27 Feb 2015

Cheese-Making Course

Want to learn about cheese-making from the professionals?

Kathy Bliss will be teaching a two day course covering all the basics, in Shiel Bridge Hall, Acharacle, on Saturday and Sunday 28 and 29 March. 

The course fee is £295 (the course is eligible for ILA)

If you have any queries, want to find out more about ILA, or would like to book a place, please contact Pat on: pat.glenday.whc@uhi.ac.uk or call 01397 874260.

26 Feb 2015

Sunday Service



The service on Sunday 1st March will be at 2.00pm and will be led by the worship group.

24 Feb 2015

House Managers: Jobs Available

Steading Holiday Cottages is advertising for House Managers, as follows:

2 Self Catering Cottages on the North Coast
Old Kilmory Church (Friday changeover)
Ceol Na Mara (Saturday changeover)
are looking for House Managers to do the changeovers for this season.

If you are interested please contact Steading Holidays on 01972 510 262 or 
info@steadingholidaycottages.co.uk so they can give you the owners' details.

23 Feb 2015

20 Feb 2015

Job Available: Learning Centre Manager

Learning Centre Manager 
based at Kilchoan 

West Highland College UHI is looking for a highly motivated and well-organised Learning Centre Manager, to join a dedicated team working in centres across the area. 

Applicants will oversee, manage, and as necessary, undertake all centre operations, plan and effectively market all curriculum provision in liaison with curriculum teams, whilst working in a customer facing environment. You will also be responsible for the line management of a part-time Learning Centre Facilitator and oversee a broad range of administrative tasks. 

The post holder will be accountable for: 
  • Overseeing the initial induction and on-going support of all Learning Centre users including signposting to other local agencies and services. 
  • Overseeing effective planning, organising and administering of curriculum in the area and taking responsibility for locally marketing all courses in liaison with curriculum and marketing teams.
  • Seeking to develop the local business of the Learning Centre in question, by undertaking market research in liaison with Marketing, maintaining regular contact with employers and representative organisations, as well as local people, and securing additional funding support as appropriate.

Applicants are required to be educated to HNC level or equivalent and hold recent IT qualifications i.e. ECDL Syllabus 4 or an equivalent level. 

Salary rate – FP17 £23,483 per annum (pro rata) 

15 hours per week 

Closing date for applications: Wednesday 11th March 2015 

Interview date: w/c Monday 6th April 2015 

Post ref: WHCLCM 01 

For informal enquiries please contact: Fiona Grant fiona.grant.whc@uhi.ac.uk

For an application pack: either collect from the Fort William campus, download the pack at http://www.whc.uhi.ac.uk/staff/vacancies or email hr.whc@uhi.ac.uk

18 Feb 2015

Sunday Service



The service on Sunday 22nd February will be at 11.00am and will be conducted by Jean Whitton.

17 Feb 2015


The West Ardnamurchan Garden Society Annual General Meeting is on Monday 23rd February 2015 at 7.30 pm in the KCC.

New members very welcome.

Tea, Coffee and Biscuits, plus the start of a small competition.

WACC February minutes

The minutes from our February meeting are available here.

13 Feb 2015

Clare Holohan Visit

There are still have a couple of spaces left for herbal medicine and massage treatments in Kilchoan on Monday 16th February. Contact Clare Holohan 07903 922 781 www.westhighlandherbal.com

12 Feb 2015


Time served professional plasterer, offering great rates and quality work. Based in the Ardnamurchan area. Contact Kevin on 07513 405 276 or 01397 772 156.

11 Feb 2015

Sunday Service



The service on Sunday 15th February will be at 2.00pm and will be conducted by Rev. Fiona Ogg.

6 Feb 2015

Corran Crossing News

Press release from Free Crossing at Corran:

The local campaign to secure the future of the Corran Crossing in Lochaber has called on Highland Council to open themselves up to an independent audit on the current running of the service, which was threatened with the fourth price hike in three years today.

The head of FCC, local community council chairman Tony Boyd welcomed the deferment of a Highland Council decision on price rises, but said that it was obvious that the Council had had no choice but to wait.

Mr Boyd said: “Highland Council have failed the local communities served by the Corran crossing and they realise they and the Scottish Government must now stop prevaricating and hiding behind the smoke screen of State Aid, and engage in a realistic and practical debate on the future of the crossing.

“The future of the Narrows may lie with a vessel, may be a fixed link, may yet be a job-creating renewables-orientated crossing, but what is sure at the moment is that neither local authority nor national government is taking this seriously, nor genuinely looking at the best way forward. Frankly, neither can wait to have the matter off their hands.

“We are so grateful to our local councillors, including Andrew Baxter and Thomas MacLennan, for their untiring campaign in our support. And we are especially grateful today to Cllrs Bill Clark and Brian Murphy, who voted for the deferment, against the administration. But the viability of the communities – families, businesses, individuals – and the livelihoods of the ferry crews themselves deserve better that they are currently getting from either Inverness or Holyrood.

“If the Scottish Government would wake up to the possibilities of rendering the ferry an integral part of the trunk route system it serves, the current service would be safe.”

