Introduction to MCDC Directors

In our February newsletter we published introductions to each of our new MCDC directors. In this edition we are delighted to be able to re-introduce three existing directors who have kindly provided an introduction to themselves in their own words. If you would like to contact any of the MCDC directors, please email and your message will be passed on. 


 Henriette Laidlaw

I am currently the chair of Morvern Community Council, the Chair of CLAM and represent the community council as a director on MCDC. I am one of the 1% of Danes living on Morvern, yes there are now 3 of us in Morvern. The Vikings are back, I do believe we are a lot more friendly this time around. I first visited Scotland when I was 14, adored the country and came back to study for my degree in Edinburgh. Met Keith at Uni, since then I have lived and worked in England, Germany, Denmark, Singapore and of course Scotland. Today I view myself as a Danish Scot!

I have a background in IT, but my career has taken me through several industries from IT, pharmaceuticals, education to knowledge management and academic research. I worked most recently for the University of Stirling with a focus on research into Dementia Care this was followed by a stint for the University of Highlands and Islands as their digital mentor. 

We have lived on Morvern for 7 years, it was love at first sight, and as a family we felt incredibly welcomed by the community. 

I believe in doing your bit, and I have been on several boards. I was president of Stirling Swimming for 5 years while the club expanded to become the feed-in to the Scottish national performance squad. In Morvern it all kicked off with the Corran ferry, where the council needed a representative from Morvern on the steering committee for the replacement ferries (this was before the Corran broke down…… I signed up for a lot more than I bargained for!), this led me to join the council formally and I was then asked by the council to go onto the board of MCDC. 

It is amazing what a community of this size is capable of, Morvern definitely pulls way about its weight. During my tenure I have gained some insight into the work involved, we are a strong community, and it shows in what has been build up, I hope to see this growing in a sustainable way for the benefit of all.

I see myself as a facilitator, someone who can bring people and skills together. I am keen to ensure we work for the future of Morvern and that we address the challenges we face to ensure Morvern is the right place for young families with affordable housing, job opportunities and appropriate support for families. Currently the main project I am working on is to develop the local place plan for Morvern, this is an opportunity for the community to put our own stamp on planning for the next ten years. Within MCDC my focus is on two areas. The first is to improve communication locally between MCDC and the community. The other is to develop risk management for the group of companies we run, as we grow in size we need to understand any risks we face and do our best to mitigate those. 

I am always open to ideas and in my eyes we are never too old to learn, so feel free to share your ideas and local knowledge with me.


Sue Layton

Born in West Sussex, emigrated to NZ as a toddler, grew up in the native and pine forests of NZ so retiring to Morvern is a home from home!

I spent many years in the volunteer sector fundraising for charitable causes both paid and unpaid. My passion has always been the sea and it was a huge privilege to spent seven years on the Greater Manchester Challenge, the Ocean Youth Trust NW gaff rigged ketch, as sea staff and then acting first mate. I was also a Trustee for three years. 

Stu and I set up and ran our own skippered yacht charter holiday company in 2006 doing fifteen years, eight of which we also did RYA training. Attaining my commercial skipper’s ticket was more than a dream come true. 

Lochaline became a favourite port of call and in inclement weather we did a lot of sail training in the Loch’s relatively sheltered waters. We were the first to come alongside the new pontoons and the last eight years of chartering we were liveaboards so spent more and more time here in LA. I’ve taken on the mantle of treasurer of the Lochaline Mooring Association (LAMA) and have helped, together with the committee, transform the Association into a shining example of how Mooring Associations should be run according to our Crown Estate representative. 

Putting myself forward for election as an MCDC director in 2022, I was very honoured that a newcomer was voted onto the Board. My main focus at the moment, along with Sam, is providing MCDC with more robust Articles of Association which reflects the Community’s needs and aspirations. The objectives of Live Life Morvern are paramount, as is transparency. When we came to Morvern we were staggered by the diversity of interests, clubs and groups and the shared hard work of those who make Morvern such a vibrant and diverse place to live. It was only natural for me to want to give back and keep than momentum going. We feel very blessed to have found Morvern and made it our home. 

Footnote from Stu - Sue and I met sailing as volunteers for OYT NW. Since we became a couple in 2004 and married in 2009, I can testify to Sue’s tenacity and commitment to any project she takes on. “If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” She has a true passion for doing the best she possibly can whether that be for family, clubs and associations we belong to and indeed the wider community as a whole. Two words that sum her up: Sue cares. 


Jane Stuart-Smith

I am a solicitor and specialise in employment law. I trained and worked in London for nine years before moving in 1999 with my family to a newly restored house at the head of Loch Aline. I have run my legal practice from home for the last 25 years, commuting to London on the sleeper for court appearances etc. 

I co-founded the award-winning Whitehouse Restaurant in Lochaline with Sarah Jones and we ran it together for just under 20 years. 

In 2021 I co-founded SLOW Adventure, a sustainable travel company to help remote communities to build and manage tourism sustainably. 

I have been involved on and off in different ways with the community over the years. I chaired Lochaline Primary School Parent Council, starting in 2000 and helped get Highland Council to agree to a new primary school for Lochaline which was completed in 2013. I set up a charity—Morvern Outreach in 2000, a vehicle for obtaining grant funding for educational activities in the community. Ballet, Scottish dancing and Spanish lessons were some of the classes held in the Village Hall. 

I joined the board of MCDC in 2007 because I hoped to help make Morvern an even more amazing place to work and live and bring investment to the community. I have been a director since then on and off and also a director of the trading company, MCTC. When I joined the only assets of the company were the petrol pumps and the Hazelwoods. 

I am very proud of what the company and the community has achieved since then: building the marina and shore facilities, 3 houses at Miners Court and the critically important Barr Hydro Scheme and the Hub. MCDC has also supported many community groups over the years including the allotments. This has all been achieved with only one full time employee and volunteer directors. The inward investment into Morvern via MCDC and MCTC in the last 25 years is estimated by HIE to be in excess of £6 million. There is still much to do. In January 2024 I stood down from being Chair of MCDC and MCTC and remain on the board. It is great to have new (and younger!) directors on the boards to help us identify priorities and lead the companies in the next phase of the company’s development. 

I love being outside walking and travelling and I am a fair weather sailor of sorts. 





Submitted by mcdc-editor on Thu, 05/16/2024 - 15:53