Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Fish and centres

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.


  1. Looks like new neighbours up there AL.....when do we think work will commence as Lighthouse Caledonia seem to be doing VERY well right now..........RJG

  2. I feel I should point out that there are not three ferrets in this sack. Here in Uig we can see that the process was fair, and carried out exactly as was set out in the original document (which anyone who calms down long enough to actually read it will see) and obviously we're happy with the decision, so we're not squabbling with anyone.

  3. Point taken, Asgerd - but the two other contenders are taking the fight to you, unfortunately. The tone of the paragraph on the St Kilda Centre issue is to demonstrate the silliness of this row, as perpetrated by the supporters of the Leverburgh and Cleitreabhal sites. As I already mentioned in a previous posting, I am quite happy for Mangurstadh to get this centre.

  4. No, they're not taking the fight to us. They're complaining to the council/working group/tourism group/NTS/MP, not to us. You're falling into the same trap as most of the media, assuming that because there's some shouting going, there's an argument. This is entirely one-sided (though that one side has two halves).

  5. Once more, point taken. Will await final outcome of this saga.

  6. A St Kilda Centre, what a fantastic idea NOT to place it on St Kilda so many more can visit than can get out to the Islands. I was out to St Kilda in 2008 fantastic place and a very memorable experience.

    The centre should not be anywhere on Lewis unless it is to be open on a Sunday (yes I did say Sunday) the centre is much too important to shut down one day per week due to the (not so free) church. If the council have to have the centre closed on the Sabbath then it should be built on North Uist.