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March 6, 2012

Some very gratifying news is that the hostel has been shortlisted for the ‘Goldstar Award’ for ‘Green’ hostels. Iona Hostel has had a Green Tourism ‘Gold’ Award for eight years now and is one of the three highest scoring hostels in the UK ! Judging will take place during May. Whatever the outcome, I’m delighted that the hostel has been recognised in this way.

Some days you are forcibly reminded that you live on a wee and fairly remote island off Scotland. Yesterday I enjoyed a glorious drive home from Perthshire. Early spring light, mild air, wall to wall blue skies and birdsong. Scotland at its stunning best as I zipped along the quiet, pre-caravan roads.

Today the ferries are disrupted because of gales and as I look out my window I see rain billow and sweep across the front parc in sodden waves. It all goes to prove that there is wet rain and infinately wetter rain. This is the stuff that you inhale, that covers and smears you leaving nothing dry. The sheep look as though they’ve lost the will to live. One is poorly so I’ve put her in the byre to dry out and warm up. She is presently cuddled up quite contentedly in fresh hay.

Tonight was supposed to be a talk in the village hall by a friend, however, the Lochaline to Fishnish boat has broken down and it’s not worth his while trying for the 1600 from Oban as probably the connecting boat to Iona will be cancelled due to the weather. He was also bringing me 400 or so rowan, hazel and birch saplings for planting on the croft, but they are now going to have to be left with friends on Morvern.

With Iona Community Council (of which I’m Convenor) I’m interested in developing a Visitor management Plan for the island. Plans such as this tend to be viewed with initial scepticism, and I doubt if Iona is any different in this respect. Places like this have historically suffered a surfeit of designations and grand ideas imposed from afar, so you have to tread lightly. However, I think it important to get the topic aired and discussed so as to discover if there is anything that could usefully be applied to the island.

We’ve already had Raymond Young of the Iona Community and Historic Scotland give a public talk about ‘Interpretation’ particularly in the contect of these two island organisations, and tonight was supposed to have been Bill Taylor’s shot. Bill is a specialist in tourism and interpretation and has worked extensively in small rural and island communities. He also has experience of working in the islands of Norway -which always leads to a fascinating ‘compare and contrast’ session in the light of how our two country’s do things differently. His talk ‘Communication Iona’s Character’ was going to look at how other islands and rural communities best present themselves to visitors. It’s a tricky and delicate area as it is essential that this self-definition comes from the local folk. (This is an area that the excellent Responsible Travel is involved in globally, -have a look at their website).

I don’t know if Iona needs or will want to pursue such a management plan, but the option to do nothing has to be an informed choice of the community -rather than by default. Also, it’s too easy to discover too late that some other organisation with a particular interest has done the job for you and perhaps not to the communities best interest.

Anyhow, I’ll finish with an action shot of Snuffy staring out to a spume blown sea in her becoming yellow rain-mac…

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Delyse Harrrower permalink
    March 22, 2013 10:43 pm

    I want a Snuffy. Am def going to follow your posts from now on. Lovely!

  2. June 10, 2013 7:45 pm

    I love your blog !!

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