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Updated on the first Thursday of the month

December 2016

‘Clueless’ education bosses bleed support
Support for the education authority in Tongue and Farr probably reached a new low last week when a Highland Council official emailed a document to parents outlining an unwelcome reorganisation of their children’s schooling that could end up in a court of law.

Graeme at large
by Graeme Mackay
"Deck the halls with boughs of holly" — Christmas is fast approaching and for some of us it is a stressful time deciding what to buy people, who to buy for and how much to spend. The truth of the matter is that most of us would be happy with a visit, a card or a phone call but regardless it is the time of year to think of others and appreciate those who mean a lot to us.

by Kevin Crowe
Scotland’s favourite book.
Recently, the BBC held a poll to discover what was Scotland's favourite book. In October, the broadcaster devoted a TV programme to looking at the top ten. Without a doubt, the list demonstrates a diversity of genres and styles, mixing classics with contemporary work.

Some other reports and features from this month’s paper

‘Crofting is no collective endeavour and never was’
Crofting convenor cleared of misconduct as Upper Coll papers passed to Police Scotland

A crofter from the heights of Assynt has expressed sympathy for the predicament of Colin Kennedy, the convenor of the Crofting Commission, who is facing calls for his resignation from all and sundry, including politicians and crofters’ leaders (Am Bratach, November 3, 2016).

Gaelic weekend report
From the ages of 15 to 80-plus they came from Campbeltown, Aberdeen, Inverness and Balchladich; thirty in all to enjoy some quality teaching at all levels and some fine hospitality at Glencanisp.

History file
by Malcolm Bangor-Jones
In 1845 a special correspondent of The Times reported on the condition of the poor in the Highlands.
Proceeding along the north coast of Sutherland he came across a “nest of cottages or huts” called Sangobeg. The people had resisted the attempt of James Anderson at Rispond to clear them but apparently had no means of fishing. The correspondent claimed that the “condition of the people here is just one remove from absolute starvation”.

November 2016

MP supports wind farm at Altnaharra
Local MP Paul Monaghan has given the thumbs up to Creag Riabhach wind farm on Altnaharra Estate.
The long awaited decision by the Scottish Government to go ahead was warmly welcomed by the developers, councillors, community councils and others over a wide area, perhaps reflecting the widespread community benefit envisaged in the planning application which even included free electricity to local residents.

Postie’s post
by Paul Blackman
Before I got the Skerray posting job I did some holiday cover in Bettyhill. I remember my first day setting off with “John the Post”, notebook in hand, up Strathnaver to Kinbrace, to meet the early morning train with all the newspapers.

History file
by Malcolm Bangor-Jones
The proposal by Captain Jespersen to establish a whaling station at Weaver’s Bay on Loch Laxford became a source of public debate. In November 1949 the Duke of Sutherland again raised concerns about the financial backing.

Some other reports and features from this month’s paper

Tongue and Skerray crofts sale not soon says factor Voy
But Portgower crofts likely go to local trust
The Sutherland Estate has no plans to sell off its Tongue and Skerray crofte to tenants and is unlikely to do so during the lifetime of the present Countess of Sutherland..

Crofter commissioners not at war says embattled convener Kennedy
Colin Kennedy points finger at civil servant as source of internal strife
The turf war engulfing the Crofting Commission since April has been compared to the 2016 US presidential election campaign in its ferocity and bitterness. In the commission’s case, it is mainly levelled at the 56-year-old elected convener of the Inverness-based statutory regulator of crofting. (Download advice from Colin Kennedy and Catriona MacLean of the Crofting Commission