Tuesday, 25 August 2009

I visited the Alness allotments at Milnafua on their open day in mid-August. The success in the past year attracted a visit from rural Minister Richard Lochhead in June as well. the fruits of their labour are a most attractive advert for the town and its enthusiasts. Would that each community had the same opportunity to grow their own.

I also travelled to Orkney on 20th August for a visit to the new offices of the Centre for Nordic Studies in Kirkwall. There I conducted a surgery and attended a joint meeting between Russian business people and Orkney Islands council.

S3M-4721 Rob Gibson: Nordic Studies Centre Expands—That the Parliament commends the UHI Millennium Institute’s Centre for Nordic Studies in Kirkwall for its expansion to new premises on Kiln Corner and in Scalloway in the North Atlantic Fisheries College; notes its vital role in promoting and preserving all the indigenous cultures of the Highlands and Islands by including Norse, Scots and Gaelic elements in its courses which include the literature of Orkney and more widely the literature of the Highlands and Islands, and welcomes the distance learning ethos of the UHI Millennium Institute that contributes to the international reach of this dynamic centre of learning

On Saturday 22nd I attended as a representative of the SNP Government the unveiling of the memorial to the Russian Arctic convoys of WW2 on Hoy at the old naval base of Lyness. The friendships struck by representatives from Ugra, the Russian Consul to Scotland and representatives of VTB investment bank as sponsors of Russian Hour TV will be the basis of economic partnerships between Scotland and Russia to come.
It was a great dsiplay of remembrance for the most hazardous convoys in WW2. And reaffirmed the friendship and possible trade between Russia and Orkney.

Photo: At the point of unveiling - shows Vasily Sondykov, Chairman of the Duma in Ugra Province unveiling Russian side of the 'ship's prow'. Cll James Stockan, Vice Convener of Orkney Islands Council on right unveiling UK side. Rob wearing green bonnet and kilt with the other Russian and Belgian dignitories behind.

Photograph taken by A. Korobko, Russian Hour TV, London

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