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Rainbows, snow, fingerless gloves and leafleting in Fort William

Trish Benz recounts her experiences of helping out her Yes Lochaber colleagues in Fort William

Loch Linnhe
Loch Linnhe

Leafleting has always been part of my life. Many years ago in a large industrial northern English town my after-school education was to help my father leaflet the local council estates at election time. But this usually happened around May or in the early autumn. I had never before leafleted in the Highlands and in winter weather conditions.

Kentallen and Duror called for my skills of opening farm gates, avoiding sheep and cows and dogs, plus an ability to even find the entrance to the isolated farms and houses I had not realised existed. Now something new awaited me when I joined the Yes Lochaber Team on a lovely sunny morning in Fort William. Dressed in layers (waterproof, windproof plus thermals) I was ready with my thick gloves and woolly hat.

At a pre-leafleting meeting the discussion focused not on the relevant answers to doorstep questions but what type of gloves were suitable in winter to deal with the different type of letter boxes. The high ones, the low down ones, ones so loose that your hand went in with the leaflet or so tight that you could not open it and when you did your hand got stuck as you tried to pull it out after releasing the leaflet. Dear me! After the first letter box and leaflet I realised the gloves were no use at all. As I stuffed them into my rucksack and muttered something about "my tiny hands are frozen" my colleague and friend showed me her fingerless gloves. The very answer to the problem of keeping hands warm but also maintaining the ability to push the leaflets through the letter boxes. Thank you, problem solved.

So, off we went again. I had never realised that Fort William housing was a maze of tiny Ben Nevises!!! Up and down, up and down. By the end of the day I felt as if I had climbed The Ben. Even the flats did not have lifts; maybe I had been spoilt by the 12 storey blocks of flats with working lifts.  However, we were rewarded with fantastic views across to Ardgour and the hills beyond Corpach. Even some rainbows appeared and we found time to stop and enjoy the sunshine on Loch Linnhe, but not for long, the snow had arrived! A quick grab into our rucksacks, on went our waterproofs and we were off again to finish the last few houses.

Where was that rainbow and the sun?  Yes, Yes, they will be there on 19 September 2014.


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