You can buy the book “Creating the North Highland Way” on Lulu.

As this will be the last newsletter of 2018… I have put the link in to all of them…


There are also videos about me on tourism development




Why Michael Craig won’t wear a poppy

poppy11th November 2011
The eleventh day of November is a day of remembrance for me, a date of coincidence as well as personal memories, a lot more than could be fitted into that ‘minute of silence’.
Even though some of those who are the subjects of my thoughts are not directly connected to the day of remembrance as it was originally intended, I have not lost sight of that intention.
A poem penned in anguish by a Canadian surgeon on the battlefield at Flanders in WW1, after the death of a comrade, began the association of the crimson poppy with the war dead and a desire for peace.
The poppy was first used as a memorial symbol in America and then France, when paper poppies were made and sold to raise funds to help children orphaned by the war.
The British connection only began in 1921 when the newly founded British Legion started the ‘Poppy Day Appeal’ to collect for poor and disabled veterans.
That the organisation’s main founder had been the Commander-in-Chief of the British armed forces in Europe, the man ultimately responsible for sending hundreds of thousands ‘over the top’ to certain, inescapable death is ironic, to say the least.
WW1 was a battle for territory lost in previous wars between many colonial powers who shared all manner of treaties and alliances, some of the participating countries using war as a convenient way to counter social upheavals in their own jurisdictions. The millions of ordinary working class people of all nationalities who died had nothing whatever to gain by fighting in this war, so while I believe it is right to remember them, the language of the organised memorial denies this truth and glorifies war.
A poet whose words described the horror of WW1 more vividly than any picture, was to be one of its last victims. The young Wilfred Owen wrote;
Dulce et Decorum Est
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, –
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
My paternal Grandfather was taken in by that lie, so keen was he to fight for his country that he couldn’t wait until adulthood. Adding a year to his age on the application, the young Willie Craig went to France in 1915 where he soon learned that war was more about brutality than glory. Like most of those involved in the battles of WW1 Willie didn’t talk much about his experiences but here’s one of the few that he did pass on:
One warm summer night Willie was on watch in the trench illuminated by the full Moon. As he crouched, his back against the wall with his rifle resting upright by his side, bayonet pointing towards the cloudless sky he heard a scraping sound coming from ‘no man’s land’, above and behind him. Without getting up or moving the rifle, he reached over and placed his finger on the trigger. Just then a shadow appeared on the opposite wall of the trench, someone was coming over the top above him. When the shadow grew bigger Willie called out, ‘who goes there?’, but when he got no reply he pulled the trigger, the rifle shot rang out followed by the thud of a body hitting the floor of the trench. When the dust cleared, Willie was amazed to find that he had not shot and killed an enemy soldier but a giant rat, which had been feeding on the rotting corpses in ‘ no Man’s land’.
A few weeks after this incident Willie was caught in a gas attack, he was captured and spent the rest of the war in Germany as slave labour in a coal mine. Returning to Belfast at the end of the war, my grandfather with damaged lungs from the gassing and the mine, joined the ranks of the unemployed digging the streets for relief payments, suffering state brutality in the strike of 1932. By WW2 he had gained employment as a sorter in the Royal mail, where he remained until his retirement in the 1960’s.
If the wearing the poppy was about remembrance of people like my Grandfather, I would be happy to wear one, but unfortunately the war to end all wars did not, and the settlement agreed in its aftermath led to WW2.
It could be argued that WW2 was necessary because it was the only way to stop World domination by fascism, but there were many opportunities to prevent the fascists from taking power in the first place, but no will to do so.
Since WW2 British forces have been involved in 60 wars, most of these were imperialist, none can be justified. David Cameron gave the game away in a debate with the football association this week when he said, “wearing the poppy is an act of national pride”.
Jingoist Cameron and Irish nationalists share the mistaken view that the poppy is an exclusively British symbol of remembrance.
As an Irish Socialist I am not anti-British but I certainly am anti-imperialist and anti-war.
Coincidently, my father, a life-long pacifist died on 11th hour of 11th November in 1984!

Letter to the Mail

nhwWe wrote a book “Creating the North Highland Way

Available from Lulu on the Dunnet Head web site.


The  author climbed Kilimanjaro

and was on the Army walking team, so she knows what she is talking about when it comes to walking.



“Dear Annie,


I am a Belfast based journalist working on environmental problems in the north of Scotland, having lived at Dunnet Head, the most northerly point of the UK mainland for many years.  The proposed rocket is not the only  project which could end in environmental disaster for Scotland. They have both been put forward by Highlands and Islands Enterprise.


I wonder if you would be interested in printing this letter as a starting point, and commissioning me to write further articles about the situation in Scotland, political and environmental.


Dear Sirs,


I refer to your article in the Mail on Saturday 3rd November regarding the proposed rocket for Sutherland.  This is just another ludicrous scheme put forward by Highlands and Islands Enterprise whose employees are singularly unqualified to make such decisions. I wonder, have they asked themselves about the supply chain to such a major project and how they will get mountains of equipment to such a remote spot?  There are many single track roads in the area, many of which have been ruined by the extra traffic due to the NC500, increasing the Highland Council’s road maintenance budget which is already overstretched.   Are they following EU Directives on Sustainable Tourism and Climate Change? One doubts if they even know what they are.  Have they indeed done a feasibility study?  They didn’t apply the said Directives when they developed the NC500.  Where exactly are all those caravans and motor homes dumping their waste?


I urge the Mail to act quickly to campaign to get this project stopped, as well as the pending environmental disaster which is unfolding in the precious Peatlands, supported by no less than the RSPB.


I hope you can help.


Yours faithfully,”


Link to rocket story





Environmental disasters waiting to happen

The North Highland Way will be the only route in Scotland which not only adheres to the principles of the EU Directive on Sustainable Tourism but also the only multi use route in Scotland.  There was to be a spur out to the Peatlands for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.  The promotors have currently removed this spur from the route.  As an environmentalist, they do not agree with more traffic on the roads.

Backed by Ordnance Survey and ViewRanger.  We are concerned about the Environment, not like the folk from the NC500.

The Scottish Government don’t know what they are doing.  The environmental protection agency is in the wrong place…but we are trying to fix that.

At this rate, the Peatlands will end up like this

the original photo of the LandRover going across precious land has been removed.

The roads round the NC500 are already like this

The funders of the original route was the Highlands and Islands Enterprise Council  These are the actual Executives – Charlotte Wright and Gillian Suttie

Highlands and Islands will promote this… but Roy Kirk could not even set up a meeting about the North Highland Way. In fact, he should be sacked as should Charlotte Wright.  The Environmental Research Institute in Thurso are having no say.

Click here to sign the petition to remove them…  They do not pay their bills either.  They are the showstoppers on the North Highland Way project.

The RSPB station at Forsinard are also behind it.  You would really think they would know better.

You can see an article about the Peatlands on Eye on Spain.  It is a precious resource and should be protected.

dounreayThey will back this, but they will not back the North Highland Way. The same with Dounreay… they will not back the North Highland Way.

Now the motorhomes in Kent are causing havoc.  This is what will happen in Scotland as they will have nowhere else to go.



Tourism Development

This is the promotor of the North Highland Way speaking about links with Orkney, and creating the LetsGoNorth meets LetsGoSouth project.


This is the promotor when she ran for local councillor when she lived in Scotland.