OK, so normally I just sit and type out whatever has happened during the day. These posts are not in-depth research posts, nor are they necessarily informative. They just cover the highs and lows of life. The wind swept hair and the gale force category four pose.
But this post is a little bit different. It’s something that has occurred, something that affects other crofters, tourists, and hits at the heart of a community. What am I talking about? Buth Bharraigh is a community cooperative run on the Isle of Barra, next to the ferry port which allows local producers and crafters (and a lot of them too) to come together; it runs the tourist information, has WiFi, good turnover, can get coffee, they have had awards, and they have plans for the future. The concept in itself is something many of us within our own communities are envious of. So what’s the problem? They have been told they have to move, away from their hub, away from where feet pass. That’s not all bad, I hear some say. But, distance is important. Location can be critical. Don’t believe me? How many people do you know who don’t need a remote control for their TV? Difference of ten steps can make or break it. Would you like it if your remote control was taken off of you? This may seem a petty way of explaining this but it highlights that location really is key. And the reason given by the council and their responses have been eye brow raising. It’s back to a battle of David and Goliath.
In today’s day and age, people often harper on about intensive farming, avoiding certain products, climate change, etc. Which is great, except, why then buy from a supermarket? Get orders from amazon? We all do it; it can be useful in our busy lives. But are we supporting the individuals? The independent businesses? Those working to invest in their community?
We recently did a Christmas Fayre. The majority of the stalls were women, quite a few had to watch children while running the stall. We don’t always get time to ‘showcase’ our work. Craft fairs can often be at weekends and over lunchtime. Add in for those of us who work the land, we have cattle to care for. Just because the weather is bad doesn’t mean we plonk in front of the TV, we don the waterproofs. And the children come too. Having a hub like this one is so beneficial to those producing. It provides the old fashion marketplace. The same concept to Notonthehighstreet. But this one is on the Barra equivalent of the High Street; it’s next to the ferry port. We can’t just sit back and say, oh well, it was good while they had it. Let’s see what we can do.
It’s at times like this I wish we could blow a bugle and get a call to arms. Individual people are up against The Council. So, want to be a part of a wider community? Shout this from your roof top (ok, not literally). But please, visit http://www.savethebuth.com. Sign the petition. Share this post on your own Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites; the more people see and share, the better. Based half way round the globe and saying how does it affect me? You may go on holiday to Barra, they have the tourist information (the beaches are stunning, why not go?). Do we want to loose the Crofting culture? Want to let just the big firms and farms rule the roost and push over the wee ones?
Now, I’m not looking for a social media warpath. But we can campaign with coffee, cake and chat. Like and follow their Facebook page, share it, tag someone else. And let’s find out what we can do for Save the Buth.
P.S., Nicola Sturgeon and Fergus Ewing: if you could just send me a PM (no, not a Prime Minister, just a Private Message) to arrange a chat with the directors on this to sort this, I would be most grateful. Because, the underdog may not always win, but some battles are worth fighting for. The Scottish Government has been looking at Women in Agriculture. Let’s see the Crofters in that too.
All photos can be found on the Facebook page, Buth Bharraigh.