The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

Another find day awheel. Cycled out on my normal little circuit to Pitscottie and back via Cupar. At Knock Hill, I found we had once more been invaded by the English, they had set up camp there.

“What’s that I hear, is that someone wheesling on the Sabbath?”

On the Pairc Peninsula, you will not find a B&B that will accept guests over the Sabbath, and not because everyone is a member of the Free Kirk but happy to adhere to the rule. For me, the worst thing that could have happened in Scotland was the Sunday opening. I use to look forward to my weekend’s off and if we did have to go in on a Sunday (for an emergency) you were paid double time. (so my conspiracy theory is that it was all a Tory trick to stop paying us double time).

Climbing out of Pitscottie the wind was now on my back and I happily clicked up a couple of gears. At the top it was all the way up through the gears and onto the big ring for home, singing along to Tina – Rivers Deep and Mountains High, Mario Lanza eat your heart out.

All this pedalling has knocked spots off my spare tyre, I will have to buy some braces to hold my breeks up, ho-hum.

Did you see Tina at the 50th-anniversary concert from Arnhem, what a survivor that girl is? It is well documented the life of hell she endured with Ike Turner. But what is less know was that she suffered a stroke and had a kidney transplant.

What was she then in her 60s, yet there she was bouncing around on a stage for two hours singing her heart out. And the antics on that gantry that went out over the audience, the catwalk out to the end could not have been more than a meter wide but there she was dancing back and forth, along it in high heels, no hand rails or safety net, I don’t know what she was on, but can I have some? Had it been the UK the Health and Safety man would have had a field day, and tried to close her down, good luck with that, did you see her audience, singing along to every song, he would have been hung drawn and quartered if he had tried.

At the moment I am reading Riddoch – on the Outer Hebrides. It is a journey up the chain of islands known as the Outer Hebrides talking to people that you could never cox into a TV or radio studio if their life depended on it. She is taking her life into her hands asking why…… On fishing, with some of the richest fishing seas in the world, the Outer Hebrides has no fishing fleet or proper harbours – Why? On language, the Gaelic language in the Outer Hebrides is where it was in Wales 40 years ago – Why? It is a fascinating book, for all the answers come from the people who live there, and their answers will often not be what you would expect to hear. It is written of course in Lesley’s own inevitable way, tongue in cheek – or sometimes just pure cheek.

“With a gargantuan cycle ahead, I am absolutely appalled at the offer of a lift across the Uig by Kenny Mackay. ‘How could you think I’d give up a three-hour cycle for a lift….will the bike fit in the back?”

I can not get enough of her work.

Some amazing facts came from this book, the one that blows me away was the wind revolution at Eishken.

“Using a cautionary example of development further north, a local trust bargained with Oppenheim for a share of ownership – not just the usual one per cent income from the turbines he owned. After pondering the prospect of grinding local opposition, the landowner agreed and raised the total number of turbines from 100 to 133 t give ownership of thirty-three to the Muaithabhal Trust (named after a local mountain).

That gives an eye-watering projected income of £10 million a year for the communities of Kinloch, Pairc and ‘Loch Seaforth’ villages of North Harris………….. Are you sure you have not got the decimal point wrong?

Nope’

He went on to tell Lesley

“Even after the council takes its 30 per cent for the wider community we’ll still have about £7 million a year. We want to build a causeway across Loch Erisort and tidal energy turbines to take forty minutes of the round trip to Stornoway. That would encourage more people to work in Stornoway to live on Pairc. We’ll build a state of the art, community-owned old folks’ home, so elderly people don’t need to leave the area to get care as they do now. We’ll support existing businesses, and pay off loans for students who come home and start up new enterprises.

It’s as well I’m not driving – by now I’d be off the road, ‘this is as near perfect as any community project I’ve ever come across.

Tell me there’s a catch’.

‘There’s a catch. it’s not going to happen.

What blew my mind, was this was just one small scheme in the Outer Hebrides. The potential for Scotland is well mind-blowing. We are one of the sixth richest nations in the world, with the potential to be the first or second in the world. Begging the question, Why is no one spelling it out to the Scottish people? (To wee, too poor, too stupid to run our own affairs, aye right) Followed by what is the SNP lead government at Holyrood waiting for, foreign companies and private enterprise to come in and steal it all from us?  

I listened to a Labour Baroness (I think she was Baroness Fox) on the Alex Salmond Show a couple of weeks ago. The good lady said that Labour is finished at Westminster, wit? If Labour is finished at Westminster, what is Labour in Scotland thinking about, are they simply going to go down with the sinking ship, or become a political force in Scotland once more by supporting independence?

Stay safe.

2 thoughts on “Is Scotland Too Poor, Too Wee, or are we just Too Stupid?

  1. Margaret Lear says:

    Lesley is always spot on I find. Have you seen the Iceland/Norway/Faeries films she’s done? Worth watching. Yep Scottish Labour can’t see what’s staring them in the face. Courage, mon ami!

    Like

  2. Yes, I did go to all of the showings, I clicked on to her in the run-up to independence of 2013, she did a number of talks then, and I now listen to her podcast. keep safe.

    Like

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