tesco and cctv coming to skye

Sat, Jul 12, 2008

What a weird topic for an outdoors blog! I just had to comment on the situation though. The latter is a result of a mini war going on in Elgol between the Bella Jane and Misty Isle Boat Trips. The original fisticuffs started over Misty Isle accusing Bella Jane of being economical with the truth over wildlife sightings. Bella Jane replied with a broadside accusing Misty Isle of being economical with the truth about being the only locally owned boat trip business in the village, conveniently forgetting Bella Jane are York and Inverness based and receiving a slap on the hand for their efforts. Now it seems the spat has spilled over onto dry land with the incumbents arguing over berthing rights, resulting in the cooncil installing CCTV! Visiting touroids now ask the locals whether it’s safe to park their cars in the village! I ask you. Elgol, crime? It might have made a curious webcam but it’s not being monitored, so I don’t know how it’s being used. Would be funny to sit with a cuppa and watch the Captain Pugwash shenanigans as the rival boats come in at the same time.

Misty Isle Boat Trips Elgol

The other story of the moment is the announcement that the Co-op’s monopoly will be broken in Portree by Lidl (confirmed) and Tesco (TBC), as reported by the WHFP. The Co-op, to give it its due, has been the only “supermarket” to commit to the island but they are expensive and have limited choice and if we want a decent shop we have a 200 mile round trip to Inverness to make, albeit having lunch in Leakeys and spending inordinate amounts of time in Borders, as well as visiting Highland Wholefoods, to stock up with Rock’s Organic Ginger (as recommended by Chris Townsend - thanks for that Chris - great in a snowhole!).

But it’s time for cheaper and choicer food but it’s also not without comment in the letters page of the WHFP. Already a German correspondant has written in to urge us denizens of the Isle of Skye to boycott Lidl as they apparently rip off small scale producers. I don’t recall the erstwhile scribe writing in similar vein to the Co-op, advising them on their policy of ripping off the small scale consumer. Tesco is still in debate at the moment but it seems like it should get the go-ahead. Both Lidl and Tesco are departures from the local plan with Lidl getting the go-ahead first as it has the least impact. Tesco is more of a departure and has caused ructions in cooncil land but it seems the island does indeed want a Tesco.

The usual arguments are being bandied around, that Portree town centre will empty as droves of crofters will head out to Tesco and Lidl to spend their subsidies in the tills of evil. Well, that may be true in a run down suburb of Glasgow like Craiglang, with Navid’s the only place in town but Portree has more to offer than either Tesco or Lidl can stock. There are two things I never buy from a supermarket, ever. Books and a sit down meal. OK, in Inverness I’ll grab a sandwich and eat it in the car, as a break on the way to the ‘Gorms but for a cuppa and soup or something, supermaket? nope! So when in Portree I always end up in Carmina Gadelica, Aros, Cafe Arriba or the excellent Cafe in Somerled Square (only joking - the square isn’t that grim now!).

So roll on Tesco I say and thanks for the service Co-op. It’s been, well, expensive. I just hope the shelves will be bigger than the ones in the Broadford Co-op, which are stripped bare by touroids each day of the holidays but at least I should be able to get sardines in extra virgin olive oil now!

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