anyone point the finger of blame to the marine protection bodies.
You might be sick of hearing about the North Coast 500 with it's good and bad points. But the debate keeps rumbling on. You see so many arguments on social media pages which usually involve single track roads and the highs and lows of 29,000 more vehicles on them. What people forget is that the route is over 500 miles, covering hundreds of communities and parishes; not one area is the same. Which means that each area will have its own problems. And each problem needs dealt with. One point that gets made a lot is that there is no official NC500 signage and the start/end point and also along the route itself. Coupled with lack of community engagement and consultations, no wonder many local people are fed up with the route and the people behind it. If there had been community engagement before any route was created, we could of worked with the relevant organisations to come up with plans and solutions to prepare the region for this huge influx in tourism. And that hasn't happened which has left us all divided. Will we see a year round tourist season soon..? I can hear the tarmac groaning...
On Saturday the 29th July, the village said goodbye to Viv and Lisa Rollo, who have owned and run the award winning Kishorn Seafood Bar for over 20 years. Before that, the first Kishorn Seafood Bar was opened by Viv in the old fuel station building opposite the shop. When that building was demolished, the current unique premises were built and the Seafood Bar has remained there ever since. The Seafood Bar has very much helped to keep Kishorn on the map, and is known not just in Scotland, the UK or Europe. It is known across the world. And that is thanks to Viv Rollo, and her daughter Lisa. I would like to wish them both the very best for the future and also send my good wishes to the owner, who takes over on the 1st August.
Despite its size, Kishorn has a lot to offer. It has a vast history too (not just about oilrigs!). I found an old postcard of Kishorn... maybe it is time for some new ones! Not only would people be able to visit Kishorn; they would be able to take away a bit of it too.