Official Opening of the Heritage Centre

The opening of the Heritage Centre took place on Good Friday, 18th April, 2003 in idyllic conditions with blue skies and record-breaking temperatures.

Alistair McCowan MBE, welcoming everyone

Alistair McCowan MBE, welcoming everyone

John Kerr

John Kerr

Richard Wills

Richard Wills performing the opening ceremony

Ian Mackenzie, Alistair McCowan, Richard Wills and John Kerr

Ian Mackenzie, Alistair McCowan, Richard Wills and John Kerr

It was pleasing for the organisers to see friends from a wide area but unfortunate that a number, including our exhibition designer Steve Tomlinson, life-member Ann Bishop and Gaelic adviser Roddy MacLean, were caught up in other commitments over the Easter weekend. They, and many others, including our friends at the Waipu Heritage Centre in New Zealand, had sent their good wishes.

Well over a hundred people attended, packing the Centre building and overflowing into the tented area, to hear the opening speeches. Society chairman, Alistair McCowan MBE, welcomed everyone and paid comprehensive tribute to all who had contributed to the completion of the project.

He then introduced John Kerr FSA who, with his wife Patricia, has supported the development from the start, providing encouragement and material, notably old maps of the area.

John, speaking of his long association with the peninsula, reminded us of the tradition of the ladder corrie access to A' Chomraich, used before the Bealach Road was built, and shed further light on the origins of the Applecross name. He commended the enterprise and gave further encouragement.

Richard Wills, Chairman of the Trustees of Applecross Trust and the fourth generation of his family in Applecross, opened his remarks by referring to Alistair's own contribution to the work of the Heritage Centre, without which it would not have been created. He went on to demonstrate his own research into deer hunting tales of the past and to express the hope that the new community development might flourish.

As Richard drew the curtain to display the bilingual panel and declare the Centre open, John MacDonald from Alligin, who had earlier piped to welcome the guests, struck up 'Cabarfeidh' to enthusiastic acclaim.

A fine buffet with tea and coffee followed. Guests did justice to the excellent spread and took time to examine the exhibition at their leisure.

They were kind enough to make many complimentary comments and their reaction bodes well for the future. The goodwill demonstrated by so many friends of the Society has been encouraging.

It is now up to the community to support this small beginning to the marking of the unique history of the peninsula. It would be fine to build on the hard work of the last three years. The signs are good. There is a pleasing spirit about and it is reassuring to see more volunteers becoming involved.

The late Kenneth MacRae FSA wrote of the last resting place of an Applecross hero of Harlaw: ´What the illiterate natives commemorated for over four hundred years, one educated generation despised and forgot´.  It was good to see his daughters at the ceremony on Easter Friday and surely a token that this generation will neither despise nor forget. Come and judge for yourselves. The Heritage Centre is open from noon to 4pm on Mondays to Saturdays from Easter until the end of October.