What was the reason for starting Wanlockhead Community Trust?
It all started because a member of our community (Anjo Abeleria) was trying to buy land to build a house and to start and develop a ski club. These aspirations were stymied by the landowners of the two local estates. He then approached other members of our community and together we educated ourselves with the help of the Scottish Gov, Community Land Scotland, and various other bodies on a Community Buy Out.
What would be your one piece of advice to young people in your community?
I hesitate to give advice to young people who are having to deal with a very different world to the one I grew up in. Perhaps in relation to their community, I might suggest they do their own research and check their sources and focus on local empowerment.
How long has Wanlockhead Community Trust been operating for?
WCT was formed after a public meeting produced the necessary support in January 2016
What is your role with Wanlockhead Community Trust?
I am Chair of WCT
What brought you to Wanlockhead?
Well it wasn’t the weather!
As soon as I saw Wanlockhead I knew it was a special place. The smell of coal fires took me back to my childhood in London and the peacefulness was like stepping back in time. In the modern world it’s only an hour from two world class cities and there are not many places in Britain where you can say that. Some 200 people live here, including about 35 children, in what is a very diverse community. It looks more like a Highland Village than one from Southern Scotland and film makers often take advantage of that, add to that it’s amazing history known as Scotland’s Treasure House (lead, silver and gold) and former resident William Symington 18th century inventor of the steamboat, it’s status as Scotland’s highest village and it’s future following (we hope) a successful buy out, how could I live anywhere else!
What has been your most unusual challenge?
Finding myself in negotiation with Scotland’s largest landowner to buy some 5000 acres of land including and surrounding an historic village covers the description ‘unusual challenge’ pretty well I think.
What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month?
Talking January here and it has to be when local villager came with his JCB to dig my car out from the snow after I realised that I was looking at some 9 hours of digging with my snow shovel if he hadn’t.
What’s your favourite film?
So difficult to pick just one and the answer depends on my mood at the time but I will go with an old film that in this strange world that we live in, although made in 1964, has once again become relevant. Dr.Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.
At the time I though the depiction of the American President was far fetched. At the time!