Guest blog: working in unchartered territory

Robin MacLean is a Stakeholder Engagement Manager within the Aquaculture Policy Unit at the Scottish Government. Native to the West Coast of Scotland and with a background in commercial fishing, Robin joined the Scottish Government in 2009 and has a BSc (Hons) in Biology Conservation & Ecology. He oversees aquaculture stakeholder engagement both domestically and internationally.

First and foremost, hopefully readers are safe and well! We’re all certainly living in unprecedented times. While many of us find our jobs are on hold, others lucky enough to be able to work from home are doing so.  

I fall into the latter category and the pace of work has risen exponentially with helping aquaculture business through the crisis, to ensure there’s a viable economy on the other side. My Oban pal reminds me that although I’m being kept busy, at least my work gives me focus. I sympathise with anyone who cannot focus their energy on regular activity like work, exercise, shopping and more. While many would call such mundane activity as chores or a means to an end, others use these activities to support their family, perhaps unwind or to boost mental wellbeing.

Probably like you, I’ve been spending much time speaking to family and friends, those most important to me. One family discussion on social media began with a group invitation to my niece’s 1st birthday on Seil, but soon turned into an ongoing conversation about the crisis. It has brought us closer together as a family and allows me that vital connection to home. I’m able to hear about my old granny and how my mother is having to care for her while adhering to the guidelines.

They keep me informed on the goings on out-west, and I them from here in the central belt and my goodness how the places differ. In the central belt we have increased access to those businesses still trading but at home there’s wildlife and scenery you can stare at for hours.  On the west coast there were stories of people on holiday and not adhering to the guidelines. I could understand why they would want to be in those stunning locations but I was also concerned for folk in these places at higher risk and the potential strain on local services.

I’ve been living in a wee town next to the Forth for a few years now and neighbours are coming together while maintaining their distance. This juxtaposition started with flyers containing contact details and offers of help which evolved into text messages and phone calls, learning things about one and other after years without much meaningful interaction. It’s hard to see others suffering or in need for whatever reason but in these times we pull together.

I haven’t yet managed north to celebrate my wee niece’s birthday because of travel restrictions but I am just happy that she’s safe and part of a good west coast community taking care of its locals.

Take care and stay safe.

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Robin's home town of Seil