Two pillars of the local economy came into focus today. Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Hebrides News reports, has approved a 25-year lease for the site of the proposed salmon processing plant at Arnish. This could generate 100 jobs, a veritable bonanza of employment by Western Isles standards. When putting the link through a URL shortener, it made me smile because the title came out as:
Arnish Lighthouse caledonia lease.
What has been annoying me over the last couple of weeks is the unseemly squabble over the site of the St Kilda centre. There are three contenders: Mangurstadh (Lewis), Leverburgh (Harris) and Cleitreabhal (North Uist). A consultancy firm has conducted a survey of the three bids, and Mangurstadh came out on top, as I reported a few days ago. The Harris and North Uist bidders are now calling on Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to reject that advice when its tourism committee meets in the next couple of days.Yes, let's carry on fighting like ferrets in a sack. At the end of the day, there are quite a few places inside AND outside the Western Isles where the St Kilda Centre could be located. I recently read a piece by a man from Ness, who argued that his area in North Lewis had the strongest cultural link to the St Kildans of old: they still go hunting for birds, to name but one argument. How about Glasgow, from where the steamer used to depart? How about Lochaline in Morvern, where the St Kildans landed after they were evacuated in 1930?
However, each of the three bidders has a lot to lose by not getting the Centre, so this fight will carry on to the bitter end.