The first phase contains all the letters and correspondence with public services and the press. You need to be a Friend of the North Highland Way to access this.
Some private sector organisations don’t understand economics and business either. I recently offered to sell Highland Highlife cards for them. I said I would purchase them for £15 instead of the £20 they charge, then sell them for £20 the same as them, so no competition, and the profit would go towards the development of the North Highland Way.
I also approached the Green Tourism scheme and offered to be their agent with a view to making the North Highland Way a “green” project. They just asked me to provide them with a list of businesses across the north coast. I said “no, the idea is that I am your agent, and make money for the North Highland Way.” No luck. What do you expect from an organisation that thinks that the NC500 is a sustainable tourism project!
I also asked the cycle shop in Thurso if I could earn commission on renting out their bikes. They said they weren’t advertising at the moment. I said “its not advertising, it’s commission”. They declined even though it wouldn’t have cost them a thing.
In the past I have approached Dounreay about funding the Way through the Dunnet Head Educational Trust (2003 to 2014) or another community group. David Shearer wanted all the work done before Dounreay would commit a penny. He couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to drive back and forth across the north coast using my car, my fuel and my time for nothing.
One could surmise why the John o Groats Trail can money but we can’t. I think I know the fly in the ointment and it will be rooted out…
We are starting to publish press releases and other correspondence between public services and myself. The state of play is at the moment…
Scottish Government… We have received a letter of support from the Scottish Government, Nicola Sturgeon and Fiona Hyslop, Tourism Minister. If you are a Friend of the North Highland Way, you can receive all documentation directly.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise – the SPSO say Roy Kirk has done nothing wrong in saying that he would set up a meeting, then reneged on the arrangement. Where is the honesty and intregity which all public servants are supposed to have? We have started a petition to disband HIE. As of 30th August, I have a single point of contact within HIE, Eann Sinclair. I am hoping that he can report back to me within one month once he has consulted the stakeholders. I will continue to press Mr. Hammond and Mr. Gove about the funding for public services (excluding SNH) just in case they renege again. However, I have always found Eann Sinclair to be a man of honesty and integrity so do not forsee any difficulties.
The Highland Council – are as helpful as they can be – given their lack of resources. I am waiting for a reply from Stuart Black and Colin Simpson as to whether they will meet with me on 7th September. Still waiting even after the date they said they would reply.
I have received a response from the excellent Access Officer about signage at Durness. My trip to Durness has been postponed due to a family bereavement.
SNH – great as always. They created the Scottish Outdoor Access Code in conjunction with THC
I am also in contact with the Scottish Conservatives, Theresa May, Jamie Stone (Liberal Democrats), the SNP (Jill Rosie, Gail Ross, George Bruce and Nicola Sturgeon). On the morning of 19th August when all other politicians seem to be asleep, I received an email from Fergus Ewing. He will scrutinise this news service and perhaps see what can be done. I received another email from his assistant today (23rd August).
I write reports and research documents, but these are not freely available. I am currently researching the impact of the NC500 on the roads in the Highlands. I have now discovered that the NC500 is to be extended to Forsinard. This is not sustainable tourism, and the Highland Council’s budget for road maintenance will rise again. I have asked that SNH request an Environmental Impact Assessment for the whole route.
An extract from the report from the Highland Council.
“The majority of the deterioration we have experienced on the NC500 route is damage to the edge of the road and the verge which is being caused by vehicles overrunning the road edge (two vehicles trying to pass on a narrow road). This type of damage is not measured by the annual machine survey so unfortunately we are unable to give you a definitive figure which represents the “state of the road .”
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