Last week I visited the amazing recreation of a World War 1 battlefield at Leckmelm near Ullapool. Built as part of a transition project for the Primary 7 pupils moving onto secondary education, the community assisted the local History teacher to create this very time limited display. Situated next to Loch Broom, British and German trenches at Arras had been authentically replicated and rows of crosses bearing the names of the men of Lochbroom who never returned home stood under the shadow of the towering mountains. Although just a tiny number of the 140000 Scottish soldiers who lost their lives in the war to endRead More →

Four years ago, our summer holiday comprised of a week camping at Loch Lomond and travelling into Glasgow to attend events at the Commonwealth Games. There was a fantastic atmosphere everywhere and it was a privilege to see the athletes compete. That the subsequent games have just finished in Australia’s Gold Coast is proof that time really does seem to pass quicker the older you get! Scotland’s medal haul totalled 44 consisting of 9 Gold, 13 Silver and 22 Bronze – a remarkable achievement. From Duncan Scott’s outstanding collection of 6 medals to the heartbreaking end of Callum Hawkin’s marathon, there were many memorable momentsRead More →

I’ve not long returned from a few days in Athens with my daughter where we enjoyed some glorious weather compared to our usual Scottish temperatures yet started the final day in a hailstorm as the Beast from the East struck even there! Torrential rain and a thunderstorm then followed; the Parthenon illuminated by lightning was an eerie sight and you could almost imagine the fury of the Greek gods as the Acropolis seemed to be a magnet for the phenomenon. Something I couldn’t fail to notice was armed police whether it be the tourism police or traffic officers to the van loads of riot policeRead More →

In the week that it was reported that a customer received an email response from Marks and Spencer to a complaint about Scotch Whisky being branded as British, advising her that Scotland was now part of England, more and more instances surface of the unconscious view held by many south of the border that Scotland exists only as a dependency to its larger neighbour. After writing to voice her displeasure that Whisky produced in Scotland and therefore protected in law as being Scotch, was not afforded Scotland as its country of origin but was instead labelled as being British; the matter was further compounded byRead More →

In September 2013 I travelled to Barcelona for a long weekend. Staying in the Hotel Continental on Las Ramblas, the very place that Orwell penned Homage to Catalonia, I hardly slept instead sitting on the balcony for most of the night watching everything that went on below me. The speed at which the street traders switched from selling sunglasses to umbrellas was fascinating as was where they stashed their wares and the “International Street Dancers” quickly drew large crowds yet sidled away unnoticed when the first look out spotted a policeman. The weekend before Independence Day, Placa de Catalunya had stalls similar to our ownRead More →

My two elder children received their first mobile phones last week in preparation for starting high school and although a means to an end for my son, it’s been hard to separate my daughter from hers whilst the novelty is fresh; I apologise to the few family members whose numbers she has for the bombardment of text messages they have been receiving! As well as the expected texting, phoning and selfies that have ensued, I have also been surprised by the amount of interest that she has been taking in the news when on the internet and I’ve frequently had breaking news headlines relayed toRead More →

It is the end of another school year and for my eldest child, the end of primary school as he looks forward to starting at the big school after the holidays. Having spent his time in P7 in the brand new Noss Primary in Wick and the wonderful learning environment that if offered, he will now be the first full S1 in the newly opened Wick High with all the opportunities that this community campus has available including the adjacent public library and swimming pool. Neither school has been without its problems during construction and settling in with many more no doubt to come butRead More →

My last piece touched upon the way that people interact with politicians on social media and the last few weeks have proved no exception. NHS Highland took the difficult and considered decision to change the previously consultant led maternity unit at Caithness General Hospital to a midwife led community maternity unit on safety grounds due to tragic incidents in the past. A pressure group, Caithness Health Action Team, was set up locally to fight what they saw as a downgrading of local services and several protests have been held. Several months on, this pressure group now agree with the report which stated that the statusRead More →

I try really hard not to watch Question Time on BBC1. Perhaps it is because I find David Dimbleby an ineffectual Chair, perhaps it is because I can guarantee Scotland will be mentioned with sneers and condescension or maybe it is because the whole format is just tired, jaded and run its course. A long, long time ago when there was still a degree of separation from politicians and the public, it was a respected political discussion show and the panel were accorded a level of dignity and respect due simply to their career choice. Nowadays things are, quite rightly, very different in that ourRead More →

Keith Brown MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work was in Invergordon last week where he was one of the signatories of the £315m Inverness City Region Deal along with Lord Dunlop from the Scottish Office and Margaret Davidson, Leader of the Highland Council which is run by the minority administration of the nonsensically named “Independent Group”.  Lauded as investment to significantly enhance and improve the lives of all Highland residents when the proposal was first mooted hence its original name, the City and Region Deal, in a time of financial restraint, many Highland causes and groups welcomed potential investment into theirRead More →