The weather hasn’t improved any since my last news, which meant that the sprat pump didn’t get any further use, and was finally removed on 24th January. On the 13th and 14th January there were big tides, which, along with the storm surge, led to both the lifeboat and the passenger access pontoon being above the height of the pier. Thankfully there was no damage done, but it made for some pretty impressive photos. Unfortunately, because they were taken in the dark, they won’t reproduce well in Westword, but you can see some of them on our Facebook page.
We’ve been using this quieter period to catch up on some maintenance, especially around the Marina, but we are also hoping to do some work, including replacing ladders, in the Outer Breakwater – if the weather calms down enough! We have also received the report from Resource Efficient Scotland with recommendations for how we can reduce our energy consumption. As I indicated before, the most visible aspect of this will be changing the lights around the Harbour to LEDs, which has been calculated to save 35,000kWh of energy and 9 tonnes of CO2 annually.
I’ve been mentioning that this is the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020, and there are various events going on throughout Scotland throughout the year. We are hoping to host an event on the 27th June, in partnership with the Road to the Isles Marketing Group; RNMDSF and the RNLI. This will be a great community gala day, with various additional elements to really celebrate our Coasts and Waters. More details will be available in the run up to the day, but in the meantime, please mark the date in your diaries, and if anyone has any suggestions of what they would like to see incorporated, or would be willing to help with anything either in the run-up or on the day, then please get in touch.
We have also received information from the Highland and Moray FLAG (fisheries local action group) who are looking for participants who are involved in the fishing industry in the Highlands and Moray, and who would be interested in visiting the Jammerbugt FLAG and the Guild of Thorupstrand Coastal Fishermen in Northern Denmark. The fishing community in Thorupstrand, in northern Jutland, is one of the few examples of small-scale fishing still surviving in Denmark. The area has faced similar industry challenges to Highland and Moray in terms of lack of young fishermen coming into the industry, decommissioning impact, difficulties accessing quota, and changing markets. Through an innovative project and co-operative working, the Fishermen’s Guild and the Jammerbugt FLAG have taken steps to protect the industry, including attracting young people into the industry, community owned quota, sustainable gear adaptations, boat building, and their own seafood branding initiatives. The visit would be fully funded for successful applicants, and you can find more information, and a short questionnaire to complete if you are interested at http://www.highlandmorayflag.co.uk/
We had our first Board Meeting of the year in mid-January, and the next one is scheduled for mid-March. As with every year, there will be Board vacancies, which will be advertised immediately after the March Board meeting. We know that it is quite a tight turnaround for applications each year, so I’m happy to have an informal discussion with anyone who thinks that they might be interested in applying even before the positions are advertised.
Finally, most of you will know that our Harbour Master had a big birthday on Wednesday 29th January. We celebrated with home-made Prosecco and Strawberry cheesecake kindly made by Grace. Happy Birthday Pimmy!