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Issue 4 - Jamie McGrigor's Highlands

Scotland Magazine Issue 4
September 2002

 

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Jamie McGrigor's Highlands

This issue's Q&A features jamie mcgrigor, member of scottish parliament for the highlands and islands since 1999 and owner of an extensive hill farm for over 25 years

Q: How long have you lived/worked in the area?
A: My parents moved to Argyll when I was six. Although I was educated and worked south of the border for a time, I returned permanently to Argyll 27 years ago where I own a hill sheep and cattle farm.

Q: What are the area’s main attractions, in your opinion?
A: Undoubtedly the magnificent scenery, which can change so dramatically in different climates and around each corner. The range of physical activities, the sense of freedom and the warmth and generosity of the local people.

Q: What is the worst thing about the region?
A: The weather which rolls in from the Atlantic is unpredictable and the midges can sometimes be tiresome.

Q: What would be your ideal day in the region?
A: Being a keen fisherman, a good day’s salmon or trout fishing is my ideal way to spend a day.

Q: Has devolution changed the Highlands and Scotland as a whole in your eyes?
A: Devolution has been beneficial in that local issues have been raised frequently in the Scottish Parliament, but unfortunately not enough attention is being given to the special needs of the region such as road infrastructure.

Q: Who are your Scottish heroes, both historical and contemporary?
A: King Alexander III who in 1263 defeated King Haakon of Norway’s huge fleet at the battle of Largs, thus freeing Scotland from the Viking yoke and promoting a ‘Golden Age’ of peace and prosperity for Scotland. Alexander Fleming who invented penicillin and Allan Stevenson, uncle of the famous author Robert Louis Stevenson who joined the Northern Lighthouse Board from 1843 – 1853 and built several lighthouses including Skerry Vor off Tiree which is 138 feet high.

Q: Is there anywhere you regularly go to eat in the region?
A: There are many excellent restaurants which specialise in cooking local beef, lamb, game, fish and shellfish. I would travel a long way for Scottish lobsters or Oban Bay prawns.

Q: Do you have a favourite bar/pub in the region – if so, which one, where is it and why?
A: An old favourite of mine is the Galley of Lorne Inn at Ardfern in Argyll. Always a good source of local stories and good ‘craic’. The George Hotel in Inveraray always lives up to its excellent
reputation, as do the bar and restaurant in the Isle of Coll Hotel.

Q: Is there any way the Highlands could be improved in your opinion?
A: An improvement to the road infrastructure and a transport policy to integrate bus, train, air and ferry services better than at present.

Q: What is your fondest memory of the Highlands, or best experience in the region?
A: Taking part in hill sheep gatherings. Sitting on a Highland hilltop on a beautiful June morning overlooking Loch Awe, the sounds and scents of nature all around, watching sheep being herded.

Q: Are there any tourist attractions in the Highlands you think really stand out?
A: The Caledonian Canal is unique and the coastline offers fantastic sailing. There are glorious beaches, golf courses, historic castles and early settlements. Every visitor should see the breathtaking view from the Commando Monument near Spean Bridge.