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Launch of Guidebook

Launch of Guidebook by Tom Clark, vice chair of Point Community Council

Ladies and Gentlemen

When Point Community Council learnt that Urras Eaglais na h-Aoidhe were considering publishing a guidebook on the restored Ui Church to coincide with today's reopening, we immediately entered into negotiations with Colin, Liz and Ken Roddy Mackay, Community Co-ordinator, to widen its scope to include the many other attractions of the peninsula, and today I am proud to launch what I believe to be the first-ever Guide to this much-neglected part of the island. As most of you will know, some three years ago the Community Council set up a Trust, Urras Storas an Rubha, with the intention of acquiring the redundant school buildings at Knock and Aird for community use. Our aims were to provide a range of much-needed community facilities, and to encourage visitors to this part of the island by offering them somewhere to have a cup of tea, park their caravans or motor-homes, and learn about the many attractions the peninsula has to offer. Some of these aims have already been met with the opening of a highly successful shop and cafeteria and the local heritage museum on the Knock site. If you haven't already tried the excellent coffee, home baking, all-day breakfasts, Maggie's home-made soup or gooseburgers in CafeRoo, then it's time you paid a visit.

Point guide bookWith the recent opening of a four-star Bed and Breakfast in Sheshader and ambitious plans to include permanent homes for Point Historical Society, Point and Sandwick Power, the Rudhach and Urras Eaglais na h-Aoidhe at Knock, and Point Agricultural Society, Tiumpanhead Community Association, an Art Gallery, a caravan park and various commercial enterprises at Aird, this is indeed an exciting time for the peninsula.

The production of this booklet has been a labour of love for Liz Chaplin and me and we are indebted to the many local experts who have contributed to what is a comprehensive and authoritative guide to the geography, history, archaeology, natural environment, industrial, agricultural and fishery development, culture and heritage of the area. All the sections are superbly well written and beautifully illustrated and I would like to thank Colin Scott Mackenzie, Carol Knott, Alasdair Macleod, Mark Macdonald, Angus Macdonald, Alex John Murray, Ali Whiteford, Graham Morrison and Maggie Smith for their contributions, all those who provided photographs, Helen Macdonald for her magnificent map, illustrations and deadly proofreading, Shoreprint for the design and printing, and my fellow members of Point Community Council, along with the Outer Hebrides Small Business Scheme, for financial assistance.

But most of all I must ask you to join me in thanking Liz Chaplin, on whom much of the detailed and time-consuming work of contacting contributors, typing out material, collecting photographs and dealing with the printers has fallen. Without Liz the whole project would never have come to fruition.
So now I have great pleasure in declaring the new Point Guidebook available for purchase, attractively priced at £7.50, with all proceeds going to the preservation of Ui Church.

Every home should have one, and it will solve many of your Christmas gift problems.

Thank you.

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