01 March 2009
Artical on French Visit - Oban Times
Slate Town Delegation Returns - French Visit Set to Boost Lochaber
Town mayors and officials from one of France's principal slate-producing areas could be heading for Lochaber to return a visit to their region by local civic representatives (from The Ballachulish Communities Council) two years ago.
The delegation, from Allesac and Donzenac in t Limousin region, is expected to number around 10. Lochaber representatives have yet to receive final confirmation from the French party on the provisional visit dates of May 14-17, but a 'oui, mes amis' would see no effort spared in south Lochaber to make their guests welcome.
Ballachulish Community Council chairman Mel MacAskill told 'The Oban Times' when the Lochaber delegation went to France in 2007 everything, including food, accommodation and refreshments was laid on - and it was the least Lochaber could do to repay the compliment. He said: 'We were over there two years ago looking at what they were doing with their slate quarries. 'We'll be taking them round Ballachulish to let them see our slate quarries, the slate trails, the village itself and the things we have started to do here. We'll take them to as many attractions as possible in the area that we can fit in for the time they are here, and at the end we will have a Scottish Ceilidh night and a dinner.
'It's hoped they will stay in B&Bs in and around Ballachulish. That would give the area a little bit of publicity and allow them to spread the word a wee bit about what's happening in this part of Scotland. 'If this downturn is going to last we have to do everything in our power to get people to come here. These people are involved in the French Tourism Industry. There will be mayors from every village there and they will ahve the ability to go back and sing the praises of Lochaber.'
Funding for the exchange trip would be sought from the Highland Culture Programme and Leader , Said Mr MacAskill.
Arctical Printed in the Oban Times on Thursday 19th February 2009