- Poolewe Market
- Advertising Service
- Poolewe and Aultbea Toilets
- Gairloch and District Show
- Gairloch Tourist Information Service
- Digital Photography Project
- Tearcraft and Fairtrade
GALE established Poolewe Market in June 2000 with the aim of providing an outlet to sell and an opportunity to buy locally made products. Since then there has been a growing interest in local and regional products. Combined with environmental concerns and increasing awareness of food miles, these issues have contributed towards the growth of Poolewe Market. Not only has it seen an increase in the number and variety of stalls but growing demand has enabled the Market to remain viable for most of the year even operating throughout some of the quieter winter months.
As well as craft and produce stalls GALE operates a small café at the Market selling local home baking and refreshments. This has helped to make the Market an important social centre attracting locals and visitors from neighbouring villages as well as Poolewe. There is now also a regular bus service that stops outside Poolewe Market from June to September and the Westerbus Dial-a-Bus Service also operates on Market days making the Market easily accessible to all.
During 2009 Markets will take place every Tuesday from 24 March until 27 October in Poolewe Village Hall from 10am until 2.30pm. Additional markets will also be held throughout November and December subject to demand.
We continue to offer a range of advertising services to promote local businesses and the area in general. Our website (www.highlandwelcome.co.uk) continues to attract interest from tourists wishing to visit the area and we saw an increase in holiday accommodation booked directly via GALE in 2007 and 2008.
During 2009 we hope to increase circulation of our printed tourist guide and explore better advertising opportunities for local businesses within the Gairloch Tourist Office. We have also restyled our website this year to make it more user friendly and contain more information.
Poolewe and Aultbea Toilets
GALE continues to manage the toilet facilities in Poolewe and Aultbea thanks to the sterling efforts of our cleaner, Anne Fox. Each year GALE is paid a management fee by the Highland Council to keep the toilet facilities open for 6 months of the year. Rather than see the facilities close during the winter months we spread the fee we receive over a longer period which means they are open for 11 months each year.
Gairloch and District Show
This annual event is organised by GALE and a team of energetic volunteers with the aim of encouraging local craft, culinary, horticultural and artistic endeavours. Recognition at the Show is a popular way of showcasing these skills and encouraging more people to join local groups and produce their own food and crafts.
Each year over 400 entries are received with around 500 people coming to the show to view the exhibits. It has now become a great social gathering for the local community as well as a tourist attraction. At the end of the show each year all the exhibits are put on sale which gives local people a great opportunity to buy fresh local produce and baking of exceptional quality.
Each year revisions are made to the classes of exhibits to encompass new ideas and suggestions. The 2009 Gairloch and District Show was held on Saturday 29 August in Gairloch Community Centre and was open to the public between 2 pm. and 4 pm. Although overall entries were a little down on last year, the standard was excellent and our judges, who had agreed to attend from as far afield as Plockton and Inverness, expressed their pleasure at judging such interesting and high quality exhibits.
In 2010 we will continue to try to improve the Show and to encourage children in particular to enter the relevant sections. This year the Show will be on Saturday 31 August at 2 p.m. in Gairloch Community Centre. Schedules for entry and further information can be obtained at Gairloch Tourist Information Centre.
Gairloch Tourist Information Service
The TIC continues to be managed by GALE in partnership with Visit Scotland, providing a regular service throughout the year. GALE’s aim is to enable tourists to access local attractions and accommodation and generally to get the best out of their visit to Wester Ross. This is a benefit for them and the local economy, which relies heavily on Tourism. In 2008 the TIC was visited by over 13,000 tourists, who were looking for information and, or, a little something to take home with them. GALE continues to contribute to the local economy by selling local products and has between 15 and 20 local suppliers.
The local community continues to support the TIC by purchasing cards, gifts, books, CDs and much more.
Digital Photography Project
In the latter part of 2007 GALE became involved in a Social Services project which aims to encourage members of the community with mental health problems to learn about digital photography as a means of increasing their confidence and to give them a stimulating experience. Funding has been secured for an initial period of one year, but several avenues are being explored to obtain further funding to extend the project and hopefully mount an exhibition of the participants’ work at the end of the project. GALE have been assisting with administration of this project and will oversee the recruitment and employment of a suitable candidate to provide the photography instruction on a part-time basis, covering the entire Wester Ross area.
Fairtrade and Tearcraft
GALE’s overall aim and remit is social, economic and environmental regeneration of the Gairloch and Loch Ewe area. However we believe these social, economic and environmental concerns shouldn’t stop at the boundaries of our operating area but should be evident in every aspect of our work. For this reason we support organisations like Tearcraft and Fairtrade who work towards social, economic and environmental regeneration of fragile communities throughout the world. When we are unable to find suitable local products we therefore stock Tearcraft products in our TIC shop and serve Fairtrade products from our café at Poolewe Market.
In December 2008 the TIC joined forces with a Fairtrade organisation to hold a Fairtrade Christmas Sale, which was well supported by local people and proved most successful. Future events will no doubt take place.