4 Feb 2015

Video Conferencing - A Correction

In yesterday's post about the Community Council meeting, I stated, "No use has been made of the video-conferencing unit in the Learning Centre even though our ERs are fully trained for it. The satellite broadband costs alone are £5,000pa." This is incorrect, and Pat Glenday, who runs the Kilchoan Learning Centre, has asked that the record be set straight. She writes -

During 2013 a dedicated room was created for the Emergency Responders (ERs) within Kilchoan Learning Centre. The learning centre is part of West Highland College UHI. The ER room has its own independent access, and all the Emergency Responders have their own keys. There is an internal lockable door between the ER room and the Learning Centre itself. The room contains a high quality VC unit, a patient couch, and storage for the ERs' equipment, with a toilet off. Scottish Ambulance Service paid for the construction of the room and all the equipment in it. Since 2013, West Highland College has charged SAS to rent this room. The rent is £5,000 per annum and includes electricity, a landline, cleaning, broadband connection, my services to assist with the maintenance and use of the Video Conferencing unit, and free access to the rest of the Learning Centre whenever it is not needed by students. The SAS VC unit has its own satellite broadband connection, the monthly rental for which is paid by the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), and amounts to some £1,200 per year. This is the standard business tariff (if anyone is interested I think the domestic tariff is about £30 per month). UHI agreed to pay it because, as I'm sure readers are aware, our local broadband, to which the Learning Centre is connected via the BT line, is very limited, and far too slow to support the level of connectivity that I need to get a really clear picture or to run more than one VC at a time. Therefore, when I am running two college VCs concurrently, which is quite often the case, I connect one of the college's VCs to the satellite. The satellite connection has sufficient capacity to support several VCs at any one time. The satellite connection also allows me to keep the Centre running when there is a problem with the UHI network, and vice versa. One day recently, when there was a problem with the SAS VC, I was able to make the connection for the NHS representative who needed it, via the college's own VC.

As was correctly pointed out on the WANI, the ER VC has not yet been used to allow communication between the ERs and a doctor during the treatment of a casualty. However, the ERs do use the room very regularly to charge up and maintain their equipment, replenish supplies, and as a base for training. They have treated some casualties in the room, and patients have been supported there while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. The VC itself has been used by NHS staff on a number of occasions for a variety of reasons: to attend meetings, to take part in training, to talk to a patient who was in hospital in Inverness, and for a family member to take part in an NHS case conference taking place in Aberdeen.

I'm sure the SAS VC could have been used more, and I am happy to assist anybody who does wish to make use of it; but SAS and NHS will first have to decide how they want it to be used and by whom, and make sure their staff know of its existence. People do require a little bit of help to make use of the VC, and in some cases (especially if more than two locations are involved in the VC) an advance booking is required. The VC equipment also needs to be checked regularly, and updated. I think it would be appropriate for the Learning Centre to continue to carry out the maintenance and also to act as the intermediary between local users of the VC and the NHS's VC booking and helpdesk, just as I have already been doing, on an informal basis. I hope that, in the very near future, I will get more information from both NHS and SAS as to how they want to see this project progress and develop.

It is my opinion that the Learning Centre's ER room, and the associated VC and its satellite connection, represent an excellent example of partnership working between two organisations (West Highland College UHI and SAS/NHS) both endeavouring to do their best to provide a service to our remote community at a time of financial stringency.

Church Service



The service on Sunday 8th February will be at 11.00am and will be conducted by Rev. Fiona Ogg.

3 Feb 2015

Community Council Meeting - A Personal View

Despite the bitterly cold night, there was a good turnout for last night's Community Council meeting.

1. Lochaber Transport Advice and Booking Service:
Steve Plimborough explained that the group is a partnership set up to help 'join up' services for those who have difficulty in travelling from remote areas to such things as hospital appointments, lunch clubs and even the shops.  If you need some help, contact LTABS on 01397 701 022 for details.

2. Community Broadband Scotland:
Campbell Cameron attended - Sandra Byrne is moving to another post.  The new broadband due to start working between July and December next year will most benefit those within 3km of Kilchoan's 'green box' - a device not necessarily located at the exchange.  Huge steps have been made by Dave Kime to survey the present provision, but this needs to be completed - all Kilchoan needs surveying - and presented in a way which will have impact with those deploying the £millions available.  Dave and others from Glenborrodale will be meeting with West Ardnamurchan Community Development Company shortly, but participation from outlying communities on the north and west coasts is essential if they want to get connected.

3. Doctors:
Two doctors have been appointed to the Ardnamurchan practice.  Both are on 3-month contracts, one to work 4 days a week, one to work one.  NHS Highland is seeking more doctors.

4. Emergency Responders:
Two people, Jessie Colquhoun and Maggie Hallsworth, are shouldering the bulk of the work.  The Scottish Ambulance Service has deployed a nurse for short periods to give them a break.  A potential recruit to our ERs is being interviewed shortly, but this will only bring us up to three when we need a minimum of six.  The recruit, who has to move into the area, will be looking for a house to rent - can anyone help?
No use has been made of the video-conferencing unit in the Learning Centre even though our ERs are fully trained for it.  The satellite broadband costs alone are £5,000pa.

5. Roads:
We have road subsidence at Ardslignish Brae, Camas nan Geall, and near the Sonachan, the road is in a dreadful condition by the Sanna/Portuairk turn-off in Kilchoan, the contractors who have laid the broadband ducting have wrecked road edges in many places, and winter weather is just making things worse - look out for potholes.  Highland Council say they are doing something about Camas nan Geall.
There is a suggestion that over-night road gritting is to cease.

6. Corran:
Fares are to go up 4% in 2015, 2016 and again in 2017 despite huge drops in fuel costs.

7. Police:
Advice is to lock your cars and houses - a car stolen recently in Lochaline ended up in Yorkshire.  And, yes, they are targeting those who drink and drive.